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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Safety

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Chantix (Varenicline) November 2007

Audience: Healthcare professionals, consumers

[UPDATE 05/16/2008] FDA informed healthcare professionals and patients that as the Agency’s review of Chantix safety data has progressed, it appears increasingly likely that there is an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms. Prescribing information for Chantix was revised to include this safety information in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS sections of the label, and a Medication Guide for patients is also available. If patients, their families, or caregivers notice agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behavior that are not typical for the patient or if the patient has suicidal thoughts or actions, the patient should stop taking Chantix and contact their healthcare professional.

[Posted 11/20/2007] FDA informed healthcare professionals of reports of suicidal thoughts and aggressive and erratic behavior in patient who have taken Chantix, a smoking cessation product. There are also reports of patients experiencing drowsiness that affected their ability to drive or operate machinery. FDA is currently reviewing these cases, along with other recent reports. A preliminary assessment reveals that many of the cases reflect new-onset of depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks of initiating Chantix treatment. The role of Chantix in these cases is not clear because smoking cessation, with or without treatment, is associated with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and has also been associated with the exacerbation of underlying psychiatric illness. However, not all patients described in the cases had preexisting psychiatric illness and not all had discontinued smoking.

Healthcare professionals should monitor patients taking Chantix for behavior and mood changes. Patients taking this product should report behavior or mood changes to their doctor and use caution when driving or operating machinery until they know how quitting smoking with Chantix may affect them.

[May 2008 - Label - Pfizer]
[May 16, 2008 - Drug Information Page - FDA]
[May 16, 2008 - Medication Guide - Pfizer]
[May 16, 2008 - Information for Healthcare Professionals sheet - FDA]
[November 20, 2007 - Ongoing Safety Review: Varenicline (marketed as Chantix) - FDA]