Photo: Associated Press
A lawyer for a Long Island man who faked his own drowning says his client’s bizarre behaviour could be a reaction to Pfizer’s Chantix, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
While that might seem like a poor excuse for a such an extreme act, the anti-smoking drug has in fact been linked to “changes in behaviour,” Pfizer acknowledges.
The FDA has also said people who have taken Chantix had “suicidal thoughts” and were hostile.
Here are specific allegations of bizarre behaviour linked to the drug:
- In July 2012, a plaintiff named Eric Hall sued Pfizer, claiming Chantix made him rob a toll collector, wreck his car, and land in jail, according to this personal injury blog.
- In May 2011, MSNBC reported regulators were overlooking serious psychotic reactions to the drug, citing a study by the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
- That study found a 24-year-old woman on the drug started beating her boyfriend because he looked “peaceful,” MSNBC reported.
- The study also found a 42-year-old man punched a stranger at a bowling alley.
- In September 2007, The New York Times reported the late indie rocker Carter Albrecht – described by friends as even-tempered – had assaulted his girlfriend while on the drug.
- And in February 2008, New York Magazine ran this first-person piece called “This Is My Brain On Chantix,” in which the author claimed the drug spurred “self-destructive fantasies.”
But an Alabama judge recently ruled Pfizer has adequately warned patients of suicide risks in its so-called “black-box warning,” according to Law360.
Pfizer said Wednesday Chantix’s label advises patients of the “neuropsychiatric events” some patients had while taking the drug.
“Given the significant public health risks of smoking,” the Pfizer statement added, Chantix “is an important treatment option for adult smokers who want to quit.”
The drug maker is currently conducting a large safety study to understand the psychiatric effects of the drug, which should be finished in 2017, according to the FDA.
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