FDA Warns Smokers that Pfizer’s Chantix May Lead to Seizures and Alcohol Intolerance

For those looking to quit smoking, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against drinking alcohol and taking Chantix simultaneously, as consumers may suffer adverse and uncharacteristic effects including blacking out, aggression, and becoming more inebriated than usual, reports the LA Times

“Until patients know how Chantix affects their ability to tolerate alcohol, they should decrease the amount of alcohol they drink,” the FDA said in a statement issued this week.

The FDA has also warned users that there is a risk of seizures linked to the use of Chantix. Although the risk is extremely small, the FDA said it was aware of 64 cases of seizures, including 37 in people who had never had seizures before. In 10 of those cases, the only contributing factor for seizures was Chantix, according to the FDA, with the first seizure beginning two to three weeks after patients began using Chantix.

The Black Box warning—the most serious safety alert that can appear on product labeling—still appears on Pfizer’s quit-smoking pill, despite the company’s efforts to have the label removed due to the falling sales of what was once a popular pill, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Pfizer is conducting an additional safety study on the pill as the FDA also updated the product labeling to note that the studies submitted by Pfizer concluding that there is a low risk of psychiatric side effects associated with using Chantix had limitations. The FDA may consider removing the black box warning upon seeing the results of the trial in late 2015.

It seems to be that Chantix is causing consumers to choose between drinking and quitting smoking. [LA Times] [Photo: Flickr.com/marittoledo]