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Pilots and Truckers warned against Chantix

Pfizer's troubled smoking cessation drug has run into more problems as two US transport regulatory bodies warned pilots and truckers not to take it while performing their respective jobs.

Pfizer's troubled smoking cessation drug has run into more problems as two US transport regulatory bodies warned pilots and truckers not to take it while performing their respective jobs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has called on medical examiners not to issue licences to people who are currently taking the drug. Doubts about Chantix's safety were raised after the Institute for Safe Medication Practices released results of a study that showed evidence of links to seizures, loss of consciousness, vision problems, heart attacks and various forms of psychiatric instabilities.

Similar calls came from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on May 19. The agency ordered all of its pilots and air traffic controllers to stop taking Chantix.

"We don't just act indiscriminately," said Fred Tilton, the FAA's federal air surgeon who said that any adverse side affects will lead to prohibition of the medicine. "Medications approved for pilot and controller use must undergo a rigorous review process before being considered acceptable."

This is not the first time that a treatment developed by Pfizer has come under fire following approval from US Food and Drug Administration. Reports in February 2008 linked use of the drug to suicidal thoughts: prescriptions in the US have subsequently fallen by 33 per cent.

27th May 2008

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