Pfizer, the drug manufacturer of Chantix, faces numerous lawsuits which state the this specific drug as caused many of its users to have serious side effects, even that of suicide. Approved by the FDA, Chantix is taken to help individuals quit smoking, but at what cost?
Washington, D.C. – In May 2006, the FDA approved Chantix, a drug made by Pfizer to be distributed in the United States. It was marketed as a medicine to help smokers quit and as the statistics show, it did just that. Control groups were tested over a period of 12 weeks, using Chantix and undergoing counseling, and at the end of the trial, 44 percent of patients had quit smoking. As with most drugs, there were side effects. Many of which included nausea, constipation, gas, vomiting, and sleep problems—either trouble sleeping or having vivid, unusual, or strange dreams. But it was soon discovered that the patients taking this drug experienced far worse than ‘normal’ or ‘expected’ symptoms.
Chantix was distributed to more than 6.5 million people worldwide, (5.5 million of them in the United States) thousands of whom are now reporting that they have experienced serious neuropsychiatric side effects, such as changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior. It wasn’t long after the death of Carter Albrecht, a popular Texas musician that the FDA began to release warnings about the drugs tendencies to cause suicidal actions. Depite public health advisories and updated warnings on the drug’s label, many lawsuits began to emerge, confronting the drug company on their mistakes. The lawsuits range from a mother who used a handgun to commit suicide in front of her two young children, a woman who was found dead by her husband after committing suicide with a shotgun and an elderly woman who killed herself by inhaling large amounts of carbon monoxide. What is the common fact in all of these devastating situations? Chantix. Another was a Mr. Brian Kline was hospitalized in August 2007 for manic, aggressive, and violent behavior and a psychotic disorder a month after he was prescribed Chantix.
Investigations completed by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania, found that Chantix displayed ‘adverse-event reports’ and had ‘100 or more reports of serious injury.’ It was later reported in 2007 that Chantix ‘accounted for 988 serious drug adverse events in the United States, which is more than any other individual drug in the time period.’
Once the public got wind of this information, the U.S. sales of Chantix dropped by one-third, but Pfizer continued to emphasize that this was an important and useful drug in the battle against smoking. The continue to believe they have done nothing wrong, when clearly the facts are telling a different story.
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Jana Simard is a contributing writer for Justice News Flash with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. Born in Canada, but raised in sunny south Florida, Jana had an early passion for writing. During her high school and college years she interned at a Florida Congressman's office as well as a Rhode Island Governor and Senator's office. While in her last two years of college, Jana spent six months in Salamanca, Spain where she truly discovered her passion for writing and had her articles published in her school's newspaper. Her experience in two Providence high profile law firms has equipped her with the ability to write for Justice News Flash as a Legal Reporter.