Is Chantix The Suicide Drug?
Chantix, the brand name for the drug varenicline, was once thought of as the answer to smoking addiction. Pfizer marketing campaigns claimed Chantix was an easy and effective way to stop smoking and it claimed a 44% success rate…in the beginning.
After the initial publicity campaign and after more facts about the drug began to emerge, Pfizer started focusing on the one-year success rate of 22%. These ex-smokers had completed the program and were living free of cigarettes after 12 months.
Side Effects Of Chantix Downplayed
The side effects of Chantix have been downplayed from the beginning. Depression has been one of the most debilitating side effects of Chantix, it may not sound that serious but depression can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating Chantix in 2007 after 39 suicide deaths were reportedly attributed to the use of Chantix.
In December, Omer Jama, a TV news editor in the United Kingdom, committed suicide by slashing his wrists just a few weeks after going on Champix (In the United Kingdom, Chantix is known as Champix but it is the same drug). Then a 36-year-old welder, also in the United Kingdom, hanged himself after completing a thirteen-week Champix regimen.
The latest warning from the FDA about the possibility of severe changes in mood and behavior in patients taking Chantix contains the following changes.
- Patients should tell their doctor about any history of psychiatric illness prior to starting Chantix. Chantix may cause worsening of a current psychiatric illness even if it is currently under control and may cause an old psychiatric illness to reoccur.
- Healthcare professionals, patients, patients’ families, and caregivers should be alert to and monitor for changes in mood and behavior in patients treated with Chantix.
Many Side Effects Of Varenicline Overlooked
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) conducted a study of varenicline and found that while the FDA issued the previous warnings dealing with suicidal acts, psychosis, hostility, and aggression, it overlooked “other kinds of serious harm for which no warnings now exist, either from the FDA or from the manufacturer, Pfizer Inc.”
While the FDA received 78 death reports in which “varenicline was the principal suspect drug,” only 28 resulted from suicide. There were “numerous reports suggesting cardiac causes, both thromboembolic and arrhythmic,” writes ISMP.
The serious events reported were 173 injuries and accidents, 86 convulsions, 544 cases of hyperglycemia/new onset diabetes mellitus, 227 reports of suicide/self-injury, 65 severe cutaneous adverse reactions, 148 vision disturbances, 372 extrapyramidal syndromes, and 139 embolic and thrombotic events.
The area of the brain targeted by Chantix has many functions in the body, including muscle contractions. The drug, varenicline is turning out to be a timebomb. If you want to quit smoking, try cold turkey, as it turns out, it’s the most effective quit smoking method of all.
Contact Product Liability Lawyer
If you or a loved one have used the drug varenicline, also known as Chantix, and have suffered an adverse reaction of any kind, please contact a qualified product liability lawyer at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.