NewsCube Australia

NewsCube Australia

Categories: POLITICS | LEGAL | GENERAL | BUSINESS AND FINANCE | COMPUTERS AND INTERNET | SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY | HEALTH | SPORT | ENTERTAINMENT | ANIME XML

Now in category: Health

Pfizer anti-smoking drug under FDA safety review

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an early warning on Tuesday about Pfizer Inc's anti-smoking drug, Chantix, amid reports of suicidal thoughts and behavior, and at least one death potentially linked to the medication.

The FDA is analyzing reports of erratic and aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts and behavior in patients taking the prescription drug, known generically as varenicline.

An early agency assessment "reveals that many of the cases reflect new-onset of depressed mood, suicidal ideation (thoughts) and changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks" of starting treatment, the FDA said in a posting about the new review.

Under increased scrutiny from lawmakers and consumer groups for failing to communicate safety problems with drugs in a timely manner, the FDA has started alerting the public earlier about a review, even if it has not come to a conclusion.

Many drugmakers claim the agency is taking a tougher stance on safety following the 2004 withdrawal of Merck & Co Inc's arthritis drug, Vioxx, and amid recent safety concerns about GlaxoSmithKline Plc's diabetes drug, Avandia.

"My first thought is this is another example of the FDA being overly safety conscious in light of the withdrawal of certain products, such as Vioxx and Avandia," said Damien Conover, an analyst at investment research group Morningstar.

But he said it could still be a problem for Chantix.

"When the (attention deficit disorder) drugs got associated with increased risk of suicidal thinking, you definitely saw a class effect of slower growth," he added.

The FDA is analyzing reports of erratic and aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts and behavior in patients taking the prescription drug, known generically as varenicline.

An early agency assessment "reveals that many of the cases reflect new-onset of depressed mood, suicidal ideation (thoughts) and changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks" of starting treatment, the FDA said in a posting about the new review.

Under increased scrutiny from lawmakers and consumer groups for failing to communicate safety problems with drugs in a timely manner, the FDA has started alerting the public earlier about a review, even if it has not come to a conclusion.

Many drugmakers claim the agency is taking a tougher stance on safety following the 2004 withdrawal of Merck & Co Inc's arthritis drug, Vioxx, and amid recent safety concerns about GlaxoSmithKline Plc's diabetes drug, Avandia.

"My first thought is this is another example of the FDA being overly safety conscious in light of the withdrawal of certain products, such as Vioxx and Avandia," said Damien Conover, an analyst at investment research group Morningstar.

But he said it could still be a problem for Chantix.

"When the (attention deficit disorder) drugs got associated with increased risk of suicidal thinking, you definitely saw a class effect of slower growth," he added.

Pfizer, the world's biggest pharmaceutical company, reported revenue of $241 million for Chantix in the third quarter of 2007. That is significant, but still not one of its major drugs. It recently launched an ad campaign touting the drug, which it began selling last year.

CAUSALITY UP IN AIR

The FDA stressed the warning "does not mean that FDA has concluded that there is a causal relationship between the drug and the emerging safety issue."

Adverse event reports following a drug's approval are voluntarily submitted to companies by consumers and doctors and are a very rough indicator of any potential trends, a Pfizer official said.

"Postmarketing reports usually do not allow you to establish a causality because there is very often a significant amount of information missing," said Martina Flammer, a senior medical director at Pfizer.

She also noted that programs to stop smoking very often lead to nicotine withdrawal, which is exacerbated in patients with psychiatric illness.

The FDA noted, however, that not all patients in the cases noted had a preexisting psychiatric illness and not all had stopped smoking.

In its alert, the FDA cited one case of a patient whose erratic behavior while on the drug lead to death, but added that alcohol was also involved.

Doctors are advised to monitor patients taking the drug for changes in behavior and mood, the FDA said.

Pfizer shares closed up 1 cent at $22.72 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Kim Dixon; additional reporting by Toni Clarke and Lewis Krauskopf; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Andre Grenon)

Source: Reuters

Below, extra articles:

Selected TimeCube.com scripture: "Time Cube impose 4 corners on Earth sphere. Earth sphere is Cubic with rounded corners. Earth exists as2 opposite Cube hemispheres. Humans must establish 4 corner Earth Cube."

And check out this cubicao.com article: Formation of Cosmological Entities

CubicSearch - where Searches Abound

More articles from category "Health":

<< Back to NewsCube homepage

Article publication date: 20 Pluviôse Ray80 (21 Nov 2007)

COPYRIGHTED CONTENT REPRODUCED ON THIS SITE IS DUPLICATED UNDER "FAIR USE" PROVISIONS FOR PERSONAL STUDY AND RESEARCH PURPOSES.

Copyright © Cubic Awareness Online 2007