Chantix By Any Other Name ...
As I've said before, we still receive a comment or two every other day to this September 4 post concerning the smoking-cessation pill Chantix, which Carter Albrecht's friends and family partially blame for his irrational behavior shortly before his death in September. And today, a Friend of Unfair Park sends word of this story from England, where 39-year-old Sky TV editor Omer Jama killed himself on October 25. Today, his family likewise points to Champix -- the U.K. brand name for Chantix -- as the likely cause, as Jama's brother insists, "He's got no history of depression and was never the sort of person you would see feeling sorry for himself."
Stories about Jama's suicide and its possible link to Champix began circulating late last week, as it turns out -- around the same time Britain's "medicines watchdog" said it would start investigating the drug's side effects. As we noted two weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration is investigating claims that Chantix causes "behavior and mood changes" in people who use it. Last week the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency in England said it was also looking into the drug following "839 reports of adverse reactions to Champix," including 52 reports of "abnormal dreams." --Robert Wilonsky