A man throws a punch at someone in a bowling alley, unprovoked. A woman commits suicide with an overdose of pills after hallucinating and exhibiting strange behavior. Another man kills his son and himself two days after a voluntary mental evaluation that deemed him not a threat to himself or others.
If you think these acts of violence and self-harm were the result of long-term mental illnesses, think again. All of these people had been taking the smoking cessation medication Chantix prior to these acts and had no history of violent outbursts, hallucinations or suicidal thoughts.
These life-threatening side effects have prompted thousands of users and their families to file lawsuits against Pfizer, the maker of Chantix.
How Chantix Is Supposed to Work
This purported wonder pill is designed to work on the brain and its complex chemicals in two ways. First, it adheres to nicotine receptors in the brain cells and blocks the satisfying feeling you get from smoking a cigarette. This interference makes you less likely to want to smoke another one because you’ll get no pleasure out of it.
Secondly, it helps release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the reward chemical that is released when you smoke. Because the medicine helps stimulate plenty of “feel-good” chemicals, it helps prevent typical withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.
But is it really that simple and effective? Studies show that only about 22 percent of users are still not smoking after a year, and judging by the number of lawsuits related to the drug, thousands of patients have experienced side effects such as:
- Heart attack
- Angina and other heart diseases
- Aggressive behavior
- Suicidal ideations
- Depressed mood
Independent Research Studies on Chantix
Two studies conducted by the FDA in 2011 concluded that taking Chantix does not increase a person’s risk of being hospitalized for psychiatric problems. Unfortunately, this declaration sent the message to the general public that the smoking cessation drug was safe. However, the study was flawed, and anecdotal evidence and more thorough independent studies tell a different story.
The FDA’s studies focused solely on psychiatric hospitalizations, leaving out episodes of depression, aggressive behaviors, violent outbursts and suicidal thoughts that did not result in a hospital stay. And ending up in the morgue after a suicide doesn’t count as a hospitalization, either.
In light of new study findings, which pinpoint Chantix in 90 percent of all suicides among users of various smoking cessation drugs between 1998 and 2010, the FDA has ordered Pfizer to conduct its own studies on violent acts related to the medication, and a report is due in 2017.
Chantix Warnings and Bans
In addition to depression and violent behavior, Chantix has been known to cause temporary blindness, blackouts and seizures, making it a risk for anyone who operates heavy machinery for a living.
Therefore, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration have prohibited their pilots and air traffic control staff from using the medication. Likewise, other agencies governing truckers and railroad engineers have issued warnings about the drug.
A Better Smoking Alternative
A far superior way to address your nicotine cravings is with White Cloud. We haven’t seen a news report yet about someone dying because of an e-cig, so check out our electronic cigarette product selection to find out how you can satisfy the cravings without the risky side effects of pharmaceuticals.
1. http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/freedom-smoking/chantix-how-does-new-quit-smoking-medicine-work 2. http://www.ajc.com/news/ap/crime/wrongful-death-lawsuit-blames-chantix-prescriber/nb7zF/ 3. http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/america-tonight-blog/2013/11/21/fda-anti-smokingdrugchantixlinkedtomorethan500suicides.html 4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/chantix-suicide-risk-smoking-cessation_n_1076575.html 5. http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20111103/study-links-chantix-to-suicide-risk-but-fda-disagrees 6. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Suicides-may-be-linked-to-smoking-drug-923340.php