Anti-smoking drug linked to blackouts


TOKYO (majirox news) — Pfizer Inc. was instructed Aug. 30 to warn consumers that its anti-smoking drug Champix can cause blackouts and doctors are being urged to inform patients prescribed the drug not to drive while taking it.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare took action against the pharmaceutical giant after six driving-related incidents occurring among Champix users from the time it went on sale in May 2008 until April this year.

Ministry officials said the drug works to block the effects of nicotine on the brain and has the effect of inhibiting satisfaction gained from smoking. Its use has gained popularity over other anti-smoking drugs, which focus on providing the body with nicotine in ways other than smoking.

About 41,400 people have been prescribed Champix as of the end of June this year, the ministry said.

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