Pfizer recalls some Chantix products across US over possible cancer risk

Chantix, a prescription drug designed to help adults break their smoking habit, has been recalled by Pfizer, the company behind the product. A dozen lots of the medication have been recalled across the US over the potential presence of a nitrosamine impurity above the company's acceptable daily intake limit.

The impurity that spurred this recall is called N-nitroso-varenicline; it is a nitrosamine that, when ingested in high quantities for a long period of time, could potentially lead to the development of cancer in some people. This nitrosamine, as with others like it, is commonly encountered in everything from cured meats to drinking water.

For this reason, it's not feasible to entirely avoid the presence of this impurity in medication; rather, there are limits to how much can be found in medication, limiting the user's daily exposure to the substance. That's the reason for Pfizer's new Chantix recall — it says that a dozen lots of its smoking cessation product may have excessive amounts of the impurity.

"There is no immediate risk to patients taking this medication," Pfizer explains in its press release, noting that for many people, the health risks that come with smoking tobacco cigarettes eclipses the possible risk of cancer from long-term exposure to the impurity. Users are advised to talk with their health care provider or pharmacy about getting a replacement.

The recall involves select lots of Chantix in 0.5mg and 1mg strength tablets. Pfizer lists each product, as well as their tablet counts, expiration dates, lot numbers, NDCs, and packaging types in the recall notice. Consumers should compare their Chantix product to the items listed in the recall to determine whether they're impacted by this issue.