News

Two Years After Albrecht's Death, FDA Forces "Mental Health Events" Chantix Warning

To this day, people still post comments to the September 4, 2007, Unfair Park item concerning the smoking-cessation drug Chantix and its troubling effect on users. Andrea Grimes wrote the piece because Sorta's Carter Albrecht and his girlfriend had begun using the Pfizer-made medicine shortly before Albrecht was killed on September 3, 2007, and his best friend, bandmate and roommate, Danny Balis, had posted to his MySpace page an essay in which he partially blamed Carter's erratic behavior -- which involved his trying to kick down a neighbor's door, leading to Carter's being shot and killed -- on his use of Chantix. Wrote Danny, the two had "complained of having crazy, insane, almost horrific dreams that week."

Since then we've posted myriad updates on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's investigations into Chantix and its effect on users, but none lately. Not until today: The FDA now says Chantix will now come with a warning that will "highlight the risk of serious mental health events including changes in behavior, depressed mood, hostility, and suicidal thoughts when taking these drugs." And, as The New York Times reminds, it took Carter's death and "a cascade of similar reports" -- including "98 reports of completed suicides and 188 reports of attempted suicides among those taking Chantix" -- to finally force the FDA's hand.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky