New Controls Put on Anti-Smoking Drug after Deaths
Lorna Duckworth Social Affairs Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
AN ANTI-SMOKING drug is to be controlled more strictly after reports that 37 British patients have died and more than 5,000 have suffered bad reactions while taking the tablets.
The Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) said yesterday that changes were being made to the way Zyban was prescribed and doctors would be given "strengthened warnings".
A coroner in Hertford said in April that the manufacturers of Zyban should improve warnings about the dangers of mixing it with other medication after an air stewardess died of a seizure while she was taking the drug.
Now patients will be "phased" on to the drug more slowly to cut the high number of "adverse reactions" and allay concerns over fatal reactions.
Zyban was hailed as a wonder drug that could help millions of people stop smoking when it became the first non-nicotine treatment for smokers to be licensed in June last year.
The drug, which has already been prescribed to nearly 420,000 patients, works by altering the chemical balance in smokers' brains and doctors have reported a high success rate. But 37 patients have died in Britain after being prescribed the pills and 5,352 adverse reactions have been reported by GPs.
The CSM, which acts as an independent advisory panel, said Zyban had been linked to a lower proportion of fatalities than some drugs, but should be more safely prescribed.
This would see patients take just one tablet a day for …
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Publication information: Article title: New Controls Put on Anti-Smoking Drug after Deaths. Contributors: Lorna Duckworth Social Affairs Correspondent - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 1, 2001. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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