Suicide Warning Issued for 2 Anti-Smoking Drugs
WASHINGTON — Federal drug regulators warned Wednesday that patients taking two popular anti-smoking drugs should be watched closely for signs of serious mental illness, as reported suicides among the drugs’ users mount.
Very worrying indeed.
Between the two drugs, Chantix and Zyban, the FDA have received 112 confirmed reports of completed suicides (ie real, confirmed, deaths), and 205 reports of attempted suicides.
In the interests of risk-prevention, these drugs must be withdrawn immediately, surely?
But officials emphasized that patients should not be scared away from taking the smoking-cessation medicines, Chantix, made by Pfizer, and Zyban, made by GlaxoSmithKline.
Of course not. Health authorities in the US, and over here, are balls deep in financial agreements with these pharmaceutical companies. It is impossible for them to act in the public interest due to the sponsorship and contracts to which they are tied.
A perfect UK example is Warwickshire PCT, which I talked about here recently (note: Chantix is marketed in the UK as Champix).
Contact 1: Plan strategy for quitting, including assessment for drug therapy including carbon monoxide test, access to nicotine replacement therapy, Zyban® or Champix®
Contact 2: Possible quit date
Ensure access to NRT, Zyban® or Champix®. Carbon monoxide test
And Warks PCT aggressively promote these these drugs, why?
Joint working with Pfizer around targeting of clinics/drop-ins
Joint working with Pfizer to develop more effective recruitment campaigns in N&B, also targeting health professionals to refer more and more effectively.
Can you guess why Pfizer want more effective referrals, boys and girls?
Meanwhile, back in the US.
The F.D.A. required Pfizer and Glaxo to place so-called black box warnings — the agency’s most serious caution — on the prescribing information for both drugs. Both companies will be required to conduct clinical trials to assess the mental health risks associated with the drugs’ uses.
In the clinical trial ordered by the F.D.A., manufacturers must assess risks among those with identified psychiatric disorders, because mental health problems are associated with high rates of smoking.
So, let's get this straight. The FDA have identified smoking as being associated with mental health problems, yet are not withdrawing a product which has been proven to exacerbate, or even cause, mental health problems and suicide.
Stinks, don't it?