Chantix® was originally developed by Pfizer to help people quit smoking. Severe side effects have been reported by users including joint and muscle pain, suicidal thoughts, depression, panic, agitation, lack of concentration and most seriously, psychotic behavior.
What’s the problem?
Chantix is a pharmaceutical drug that assists in helping patients to quit smoking. After an accelerated review process, the drug was approved for use by the FDA in 2006.
Chantix works in two ways. First, it blocks nicotine from stimulating brain receptors, so cigarettes do not give users the dopamine release they receive when they smoke, which makes smoking less appealing. At the same time, it stimulates the release of small quantities of dopamine to help decrease the desire for nicotine because the body is already getting some level of dopamine.
Since Chantix was first approved, there have been hundreds of reports of suicides and serious suicidal thoughts linked to the drug. Pfizer, the manufacturer, has failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about Chantix side effects. Their actions have prevented people from recognizing the problems which may be caused by the drug before it resulted in serious physical injury or death.
Concerns have been expressed about the method that Pfizer chose to review the safety of their anti-smoking drug. During the longest Chantix safety and efficacy trial, they specifically excluded many people who were potential target users of the drug, including those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, those with cardiovascular disease within six months and those recently treated for psychiatric symptoms like depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis or panic disorders. They also prohibited the use of other psychologically active drugs during the clinical trial.
Chantix Side Effects Include Heart Attack, Stroke, Cardiovascular Complications
A September 2006 study published in the Canadian Medical Journal (CMAJ) identified a link between Chantix and severe cardiovascular side effects. The study found that 1 in 20 Chantix users would experience a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular injury. The drug has also been linked to chronic heart disease.
FDA Panel Recommends Keeping Chantix Warning Label
Federal health advisers say a black box warning about suicide risks with Chantix should remain on the product’s labeling until it can be re-evaluated based on new study information. The twice-a-day tablet has carried the FDA’s strongest warning since 2009, following reports of suicidal tendencies and violent behavior among some users.