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Chantix Suicide and Side Effects

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Reports of serious Chantix side effects, including a possible link between use of Chantix and suicide resulted in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing a black box warning for the smoking cessation drug. Chantix lawsuits have been filed, alleging patients who used Chantix were harmed by the medication.

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Chantix Suicide Warnings

In July 2009, the FDA announced an update to Chantix (known generically as varenicline) warnings, alerting patients to the risk of serious mental health events linked to use of the smoking cessation drug. Pfizer, maker of Chantix, was required to put a Boxed Warning on the Chantix label, highlighting the risk of depressed mood, hostility and suicidal thoughts when using the medication. At the time of the announcement, the FDA noted that patients should weigh the risks of continuing smoking against the risks of using Chantix to quit. The FDA warned, however, that some patients experienced unusual changes to their mood or behavior even after stopping the medication.

In addition to the Boxed Warning, the FDA required Pfizer to conduct a clinical trial to determine how frequently mental health symptoms occurred in patients using Chantix to quit smoking.

Chantix Suicide

When the FDA made its announcement in 2009, it had received 98 crude reports of completed suicide associated with Chantix (a crude report means the FDA had not examined each report in depth to ensure there were no duplicates). It had a further 188 crude reports of suicide attempts.

In October 2011, the FDA announced that two studies concluded Chantix does not lead to more hospitalizations from psychiatric events than other nicotine replacement therapies. The agency noted, however, that the studies were too small to detect rare adverse events and did not include the increased risk of psychiatric events that did not result in hospitalization.

A study published online in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One (11/11), however, suggests that use of Chantix was eight times more likely to be linked to suicidal behavior than other nicotine replacement products. The study analyzed reports of serious self-injury or depression associated with the use of Chantix. Furthermore, the study found that 90 percent of all reports of suicide linked to the use of a smoking cessation product from 1998 through 2010 were linked to the use of Chantix, even though Chantix was only on the market from 2006.

Chantix Heart Attack

On June 16, 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that Chantix may be associated with an increased risk of certain cardiovascular adverse events in patients who have cardiovascular disease. This information was added to Chantix physician labeling. According to the FDA, a clinical trial of 700 smokers with cardiovascular disease who were treated with Chantix or placebo showed patients treated with Chantix suffered more cardiovascular adverse events than those treated with a placebo. The cardiovascular events included angina pectoris, nonfatal myocardial infarction, need for coronary revascularization and new diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease. Although the number of cardiovascular events was small, the FDA notes that some events, including heart attack, occurred more frequently in patients treated with Chantix.

Chantix Lawsuits

Chantix lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer Inc, alleging the smoking cessation drug caused users to commit suicide or attempt suicide, and that Pfizer did not adequately warn patients or the medical community about the risk of side effects. Patients who used Chantix and attempted suicide before mid-2009 while still taking the medication may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Similarly, family members whose loved ones committed suicide while taking Chantix might have grounds for a lawsuit.

Chantix Legal Help

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Chantix

The first Chantix warnings were announced by the FDA in late 2007 and three months later, the agency said it that there may be an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms. In June 2007, Pfizer, the manufacturer of Chantix, was required to add a boxed warning about Chantix side effects and the risk of behavior changes, including depression, aggression and attempted suicide.

chantix suicideThe FDA has reported 491 cases of suicidal thinking or behavior, including 420 in the US. And of those, there were 39 suicides, including 34 in the US.

Chantix (varenicline) was approved in 2006 to help people quit smoking. It works by stimulating nicotine receptors in the brain, just as nicotine does, but blocks the nicotine from attaching to the receptors, reducing the pleasurable effects of tobacco as well as the desire to smoke. Because it works on the brain, Chantix may worsen preexisting psychiatric illness or cause a recurrence of past issues. However, some Chantix users who had no history of psychiatric illness and others who did not quit smoking also reported behavior or mood changes, including suicidal thoughts.

Chantix SuicideThere are also reports of patients experiencing drowsiness that affected their ability to drive or operate machinery. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that the use of Chantix may adversely affect a driver's ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle and the FAA banned the use of Chantix among pilots and air traffic controllers.

A preliminary assessment revealed that many of the cases reflect new-onset of depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks of initiating Chantix treatment.

In October 2011, the FDA announced that two studies concluded Chantix does not lead to more hospitalizations from psychiatric events than other nicotine replacement therapies. The agency noted, however, that the studies were too small to detect rare adverse events and did not include the increased risk of psychiatric events that did not result in hospitalization.

Healthcare officials have been notified by the FDA to monitor ALL patients taking Chantix. If you have experienced behavior or mood changes, report it to your doctor and use caution when driving or operating machinery. You might also consider filing a lawsuit if you have experienced any of the following:
  • Attempted suicide on Chantix
  • Experienced severe Chantix aggression and caused injury to yourself or others
  • Suffered severe physical injury as a result of sudden abnormal behavior
  • Suffered severe physical injury or death from an accident or fall caused by seizures, black-outs, vision disturbances or other sudden problems

Chantix Heart Problems

On June 16, 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that Chantix may be associated with an increased risk of certain cardiovascular adverse events in patients who have cardiovascular disease. This information will be added to Chantix physician labeling. According to the FDA, a clinical trial of 700 smokers with cardiovascular disease who were treated with Chantix or placebo showed patients treated with Chantix suffered more cardiovascular adverse events than those treated with a placebo. The cardiovascular events included angina pectoris, nonfatal myocardial infarction, need for coronary revascularization and new diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease. Although the number of cardiovascular events was small, the FDA notes that some events, including heart attack, occurred more frequently in patients treated with Chantix.

Meanwhile, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests a link between the use of Chantix and an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. Researchers reportedly found a 72 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular events in patients who took Chantix compared with those who took a placebo. The study suggests that this risk is increased even in patients with no history of cardiovascular disease. According to researchers, 52 of 4,908 patients taking Chantix suffered a serious cardiac event, compared with 27 out of 3,308 who took a placebo.

Chantix Lawsuits

Lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer Inc., the maker of Chantix, alleging Chantix side effects caused users to commit or attempt suicide and that Pfizer failed to properly warn users and the medical community about the potential side effects which could increase the risk of suicide or unusual behavior changes. The lawsuits also claim that Pfizer failed to adequately research their medication.

Chantix AggressionThe parents of Carter Albrecht, who was shot to death in September 2007 just a week after their son began taking Chantix, filed a lawsuit against Pfizer for not disclosing the risks of Chantix or providing adequate warning of possible side effects. According to the Dallas Morning News, Albrecht became violent toward his girlfriend and seemed confused and terrified. He banged violently on the back door of a neighbor's home and the terrified neighbor shot a warning from his rifle that accidentally killed Albrecht.

Many individual lawsuits are being filed nationwide (three lawsuits were filed in New York state court in January, 2010) and all federal Chantix lawsuits have been consolidated in an MDL that is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

chantix suicideThe FDA informed healthcare professionals of reports of suicidal thoughts and aggressive and erratic behavior in patients who have taken Chantix, a smoking cessation product. There are also reports of patients experiencing drowsiness that affected their ability to drive or operate machinery. A preliminary assessment reveals that many of the cases reflect new-onset of depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks of initiating Chantix treatment.

The role of Chantix in these cases is not clear because smoking cessation, with or without treatment, is associated with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and has also been associated with the exacerbation of underlying psychiatric illness. However, not all patients described in the cases had preexisting psychiatric illness and not all had discontinued smoking. Patients taking this product should report behavior or mood changes to their doctor and use caution when driving or operating machinery until they know how quitting smoking with Chantix may affect them.

Chantix Legal Help

If you have attempted suicide or a loved one has committed suicide after taking Chantix, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation. -->

Last updated on Mar-5-13


CHANTIX LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

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Chantix Increases Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events, FDA Warns Washington, DC: People taking the smoking cessation drug Chantix (varenicline) may have a higher risk of suffering major adverse cardiovascular events, according to information issued by the Food and Drug Administration this week. The results support earlier findings [READ MORE]





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