chantix side effects

  1. Study says Chantix is safe, here’s why it’s wrong

    The deadliest way to quit smoking

    Giving up tobacco is one of the best decisions you could ever make. But trying to quit smoking with the help of a drug is one of the worst -- especially if that drug is Chantix.

    I'm sure you've seen the headlines and heard about the lawsuits over Pfizer's antismoking drug. It's been shown to dramatically increase the risk of depression, including serious depression, and it's also been associated with bizarre behavior, violence, and even suicide.

    But Pfizer is trying to make you forget all that with a company-funded study that supposedly "proves" the drug is not only safe, but is even safe for people who are already depressed.

    In the study, 525 people were given either the drug or a placebo. I've seen it spun as a yearlong study, but while the patients were tracked for a year, the treatment itself lasted just 12 weeks.

    And sure, over the course of the study period, there was no increase in suicide "scores." But that only means none of the patients showed an increased interest in attempting suicide.

    The problem here is that many of the reports of people who've killed themselves while taking this drug claim there have been no warning signs at all -- so suicide scores wouldn't have helped identify them anyway.

    The study also excluded depressed people who already had some of the warning signs of suicide -- which means they may have left out some of the very people who could face the highest risks of all.

    And yet they've still managed to claim the drug is safe for "depressed people."

    So forget this study and look at the unbiased research on this drug -- like the study last year that found people who took Chantix increased their risk of severe depression and suicide by 8 times.

    Another study even found that Chantix users are 18 times more likely to be involved in violence than people who take other meds.

    The most effective approach is to go cold turkey -- but if you need a little help along the way, speak to a holistic doctor about natural remedies and consider trying acupuncture.

  2. Cold turkey never looked so good

    There's no doubt about it: If you're a smoker, the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your body is to quit -- and quit right now.

    But if you turn to meds for help, you might get the wrong kind of quit: Pfizer's notoriously risky anti-smoking drug Chantix has been linked to a disturbing number of suicides.

    And now, researchers say the 122 suicides tied to this med so far tell only part of the story -- less than half the story, in fact. Because their analysis of misfiled Pfizer reports found 150 additional Chantix-related suicides.

    In addition to the suicides, researchers from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices found 102 cases of possible hostility and aggression, 156 depressed patients, and 56 patients who may have battled psychosis -- all after taking the drug, and all "misfiled" in Pfizer's adverse event reports to the FDA.

    Now, you're probably wondering how it's even possible to "misfile" all those reports -- and that's where this gets extra shady.

    Instead of filing these reports individually and within 15 days as required by the FDA for serious and unexpected side effects, Pfizer filed them in the quarterly "periodic reports" reserved for expected side effects.

    But let's look at this from a different point of view -- maybe this is just Pfizer being more honest than we've come to expect. Maybe it's just the company's way of saying it expects suicides, aggression, and depression among Chantix users.

    Whatever the reason, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices senior scientist who looked at the Chantix data says Chantix is the riskiest drug they analyzed in their review of FDA reports -- in the third quarter of 2010 it was linked to twice as many deaths as any other medication.

    And that's just another piece of bad news for a drug that's made quite a few headlines, and not in a good way. As I told you a couple months back, Chantix actually finished first on a list of drugs most likely to be linked to violence. (Read about that here.)

    The new report finds more evidence of that, too -- like the 24-year-old woman who suddenly began beating her boyfriend as he slept because he "looked so peaceful."

    That woman almost won a spot on another Chantix list as well: She later tried to kill herself.

    Despite these and other well-known risks, Chantix isn't even very good at helping smokers to quit. Studies have shown that 80 percent of all patients who try it are back to smoking -- or still smoking -- a year later.

    That's if they survive taking Chantix.

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