Upgrading the Chantix Black Box Warning

Upgrading the Chantix Black Box Warning

In response to a request from drug giant Pfizer to remove the “black box” warning on the smoking-cessation drug Chantix (varenicline – an addictive benzodiazepine-based psychotropic anti-anxiety drug), the FDA has decided to not only retain the warning but expand it.

The current label for Chantix already warns that patients taking the drug may develop aggressive or suicidal behavior. That warning will be expanded to note that the drug has also been linked to reduced alcohol tolerance leading to seizures.

The new safety announcement (March 9, 2015) says, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the prescription smoking cessation medicine Chantix (varenicline) can change the way people react to alcohol. In addition, rare accounts of seizures in patients treated with Chantix have been reported. We have approved changes to the Chantix label to warn about these risks. Until patients know how Chantix affects their ability to tolerate alcohol, they should decrease the amount of alcohol they drink. Patients who have a seizure while taking Chantix should stop the medicine and seek medical attention immediately.”

We knew about the dangers of drinking and driving. Now we have one more side effect to worry about — drinking and Chantix. So it’s likely OK to drink and smoke, but not to drink and quit smoking. (That was a joke.)

But it’s no joke that Chantix is an addictive, psychotropic, psychiatric drug with potentially severe side effects. If you want to quit smoking, there are certainly better non-drug alternatives.

For more truthful information about this and other psychiatric drugs, click here.

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