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Concern over anti-smoking drug and seizures

24 October, 2000

A consultant at a Manchester hospital has expressed concern about the side effects of a new anti-smoking drug, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Kevin Reynard, a consultant in emergency medicine at Wythenshawe Hospital, claims that in a six week period staff at the hospital had dealt with five Zyban patients exhibiting side effects, with three of these suffering seizures. One case involved a paramedic who lost control of her ambulance, crashing into a garden wall.

Glaxo Wellcome, the manufacturers of Zyban, marketed as a 'miracle cure for smokers', has acknowledged that the drug has a one in 1,000 risk of causing seizures.

Mr Reynard said "We may just be seeing a statistical quirk but I am concerned".

The Department of Health confirmed that 860 people have reported side effects since Zyban was introduced to the UK in June, and that 29 people have reported having seizures, but added that the risk of seizures was mentioned in the literature that accompanied Zyban.