FAA Bans Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers from Using Anti-Smoking Drug Chantix
Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration banned pilots and air traffic controllers from using the smoking cessation drug Chantix due to emerging data on the drug’s potential side effects. Chantix, a non-nicotine prescription medication manufactured by the drug giant Pfizer, is used to help people stop smoking. The drug was fast-tracked by the FDA because of the promise it showed during clinical trials, and was approved for sale in the United States in 2006. Chantix acts at receptors in the brain affected by nicotine and may help those who wish to give up smoking in two ways: by providing some nicotine effects to ease the withdrawal symptoms and by blocking the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if they resume smoking. A report from the watchdog group Institute for Safe Medication Practices linked Chantix to a wide array of health and safety problems including accidents and falls, potentially lethal heart rhythm disturbances, heart attacks, seizures, diabetes, and various psychiatric disturbances. These findings were based on an analysis of adverse events reported to the FDA.
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