Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

Suicide Warning for Antismoking Drug

FDA Says Patients Taking Chantix Should Be on the Lookout for Mood or Behavior Changes
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 1, 2008 -- Federal officials warned Friday that a popular antismoking drug may be linked to suicides in some patients.

The drug, called Chantix, has been used by more than 5 million patients as a smoking cessation aid, according to manufacturer Pfizer Inc. The drug will now carry new labels warning doctors and consumers of reports of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

FDA officials said they had received nearly 500 reports of suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and completed suicides, 420 of which were in U.S. patients. Thirty-four cases of completed suicide were recorded in the U.S., along with five cases overseas.

The reports don't prove that Chantix was the cause of the suicide. But FDA officials say their investigation showed several suicide cases in patients with no history of psychiatric problems.

"We've become increasingly concerned as we've seen that there are a number of compelling cases that truly look as though they are the result of exposure to the drug," said Bob Rappaport, MD, director of the FDA's Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Rheumatology Products.

"Clearly these are very concerning findings for this product, which is being very widely used," he told reporters on a telephone conference call.

The agency asked Pfizer to increase the prominence of warnings on the Chantix label. The company made similar changes to the label two weeks ago.

The drug was approved in May 2006 as a smoking cessation agent. It is different from the variety of nicotine gums, patches, and lozenges on the market. While those products help replace nicotine when patients quit, Chantix acts directly on brain centers affected by nicotine.

In a statement issued two weeks ago, Pfizer said any risks associated with Chantix should be balanced with the known risks of smoking.

"Chantix is a real breakthrough medicine that has helped many smokers who want to quit. We hope that today's labeling change will further facilitate the important dialogue that should always occur between patients and their doctors when considering any prescription medication," a release from the company stated.

Rappaport said the FDA considers Chantix "extremely important and extremely effective" in helping people quit smoking. But he said patients taking the drug and their doctors should be on the lookout for any behavior or mood changes.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch