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CHANTIX®Warnings and Precautions (varenicline tartrate)


5.1 Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events including Suicidality

Serious neuropsychiatric adverse events have been reported in patients being treated with CHANTIX [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. These postmarketing reports have included changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, aggression, hostility, agitation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide. Some patients who stopped smoking may have been experiencing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, including depressed mood. Depression, rarely including suicidal ideation, has been reported in smokers undergoing a smoking cessation attempt without medication. However, some of these adverse events occurred in patients taking CHANTIX who continued to smoke.

Neuropsychiatric adverse events occurred in patients without and with pre-existing psychiatric disease; some patients experienced worsening of their psychiatric illnesses. Some neuropsychiatric adverse events, including unusual and sometimes aggressive behavior directed to oneself or others, may have been worsened by concomitant use of alcohol [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. Observe patients for the occurrence of neuropsychiatric adverse events. Advise patients and caregivers that the patient should stop taking CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behavior or thinking that are not typical for the patient are observed, or if the patient develops suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior. The healthcare provider should evaluate the severity of the symptoms and the extent to which the patient is benefiting from treatment, and consider options including dose reduction, continued treatment under closer monitoring, or discontinuing treatment. In many postmarketing cases, resolution of symptoms after discontinuation of CHANTIX was reported. However, the symptoms persisted in some cases; therefore, ongoing monitoring and supportive care should be provided until symptoms resolve.

The neuropsychiatric safety of CHANTIX was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, active and placebo-controlled study that included patients without a history of psychiatric disorder (non-psychiatric cohort, N=3912) and patients with a history of psychiatric disorder (psychiatric cohort, N=4003). In the non-psychiatric cohort, CHANTIX was not associated with an increased incidence of clinically significant neuropsychiatric adverse events in a composite endpoint comprising anxiety, depression, feeling abnormal, hostility, agitation, aggression, delusions, hallucinations, homicidal ideation, mania, panic, and irritability. In the psychiatric cohort, there were more events reported in each treatment group compared to the non-psychiatric cohort, and the incidence of events in the composite endpoint was higher for each of the active treatments compared to placebo: Risk Differences (RDs) (95%CI) vs. placebo were 2.7% (-0.05, 5.4) for CHANTIX, 2.2% (-0.5, 4.9) for bupropion, and 0.4% (-2.2, 3.0) for transdermal nicotine. In the non-psychiatric cohort, neuropsychiatric adverse events of a serious nature were reported in 0.1% of CHANTIX-treated patients and 0.4% of placebo-treated patients. In the psychiatric cohort, neuropsychiatric events of a serious nature were reported in 0.6% of CHANTIX-treated patients, with 0.5% involving psychiatric hospitalization. In placebo-treated patients, serious neuropsychiatric events occurred in 0.6%, with 0.2% requiring psychiatric hospitalization [see Clinical Studies (14.10)].

5.2 Seizures

During clinical trials and the postmarketing experience, there have been reports of seizures in patients treated with CHANTIX. Some patients had no history of seizures, whereas others had a history of seizure disorder that was remote or well-controlled. In most cases, the seizure occurred within the first month of therapy. Weigh this potential risk against the potential benefits before prescribing CHANTIX in patients with a history of seizures or other factors that can lower the seizure threshold. Advise patients to discontinue CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately if they experience a seizure while on treatment [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

5.3 Interaction with Alcohol

There have been postmarketing reports of patients experiencing increased intoxicating effects of alcohol while taking CHANTIX. Some cases described unusual and sometimes aggressive behavior, and were often accompanied by amnesia for the events. Advise patients to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume while taking CHANTIX until they know whether CHANTIX affects their tolerance for alcohol [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

5.4 Accidental Injury

There have been postmarketing reports of traffic accidents, near-miss incidents in traffic, or other accidental injuries in patients taking CHANTIX. In some cases, the patients reported somnolence, dizziness, loss of consciousness or difficulty concentrating that resulted in impairment, or concern about potential impairment, in driving or operating machinery. Advise patients to use caution driving or operating machinery or engaging in other potentially hazardous activities until they know how CHANTIX may affect them.

5.5 Cardiovascular Events

A comprehensive evaluation of cardiovascular (CV) risk with CHANTIX suggests that patients with underlying CV disease may be at increased risk; however, these concerns must be balanced with the health benefits of smoking cessation. CV risk has been assessed for CHANTIX in randomized controlled trials (RCT) and meta-analyses of RCTs. In a smoking cessation trial in patients with stable CV disease, CV events were infrequent overall; however, nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) and nonfatal stroke occurred more frequently in patients treated with CHANTIX compared to placebo. All-cause and CV mortality was lower in patients treated with CHANTIX [see Clinical Studies (14.8)]. This study was included in a meta-analysis of 15 CHANTIX efficacy trials in various clinical populations that showed an increased hazard ratio for Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACE) of 1.95; however, the finding was not statistically significant (95% CI: 0.79, 4.82). In the large postmarketing neuropsychiatric safety outcome trial, an analysis of adjudicated MACE events was conducted for patients while in the trial and during a 28-week non-treatment extension period. Few MACE events occurred during the trial; therefore, the findings did not contribute substantively to the understanding of CV risk with CHANTIX. Instruct patients to notify their healthcare providers of new or worsening CV symptoms and to seek immediate medical attention if they experience signs and symptoms of MI or stroke [see Clinical Studies (14.10)].

5.6 Somnambulism

Cases of somnambulism have been reported in patients taking CHANTIX. Some cases described harmful behavior to self, others, or property. Instruct patients to discontinue CHANTIX and notify their healthcare provider if they experience somnambulism [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

5.7 Angioedema and Hypersensitivity Reactions

There have been postmarketing reports of hypersensitivity reactions including angioedema in patients treated with CHANTIX [see Adverse Reactions (6.2), Patient Counseling Information (17)]. Clinical signs included swelling of the face, mouth (tongue, lips, and gums), extremities, and neck (throat and larynx). There were infrequent reports of life-threatening angioedema requiring emergent medical attention due to respiratory compromise. Instruct patients to discontinue CHANTIX and immediately seek medical care if they experience these symptoms.

5.8 Serious Skin Reactions

There have been postmarketing reports of rare but serious skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and erythema multiforme, in patients using CHANTIX [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. As these skin reactions can be life-threatening, instruct patients to stop taking CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately at the first appearance of a skin rash with mucosal lesions or any other signs of hypersensitivity.

5.9 Nausea

Nausea was the most common adverse reaction reported with CHANTIX treatment. Nausea was generally described as mild or moderate and often transient; however, for some patients, it was persistent over several months. The incidence of nausea was dose-dependent. Initial dose-titration was beneficial in reducing the occurrence of nausea. For patients treated to the maximum recommended dose of 1 mg twice daily following initial dosage titration, the incidence of nausea was 30% compared with 10% in patients taking a comparable placebo regimen. In patients taking CHANTIX 0.5 mg twice daily following initial titration, the incidence was 16% compared with 11% for placebo. Approximately 3% of patients treated with CHANTIX 1 mg twice daily in studies involving 12 weeks of treatment discontinued treatment prematurely because of nausea. For patients with intolerable nausea, a dose reduction should be considered.

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