Published on June 28th, 2012 | by James0
Chantix Side Effects: Pills Aren’t the Solution to Everything
Most smokers have heard of Chantix, the “wonder pill” produced by super-pharmaceutical company Pfizer. You know, the pill that anyone can take to basically quit smoking automatically. It’s just like modern people to want a quick-fix solution in pill form for all of their problems, but unfortunately it’s not that simple, especially when it comes to quitting tobacco. From the beginnings of this FDA-approved drug to its actual effects on quitting nicotine to its potentially devastating side effects, Chantix already has a long track record of issues that need to be addressed.
How Chantix Found It’s Way Into the Mouths and Minds of Consumers
Varenicline is the name of the chemical found in Chantix, Chantix is just the brand name. Anyway, Varenicline was introduced to the FDA in 2006 and was green-lighted for approval by May 2006 when it was released to the public. Many believe that the potential profits were so huge that Pfizer put a lot of effort into getting it approved without the proper testing. We’ll get more into that later.
There are plenty of Chantix side effects, some admitted in Chantix advertisements and some not admitted at all. Boxes of Chantix warn consumers of these side-effects: vomiting, nausea, disrupted sleep, abnormal dreams and digestive issues like constipation. Regardless of these seemingly dangerous side-effects, Chantix was still released as a quit smoking prescription drug.
Let’s Look at ALL Chantix Side Effects
The official side effects of Chantix are bad enough, but what about the side effects that have come up since Chantix was released? The biggest issue is that a lot of people have had severe mental side effects. Here is a bit of a report that the FDA issued on October 24, 2011:
“Some patients have experienced changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions while using Chantix to help them quit smoking. Some patients had these symptoms soon after they began taking Chantix, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment, or after stopping Chantix.”
Pfizer was forced to update the official side effects list by adding “suicidal idealation” in 2008. But regardless of this life-threatening new finding about the drug, it continued to be prescribed at the same rate! A year and a half later, in the middle of 2009, the government announced that it had received alarming reports about the drug and its psychiatric symptoms. There were, according to the authorities, about 100 suicides, 200 attempts and 5,000 psychiatric symptoms overall as a result of the medication.
These effects are no joking matter. There is still a lack of official scientific studies into the effect of Varenicline on patients with mental illnesses, but there are ongoing studies that will hopefully reveal more to the public about this medication. So if this drug actually was super effective in helping patients to quit nicotine, perhaps the risks would be worth it, so long as patients had their mental backgrounds checked and were properly monitored during the process. But is it super effective? Let’s take a look.
Is It Worth the Risk?
Chantix advertisements brag about a 44% success rate. This would be a phenomenal scientific breakthrough in the nicotine cessation world, but unfortunately it’s not that easy. This success rate only applies for those patients who reach weeks 9-12 on the Chantix program. That means they have made it 9 week without nicotine, and they still only have a 44% quit rate after that! The truth is that only about 14% of those that go the Chantix route will quit after a whole year.
The success rate for cold turkey is about 5%, so doesn’t that mean Chantix is much more effective? Unfortunately, no. That 14% success rate for Chantix is only for patients that also used therapy and support groups in their journey to quit. Proper medical and family support has been found to be the ultimate quitting tool, so this 14% really doesn’t mean anything because it’s combined with such support.
So is it worth the possible severe mental side effects? Probably not.
Chantix is Approved but E-Cigarettes are Not?
This whole Chantix issue begs the question: why is this possibly deadly medication approved by the FDA while electronic cigarettes are not? I guess it all comes down to what kind of power you have behind you. Pfizer has the ultimate connections with the FDA, while grassroots electronic cigarette companies don’t have any clout in the public health arena.
Hopefully one day electronic cigarettes can be recognized as a real smoking cessation device that won’t possibly cause you to kill yourself or have lasting mental side effects.
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