Varenicline link to seizures, alcohol intolerance

As well as increasing the intoxication effects of alcohol, some patients who drank while taking varenicline (Champix) reported unusual aggressive behaviour and amnesia, the FDA said in a statement announcing an update to drug’s label.

“Until patients know how (varenicline) affects their ability to tolerate alcohol, they should decrease the amount of alcohol they drink,” the FDA advised.

It recommended doctors advise patients to stop taking varenicline immediately “if they develop agitation, hostility, aggressive behaviour, depressed mood, or changes in behaviour or thinking that are not typical for them, or if they develop suicidal ideation or behaviour”.

Since the smoking-cessation drug was approved in the US in 2006, there have been 48 reported cases of decreased tolerance to alcohol or aggression in patients drinking while taking the medication.

Of the cases of decreased alcohol tolerance, one resulted in