Thirty-two thousand veterans will soon find letters about Chantix in their mailboxes. Some of the vets had been participating in a study of the stop-smoking drug, but the Veterans Administration came under fire for failing to warn them about the drug's risk of psychiatric side effects, even several months after the FDA raised the flag about those problems.
The vets enrolled in the study have had PTSD, you see, which might put them at increased risk of the suicide, suicidal behavior, and other psychiatric problems that have been associated with the Pfizer drug. The story of one vet's breakdown while taking Chantix led off a series of reports about the study in the Washington Times and on ABC News, and now the VA is trying to quell the storm by notifying not only the study participants but all vets who've been prescribed Chantix of the potential risks.
Pfizer must be feeling like it can't win. As reports of the potential psychiatric problems associated with Chantix emerged, some criticized the company for excluding people with a history of psych problems from the drug trials. Now, the negative publicity is all about a study that did include those patients.