August 19, 2009 - The Ministry of Health has banned two popular smoking cessation drugs as their side-effects include suicidal tendencies. The drugs containing varenicline (trade name Champix from Pfizer, Champix) and buproprion (Yaba, Zyban)) were banned after the US Food and Drugs [SIC] Adminstration (FDA) issued a black box warning – the toughest warning on risks associated with a medicine — on serious mental health risks of the drugs.
Varenicline is suspected of inducing depression and suicidal thoughts. Other harmful side-effects of varenicline include serious accidents and falls, potentially lethal cardiac rhythm disturbances, severe skin reactions, acute myocardial infarction, seizures, diabetes, psychosis and aggression.
Buproprion too has been linked to similar adverse reactions.
Champix was developed specifically to act on reducing nicotine craving and the pleasure of smoking.
FDA analyses have revealed that some who have taken the smoking cessation drugs have reported experiencing unusual changes in behavior, become depressed, or had their depression worsen, and had thoughts of suicide or dying. In many cases, the problems began shortly after starting the medication and ended when the medication was stopped. However, some people continued to have symptoms after stopping the medication. Also, in a few cases, the problems began after the medication was stopped. – Okaz/ SG
Reference: Ban on drugs to help quit smoking by Abdullah Al-Meqatti, Saudi Gazette 8/19/2009.
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