Tougher Controls Put on Anti-Smoking Drug

Article excerpt

CONTROVERSIAL anti-smoking drug Zyban is to be more stringently controlled in a bid to cut down on "adverse reactions", the Committee on Safety of Medicines announced yesterday.

This comes after a coroner ruled last month that the makers of the drug should improve warnings about the dangers of mixing it with other medication.

Hertford coroner Alan Lawson recorded a verdict of death by natural causes on airline flight attendant Kerry Weston, 21, of Broxbourne, Herts who was found dead in her hotel room in Nairobi a fortnight after she was prescribed Zyban.

The CSM said changes would be made from yesterday to the prescribing regime and "strengthened warnings" will be given by doctors prescribing it.

Zyban is a nicotine-free drug, licensed in June 2000, which has been prescribed to more than 419,000 people.

But 37 patients in the UK have died after taking the pills, with 5,352 adverse reactions have been reported under the Government's "yellow card" scheme which logs problems with drugs.

The CSM reviewed all current evidence on the drug and ruled that the prescribing regime should change to delay the dosage increase from day four of treatment to day seven.

Currently patients would take one tablet per day for three days and then two tablets per day from day four onwards.

The change will give time for the drug levels to stabilise, the CSM said. …