Chantix Heart Problems Being Reviewed in Canada

Canadian officials have launched a review into the potential risk of heart problems from Chantix, Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiac events among individuals with cardiovascular disease. 

Health Canada announced on Monday that it is reviewing the possible heart-related side effects of Chantix, which is sold as Champix in Canada and Europe.

The Canadian health regulators said it will take any appropriate action necessary based on the results of the review, and will alert Canadians to any new Chantix safety information that arises from the investigation.

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On June 16, the FDA issued a similar Chantix drug safety communication, warning that the smoking cessation drug might increase the risk of certain heart problems, including the risk of heart attack, among individuals who have cardiovascular disease. The warning came following the analysis of a study of 700 smokers that found those taking Chantix suffered twice the rate of heart attacks as those who did not.

Chantix (varenicline) was approved in the United States by the FDA in 2006 as a prescription medication to help people quit smoking. The drug works by reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes, blocking the receptors in the brain commonly stimulated by nicotine. However, the impact of the drug on the brain has resulted in a number of reports from users who experienced sudden, unusually aggressive behavior, thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

Canadian officials say that Champix is considered an effective means of stopping smoking, and notes that smoking itself is a major contributor to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart problems.

In June 2009, the FDA added a “black box” warning about the potential risk of psychiatric problems with Chantix, indicating that some users have experienced changes in behavior, depression and suicidal thoughts. Pfizer has also been required to conduct clinical trials providing more data on how often neuropsychiatric symptoms and suicide with Chantix occur and what conditions cause them.

The Chantix heart attack concerns came shortly after France declared it would stop reimbursing citizens who used Chantix to quit smoking, saying that its psychological side effects outweighed its benefits.

Chantix already holds the dubious title of being the drug associated with the most FDA adverse event reports of any drug in the United States. More patients and doctors call or write the agency to complain about Chantix health problems than any other drug currently on the market by a wide margin.

A number of Chantix lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the United States on behalf of individuals who have died or suffered serious injuries as a result of a suicide or unusual behavior allegedly caused by Chantix. In recent weeks, some lawyers have begun reviewing the potential for Chantix heart lawsuits as well.

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1 Comments

  • MahimaAugust 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    You were supposed to take them for the whole 3 mhtons, not stop after you think you quit. My husband only took one month and thought he was ok but he started up again(yeah not so happy about that one since it's $100 bucks a month for that prescription).Call you doctor and ask, I'm not sure about it being safe but it's a little late to be wanting to stop smoking shouldn't you have thought about tha[Show More]You were supposed to take them for the whole 3 mhtons, not stop after you think you quit. My husband only took one month and thought he was ok but he started up again(yeah not so happy about that one since it's $100 bucks a month for that prescription).Call you doctor and ask, I'm not sure about it being safe but it's a little late to be wanting to stop smoking shouldn't you have thought about that 35 weeks ago?They'll only prescribe you something if the benefits outweighs the risks

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