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.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky