Chantix: Quit Smoking But At What Cost?

Chantix is a prescription medicine developed by Pfizer to help adults quit smoking. Since 2006, when Chantix received FDA-approval, there have been numerous reports of depression, psychosis and suicidal thoughts and actions in patients taking Chantix.

In 2008 Chantix outnumbered other prescription drugs on the market for reported serious side effects according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).  By 2009 the growing number of complaints, about Chantix, prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require a “black box” warning, (strongest possible warning), concerning these serious side-effects.

In May 2011, the ISMP reported that:

· Chantix ranked first in reported deaths compared to other drugs ISMP regularly monitors; and

· Chantix outnumbered all regularly ISMP-monitored drugs for suicidal behavior, depression, psychosis, hostility/aggression, and convulsions.

Heart attacks and serious heart problems have also been reported in patients taking Chantix. In July 2011, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study showing Chantix increased risk of heart attacks and serious heart problems by 72 percent compared to people who took a placebo (a non-drug substitute). http://tinyurl.com/3khecc3

Along with serious side effects, Chantix failed to provide long-term relief from smoking in the majority of patients. A June 2011 study, in the Journal of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that only 14% of Chantix users had stopped smoking after 24 weeks. http://tinyurl.com/6x7usek

A quit smoking rate of 25% is achieved if patients simply attend 8 or more quit smoking programs, demonstrating a higher rate of success than patients simply taking Chantix. Taking a pill may provide short-term relief from smoking but the question remains: at what cost?


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