Today Pfizer announced that the smoking cessation drug Chantix will now carry an additional warning advising doctors to monitor patients for changes in behavior, including but not limited to depressed mood, agitation, suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. While no causal relationship has been established between these changes and Chantix; however, Pfizer said a possible link couldn’t be ruled out.
Pfizer would not disclose how man reports of erratic behavior and suicidal thoughts that they have collected, but did say that a change in the “warnings” section of the prescribing information was warrented. The company has also changed their marketing plan for now. The company is currently only running ads that raise awareness about a prescription option to help people quit smoking but do not contain the any mention of Chantix by name.
The FDA launched an investigation into Chantix back in November of 2007 due to an overwhelming amount of adverse events being reported shortly after the shooting death of musician Carter Albrecht that many believe can be directly linked to his use of Chantix to help him kick the habit.
Chantix has been a great success as of thus far for Pfizer, generating over $600 million in sales in the third quarter of 2007; however, the future for Chantix could be much more troublesome depending on future studies and evaluations of the drug.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.