Tobacco addiction is an affliction affecting millions of Americans and it is also one of the top grossing industry's in the United States. However, for those who smoke, nearly 500,000 lose their lives each year and the health care costs of smokers ranks ata about $167 billion a year. Chantix or Champix, known also as Varenicline Tartrate, is a prescription medicine given to patients seeking to end their smoking addiction. In the past, quitting aids have mostly focused on Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT's) which use a limited release of nicotine into the body to ease cravings. Chantix operates without using any nicotine.
The drug attempts to reduce cravings among individuals taking it. Common side effects of Chantix include nausea, headache, difficulty sleeping and abnormal dreams. According to the drug's manufacturer, Pfizer, nearly 5 million prescriptions for Chantix have been written and it is likely that 3 million individuals are currently taking the drug.
In November 2007, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) began investigating reports of depression, agitation and suicidal behavior among patients taking the medicine, after they had received reports of 37 suicides and more than 400 of suicidal behaviors in connection with the Chantix. A link between Chantix and serious psychiatric complications is becoming progressively probable, according to the FDA. Those who have preexisting psychosis or other mental illnesses, the drug may increase the previous disorders. Two weeks after this report, Pfizer added stronger Chantix warnings to the drug's packaging, stating publicly that while a direct link between Chantix and the reported psychiatric problems did not exist, the possibility of Chantix-induced psychotic episodes could not be ruled out.
The manufacturer believes that the erratic behavior and psychosis in Chantix users is due to the withdrawal of nicotine. However, the FDA's findings stated that even those patients who had continued smoking had similar psychiatric episodes. Indeed, cases of such extreme psychiatric problems have not manifested themselves as prominently in over the counter quitting aids, such as NRT's. The most publicized case thus far has been that of Carter Albrecht, who, after assaulting his girlfriend, was shot and killed by his neighbor who mistook him for a burglar. The strange circumstances associated with Albrecht's death were blamed on him taking Chantix, according to friends and family. The situation is serious and nearly 200 comments were posted on ABC's Web site after the story aired, with individuals complaining of similar side effects.
It has also been learned that individuals who consume large amounts of alcohol while taking Chantix are reporting the most serious side effects. The potential for Chantix side effects to cause a suicide in a patient is an ever-increasingly likelihood. It is likely that because of the similar coincidences found among Chantix patients that the drug does increase suicidal tendencies among users, moreso than the FDA's original studies found. Thoughts of suicide, euphoric to depressed mood swings, anxiety, and hallucinations appear to be almost common in the majority of available information from patients reporting back. As such, patients taking Chantix should seriously consider consulting with their health care provider about the continued use of the drug, especially in cases where patients have a history of psychiatric illness. If you or someone you know is taking Chantix, or has taken the drug in the past, it may be in your best interest to consider consulting with an expert Chantix attorney about the prospect of any Chantix lawsuit, especially as the possibility of a Chantix class action lawsuit looms.
For more information on Accutane and other various prescription drugs, visit LegalView's practice areas at http://www.LegalView.com/ . Here, individuals can find the latest on FDA drug warnings as well as controversial drugs like the Chantix side effects or a Avandia warnings. Also learn more about the recent potential for Vytorin and Zetia litigation, visit http://zetia.legalview.com/ .