With Pfizer, FDA Shunning Tests on Mentally Ill, Promise of Smoking Remedy Chantix Turns to Ashes for Some



Linda Ware with her granddaughter, two days before she committed suicide in 2008.

Late one morning in June 2008, 57-year-old Southern California real estate agent Linda Ware was driving with her cousin along a desert highway when she began hallucinating. Envisioning in the distance a sign that read “God Is in the Realm,” she pulled over suddenly and ordered her cousin out of the car. Then, just as abruptly, Ware burst out laughing and pulled back onto the road again.

Although Ware suffered from depression, as her daughter Cary Ussery related, she’d never acted like this. A few days earlier, however, she had started taking Chantix, a pill meant to help her quit smoking by suppressing the effects of nicotine on the brain.

The day after the driving incident, a family friend found Linda Ware slumped by her bed, dead from a fatal cocktail of prescription drugs, a suicide note at her side.

Tragedy has plagued Chantix ever since it was approved in May, 2006, even as the drug has helped some smokers kick the habit. By mid-2009,  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had received reports of nearly 100 suicides, 200 attempted suicides and close to 5,000 serious psychiatric events overall. Hundreds of reports of side effects have continued to stream in this year.

A review of the drug’s history shows that Pfizer Inc., the giant pharmaceutical company that makes Chantix, failed in its years of clinical trials to test the product on the mentally ill or those with a recent history of depression — even though millions of smokers suffer from psychiatric problems. Moreover, FDA regulators approved Chantix after a speeded-up “priority review” process, and did not request a follow-up study on mentally ill patients using the medication, even though the agency’s own safety reviewer reported that the exclusion of such smokers may have undermined the clinical trials.

It wasn’t until three years later, after thousands of reports of serious side effects, that the FDA told Pfizer to conduct trials including people with a history of mental illness. The agency then also slapped a so-called black box warning, the FDA’s strongest alert, on the medication.

The controversy over Chantix’s side effects, particularly for smokers with mental health issues, has triggered a torrent of lawsuits. About 1,000 such cases have been filed in federal court, and plaintiffs lawyers say they anticipate bringing forward more than 1,000 additional suits. There also are scattered cases in state courts in New York, Illinois and elsewhere. Plaintiffs in more than half of the cases claim the drug led to suicides or suicide attempts, and many say they suffered psychosis, blackouts, aggression, diabetes or other problems. No cases have yet been tried or settled.

The plaintiffs lawyers argue that Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company with sales this year of more than $60 billion, neglected to test Chantix adequately before its release, deliberately hid evidence of serious side effects and failed to sufficiently warn consumers about its risks. Pfizer has turned over to plaintiffs lawyers more than six million pages of documents under a protective order that bars their public release.

Pfizer, for its part, defends Chantix and says it “acted responsibly and appropriately at all times in connection with the development, approval, and marketing” of the drug. The FDA, likewise, says it acted properly in approving the drug, despite the problems that emerged after it went on the market.

“The agency does not feel any mistakes were made,” said FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh.“We can never speculate as to what may happen with a drug once it goes into widespread use after approval.”

The FDA’s failure at the outset to require Pfizer to include the mentally ill in its research, however, points to a potentially serious flaw in the agency’s regulation of drug safety for these particularly vulnerable consumers. Although the mentally ill commonly are excluded from drug clinical trials, they account for a disproportionate number of smokers and are a key part of the target market for smoking cessation treatments.

Their exclusion baffles experts such as Dr. Karen Lasser, a Boston University researcher who has studied the link between mental illness and smoking. “You need to think about who is going to be taking the drug,” she said.

Paul Thacker, a former Senate Finance Committee investigator who has written about FDA decision-making, agreed. “If you’re not thinking in that way,” he said, “then you’re not doing your job.”

Back when Chantix was approved, Pfizer officials figured they had a potential major new star in their portfolio. With nearly 70 percent of the estimated 45 million smokers in the U.S. hoping to quit, the market appeared to be vast. Sales quickly zoomed to $883 million in 2007, which turned out to be the drug’s peak year. (During the first nine months of this year, sales totaled $522 million.)

Chantix, which is sold as a pill, works by taking the pleasure out of smoking by interfering with the way nicotine ordinarily affects the brain. At the same time, it spurs the release of dopamine, which helps control the brain’s pleasure centers the way smoking usually does.

Pfizer launched Chantix with a news release spotlighting the dire statistics on quitting smoking: less than 7 percent of smokers who try to quit on their own make it past the one-year mark. In contrast, clinical trials showed that about 22 percent of Chantix users who took the drug for three months were able to abstain from smoking for a year or more.

The company early on promoted its product through a series of TV, print and online ads that, without mentioning Chantix or its side effects, sought to sell people on the idea of quitting smoking. The “My Time to Quit” campaign was intended to draw smokers to a website that, after providing quick facts about kicking the habit, tiptoed to information about the drug. Overall, Pfizer has spent about $300 million on advertising for Chantix, according to the Nielsen Co., a media information business.

Pfizer also spread its influence by paying doctors to give talks to other physicians on smoking cessation techniques while also giving funds to universities. The University of Wisconsin-Madison said the company has given it more than $3 million, mainly for continuing medical education courses it offers on smoking cessation.

The multi-pronged promotional effort by Pfizer eventually addressed rising concerns about the drug. In 2008, Joseph Feczko, then Pfizer’s chief medical officer, wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Headlined “Smoking Has Side Effects Too,” the piece tried to offset the negative publicity about Chantix with a reminder on the hazards of smoking. It also explained how regulators and drug companies conduct follow-up research, and alert the public, after they receive reports of serious side effects.

Along the way, a controversial tack Pfizer took to push its product was a study written by a team of employees headed by Kathryn E. Williams, then part of the company’s Global Research and Development unit. The study, which was published in 2007 in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, deemed Chantix safe for long-term use. (Labeling on the drug prescribes a 12-week course of treatment, but the study looked at consumers who used Chantix for a year.)

The article, however, was flawed in that failed to provide statistical analysis to back up the claim, according to Dr. John Spangler, a smoking cessation expert at Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine. He wrote to the journal to complain, noting that the numbers actually indicated Chantix patients were 2.5 times more likely to suffer a serious adverse event than those on a placebo.

“I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish,” Spangler said in a recent interview. “A faulty study has been included into the world’s medical literature.” Pfizer declined to comment on the study.  The journal, for its part, said via email that the article “underwent rigorous and independent peer review, and full disclosure of the authors’ employment and funding was made.”

Other studies have demonstrated that Chantix has helped some smokers, but often is no better than other options for quitting. For instance, a study published in in the journal “Thorax” in 2008 showed that Chantix works better than the nicotine patch for some people, but not for others. Other researchers have concluded that nicotine gum is just as effective as Chantix.

What’s more, most people who give up smoking quit cold turkey, without medication. A 2006 survey of more than 8,000 smokers by the National Cancer Institute found similar success rates among those who used medication in trying to quit and those who didn’t. The figures showed that 16 percent of the non-medicated group abstained from smoking after nine months, versus 14 percent for the group using medications.

Still, experts such as Lirio Covey, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University who worked on early studies of Chantix, say the FDA’s approval of Chantix made sense. “Some people really have a hard time stopping smoking. Chantix does have some utility,” Covey said. “I would say that it’s a pretty good drug, but it’s not the first resort” for treatment.

For Covey, who said she has received close to $80,000 from Pfizer this year to study the effects on mood of smoking cessation, the key facts are these: millions have taken Chantix to stop smoking, and the number of people who suffered severe side effects is relatively small. In her estimation, the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks. She also believes it’s still not clear if the side effects are the result of the drug or nicotine withdrawal.

But questions about why Chantix’s safety wasn’t fully evaluated extend back at least to May, 2006, when the FDA’s safety reviewer for the drug, Dr. Howard Josefberg, submitted his report to the agency. He endorsed approving Chantix, but found that Pfizer’s clinical trials may have been “too carefully screened.” He noted that the studies excluded people treated for depression over the previous 12 months as well as “those with histories of panic disorder, psychosis or bipolar disorder.”

“The patient population studied, then, may not represent the true target population should varenicline be approved,” added Josefberg, using the generic name for Chantix.

The report by Josefberg, who declined to be interviewed for this story, indicated that three or four people died out of the roughly 5,000 smokers treated with Chantix in clinical trials. FDA researchers, however, said all of the fatalities appeared to be unrelated to the drug.

Still, one death in particular piqued the interest of scientists. A white male in his 60s who took the drug for close to six months took his own life. “Patient 103510121069 represents the most potentially concerning case,” Josefberg wrote. He “committed suicide by hanging 27-days after completing the 24-week varenicline treatment.” The patient had a history of severe depression but neglected to share his troubled past with those screening patients, according to FDA documents.

More than 80 other Chantix patients in the trials reported serious side effects. In one case, a 46-year-old white female, who stopped taking the drug after a week, arrived at work speaking incoherently, confronting colleagues, and overturning furniture, according to FDA documents. She was hospitalized for acute psychosis. Later reports indicated the patient had some history of psychotic behavior, but had failed to tell investigators, according to FDA documents.

All told, Josefberg concluded that there was no clear connection between Chantix and any deaths or serious adverse events, psychiatric or otherwise. He recommended the FDA approve the drug with a warning that alerted users to side effects such as potential heart problems, nausea, insomnia and abnormal dreams, while adding that the trial data was far from conclusive on the drug’s cardiovascular effects.

The routine exclusion of mentally ill subjects from clinical trials, researchers say, is justified in certain cases. Sometimes the subjects are too sick to consent to participate. Mentally ill patients may also fail to follow the proper dose regimens or other instructions. In addition, including people with mental or other health problems in drug research can complicate evaluating the results of a medication.

Yet many experts argue that excluding the vast numbers of Americans who are mentally ill from the trials leaves in doubt the real world effects of drugs on many people who may be vulnerable. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26 percent of Americans 18 and older, or close to 60 million people, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. About 6 percent suffer from a serious mental illness.

Beyond that, the mentally ill account for a big proportion of American smokers. A report this spring from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 43 percent of adults with depression smoke, versus 22 percent of other adults.

Boston University’s Lasser, in a recent analysis relying on the broader definition of mental illness, concluded that people with such disorders represent about 40 percent of all smokers.

Raymond Lorenz, the author of a recent paper on Chantix and the mentally ill and a faculty member at Auburn University’s pharmacy school, said more research is needed to gauge the risks that psychiatric patients face when they take the medication. Still, he wrote that excluding the mentally ill “seems to be a glaring oversight” in Pfizer’s trials before the FDA approved Chantix.

The FDA could have, but didn’t, ask Pfizer to conduct additional research — in this case, research including mentally ill smokers — immediately after Chantix was approved. The agency sometimes does that as a compromise, to ensure that medications reach patients without extra years of delays, while keeping an eye on a drug’s side effects after it comes into widespread use.

By late 2007, however, the parade of Chantix warnings and restrictions by federal authorities had begun. That November the FDA issued a warning that some patients taking Chantix reported having suicidal thoughts. Two months later, the agency ordered revised labeling indicating that Chantix’s safety for mentally ill patients was not established. Other federal agencies also took action, including the Federal Aviation Administration, which banned pilots and air traffic controllers from using Chantix.



Brandon Campbell, an IT worker at Duke University Hospital.

Finally, in July, 2009, the FDA came around to fully embracing testing Chantix on the mentally ill. “We are going to require that they study folks that have mental health disorders,” said  Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an FDA drug evaluation official, in a telephone conference call media briefing. “There is a disproportionate amount [of them] that smoke and they would be potentially exposed to this drug. We have no idea if that subgroup population is at higher risk or not and so we do want to get some sense of that.”

Chantix users like Brandon Campbell already have a sense of that.

In July 2007, Campbell, a 33-year-old IT technician at Duke University Hospital, gave the drug a try after enrolling in an employee wellness program to quit smoking. Although Campbell, like Ware, had a history of depression, there was no indication as yet that the safety of the drug had not been established in people like him. Soon after finishing the recommended 12-week course of treatment, Campbell recalls, he started experiencing severe symptoms. He felt disconnected from reality, had trouble remembering things, and became emotionally unstable—breaking down over trifles. He also contemplated suicide. He’d been depressed before, sure, but had never felt, as he put it, like driving over a cliff.

The problems persisted. This past summer, Campbell said, he sat in his garage in Durham, North Carolina, with the doors shut tight and the car running, hoping to die. Then the police started beating on the door, and he was rushed to the hospital. Campbell still smokes and says he still wants to quit, but he’s exceedingly wary of trying any more pharmaceuticals. “It’s like playing Russian roulette,” he says.

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Lilly Fowler

About the author

Lilly Fowler is assistant editor at FairWarning.

22 comments to “With Pfizer, FDA Shunning Tests on Mentally Ill, Promise of Smoking Remedy Chantix Turns to Ashes for Some”

  1. XSmoker

    2007 Took the drug to quit smoking, and did quit. In the process turned into a major ass, and almost lost my family due to the short temper it gave me. 5 years later still struggling with ending it all thoughts. Glad I know it is the drug and not my true intent.
    My family has helped point out the changes it made in my life that were not present before. But at least I can breath again????!!!!?

  2. terri

    I agree w/you, LibertyLover…it WAS because of my own stupidity that I trusted blindly everyone involved in getting Chantix to market. I DID trust my doctor…my pharmacist…and esPECIALLY the FDA. I was excited when it first came out. Couldn’t get started FAST enough!!!!!!!!!!! Was THRILLED when it touched on my smoking receptors!!!!!! Really did make smoking a chore!!! YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! Is this IT???!!! Couldn’t BELIEVE it was this easy!!!!!!!!!! OMG…beYOND grateful and happy!!!!

    And, had it STOPPED there…I, too, would be singing Chantix’ praises. But, it didn’t. Once it touched on the smoking receptors, it grew feet…traveling on and on throughout my brain affecting/DISTORTING/twisting my sleep, dreams, actions, reflexes. I was no longer in control of my own thoughts!!!!!!!!! Remember feeling beYOND exhausted for soooo long…then slowly…dreams became so real I found it difficult to decipher my “state”!!!! Two, long, hospital stays plus psyche unit in ’08…shook me to the core.

    I WANTED Chantix to be the magic pill they said it was!! I WANTED it to work!! Never in my wildest nightmare…would I have believed that a little, blue pill could TOTALLY turn my world upside down..and inside out. My life as I knew it was over. Yes, I was naive…yes, I was gullible….didn’t have any reason to DOUBT what I was being told. Feared drugs as a teen…can describe at 55 in VIVID detail…an hallucination.

  3. LibertyLover

    I can’t believe people so readily take new drugs in the first place. Just plumb can’t believe it. How many times must you witness drugs being pulled from the market due to horrific side effects including death? How many times must you listen to doctors assuring you of the safety of a drug they know nothing more about than what the pharmacy representative/salesman told them? Grow up, THINK, and stop being so gullible. Doctors aren’t Gods. They are nothing more than arrogant dictators who inject their cash cow schemes into the minds of drones. They influence public policy not ‘for the good of the people’ but to keep the money flowing to them. If you don’t need them they don’t make money. How many of you take your kids in for “well check ups?” – You are willing tools! Don’t complain for it’s your own stupidity that’s done you in.

  4. TERRI

    IT’S TIME FOR A CHANTIX RECALL!

  5. Joanne

    I took this anti smoking drug and did not realise what was happening to me. People close to me told me after I had recovered that I had become like a zombie.
    I was virtually ‘obeying’ everything that was suggested even though in normality I would have never agreed to.
    My mind was sort of taken over to be receptive to any suggestions no matter how alien to my normal persona.
    Maybe this is the role of this awful drug ?
    To either influence smokers to kill themselves or for them to become subservient.
    We know that smokers are despised and hated and what better way to rid the world of people that have now been denormalised by the anti smoking zealots.
    What will it be used for next ? Alcohol ? ‘unhealthy’ foods etc.
    In the end only the health freaks and righteous will survive.
    Eugenics in a bottle ??

  6. Jason B

    I took Chantix. Worked great!

  7. Gjm

    I am very saddened to read about all the suffering still going on due to those “murderers” at pfizer. And that’s what they are. Life after chantix was not life at all, but hell. However, I did find something that literally saved me. I tried many, many things hoping to recover from what chantix did to me. My depression started the day after I stopped taking chantix. I knew right away that it was from the chantix. My life was a living hell for just under one year. Major depression, anxiety etc. etc. I tried many things to get better. Spent lots of money on different therapies, but was adamant about not wanting to go on anti-depressants – which every doctor I went to was pushing like it was candy (drug company incentives – read – money, money, money). I know a few people who were prescribed anti-depressants many, many years ago and are still on them because they are in severe depression if they stop. I did lots of research and came across a natural remedy – Omega 3. But not just any Omega 3. It has to have a specific EPA to DHA ratio. The EPA to DHA ratio of the one I take is 20:1. Do yourself a favor and google Omega 3 and depression and see the research for yourself. This stuff saved my life. I also recommended it to someone I know who was suffering from post menopausal depression. It changed their life also. Give it a try – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It also has many other beneficial health effects.
    Good luck and GOD bless!

  8. terri

    I can’t help but wonder how many people have gone out driving and been killed/killed others because they did not realize how impaired they were. Of course, chantix would not be a drug any deceased or injured driver would be tested for, so there is really no way to know how many people have died unintentionally, not because of suicidal thoughts. How many people think they are losing their minds, which is what it felt like to me…….(written by Robin Wheeler, 2/3/11)….above…

    I AGREE, ROBIN. I, TOO, WONDER HOW WILL WE EVER KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE AFFECTED BY CHANTIX, AND NEVER PUT IT TOGETHER!!! MY GUESS IS COULDN’T CERTIFIED LETTERS BE SENT TO ALL WHO FILLED A SCRIPT FOR THIS DRUG?? WOULDN’T PHARMACISTS HAVE RECORDS?? AND, WHEN A CERTIFIED LETTER IS RETURNED DUE TO “PERSON DECEASED…” WOULDN’T THAT BE A RED FLAG TO MAKE SURE THE NEXT OF KIN GETS THIS NOTICE….AND PERHAPS PEACE OF MIND COULD BE RESTORED TO FRIENDS/FAMILY WHO WERE TOTALLY UNAWARE THEIR LOVED ONE SUFFERED CHANTIX SIDE EFFECTS.

    THE LONGER THIS DRUG IS ON THE MARKET…THE MORE DEATHS/ATTEMPTS/LAWUITS, ETC… . THERE WILL BE!!!! AND BASIC MATH SHOULD TELL PFIZER NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THEY MAKE ON CHANTIX, THEY WILL HAVE TO TURN AROUND AND PAY IT OUT TO PLAINTIFFS!!!!

  9. robin wheeler

    I took chantix for approximately 2 months, and nearly died. On Dec. 30, not realizing I was too impaired to drive, I started out to go to Walmart. I was driving a 1988 extended cab van, a veritable tank that could cause a great deal of damage to anything/anyone it collides with. I knew a very sharp curve was coming up with a posted speed limit of 15 mph, but I could not get my brain to make my foot come off the accelerator as I approached the curve at 55 mph. I had to physically lift my leg to get my foot off the pedal. I managed to turn around (no clue where or how) and drove home in 1st gear with one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator all the way. I stopped the medication the next morning, but the effects worsened. The warning “confusion” is a vast understatement. I sat on the side of my bed for at least 4 days, could not talk, think in any normal sense of the word, and the only evidence that I may have eaten was an empty can of chicken/rice soup in the sink but no dirty dish, pan or other utensil or any evidence that I washed anything. I am a-typical bipolar (highs and lows are not severe), and apparently the chantix wandered beyond the nicotine receptors and into areas of my brain it did not belong in. I got a cramp in my arm and it twisted into a position that would make a contortionsit proud, and there is no way I could ever get my arm into that position intentionally (of course, I tried), and had constant cramping in my toes and fingers. I can’t help but wonder how many people have gone out driving and been killed/killed others because they did not realize how impaired they were. Of course, chantix would not be a drug any deceased or injured driver would be tested for, so there is really no way to know how many people have died unintentionally, not because of suicidal thoughts. How many people think they are losing their minds, which is what it felt like to me. Luckily, I majored in Mental Health, and after my attempt to drive I realized it wasn’t me, it was the new drug in my system telling me the wront things. I had a really weird effect…..everything in the world smelled like cat pee. No matter where I was, no matter how many times I washed my clothes, the world had that wonderful odor. It’s been over a month since I stopped taking it, and if I smoke past a certain point, it starts again (I smoke less because of the taste and smell, but absolutely would rather smoke than become a zombie!). My brain is still not functioning as it used to, my short-term memory is more impaired, and in spite of the fact that I am a writer, I have to struggle to find correct words that came easily prior to this drug. I bought things I don’t remember buying that I was selling at a year-round farmers’ market, priced them below what the invoices said I paid, and have no clue why I bought some items. I sell old glass, crystal, Italian pottery and ceramics, and found myself with leather tigers, vinyl elephants, and many very weird items that would require a very strange person to buy.

    Well, I could go on, but I think that it is important that people with any type of chemical imbalance in their brain (bipolar, depression, mania, schizophrenia, etc.) be warned NOT to take this drug. Behavior centers in the brain are close to the nicotine receptors, and apparently are more than happy to allow the chantix to wander all over the place. I resent the lost time, the loss of memory (my birthday was Dec. 31st and friends took me out and the place and people smelled like cat pee and that’s about all I remember about my 60th birthday1), and all the lingering effects that had better go away.

    I have not yet familiarized myself with this site, but will do so immediately after I post this. Thanks so much. It helps to know I wasn’t alone in what my Dr. called “an extreme reaction”!

  10. pat bagley

    I took Chantix for 3 months. Went on an Alaskan cruise which I remember very little of. Wanted to commit suicide and hated the whole world. Was in mental ward for 3 days. To this day I still feel like the drug has a hold on me mentally. It took a year away from me that I don’t remember.
    Went back to smoking after 6 months. Would love to tell my full story to anyone who would listen. Maybe we could get this off the market.

  11. tekwyzrd

    I never trusted Chantix. Like the many dangerous, misrepresented, and over-prescribed drugs advertised on television, this is yet another product that was approved for sale without adequate verifiable testing. This drug, and many others approved by the FDA, illustrate that the major drug companies are concerned with profits, not safety. The FDA has proven itself an ally of the pharmaceutical industry and an enemy of the american people.

  12. BPW

    What a horrible horrible chain of events, and no one is paying attention to the victims except a few lone reporters and lawyers.

    I invite everyone to see my site, and also my after-story of http://www.ubhdentonsucks.com It’s a real-life horror story that no one should have to live through!

  13. Scott Gilbert

    I took Chantix and it worked as promised, that I did quit smoking. However, I also quit living. I did give up the Chantix (and started smoking) but I’ve never come back to living a life. I’ve left all of my friends, never go out, just exist. I can barely motivate to do more than necessary chores like laundry or grocery shopping, but more than that is difficult. I’d like to know what I can do to alleviate this….

  14. pamela

    Im the Mom of a Chantix user and I can tell you first hand what a nightmare this drug is .I almost lost my son to the after effects of this drug and I would never recomend anyone use it Im a nurse and I shake when I give this drug knowing what it can potentially lead to .

  15. Kevin

    In regard to the e-cig discussion and pious high drama;

    The safety of e-cigs is a straw man diversion, to undermine the fact that not one of the voices at the head table designing the autonomy of others, gives a hoot about the smokers or their risks.

    Their concerns are blatantly obvious and self serving. Robert Wood Johnson spends hundreds of millions annually, promoting the charities who sing along with their promotions of [approved] alternatives, to suit the millions of shares they hold in their benefactor; Johnson and Johnson. It is no state secret they promote what suits their very existence, as the medical institutions and body part charities have been doing for a century, in service to their well heeled investors. Keeping the dreams alive, while hoping that cures are never found.

    The “no such thing as a safer cigarette” was entitlement to open the regulatory floodgates to imports, grown with no regulation, to compete on even terms with the more expensive domestic products in North America.

    The demands for RIP cigarettes, which by physiological principles, have to increase toxic loads by the temperature adjustment, which will increase the volumes and number of toxins you will find, as a direct result of that adjustment.

    It is no small wonder “the magical smoke” is always calculated and referenced as state and stable product, when it is well known to be anything but. The 4000 – 100,000 “deadly toxins” are said to be a cause for alarm, yet no one anywhere is even monitoring what is in the many brand offerings and evaluating which could carry a greater or lesser risk and relaying that useful information to those actually at risk, in less than alarming tones depicting quit or die.There is no greater determinant of health risk than personal economy, so where is the caring or compassion attached to taxing an addiction?

    If we even take a moment to understand what extra risks someone will face, being designated as a lesser person or a less deserving soul [non-normal] and the level of increased risks millions of law abiding citizens will face, for being treated as something else, the damages should be obvious to anyone with a calculator and a humane bone in their body. Blaming the victim has become all the rage in the gotcha headlines business. Risk is always a useful tool of fear, or the stick to drive people where you want them to be, even if they never wanted to go. The groups at the head of the pack are there for reasons much less than a concern for the milk of human kindness. Who else could afford to buy that seat? Primarily they are speaking in support of increased profits and market-share, with a following attached to self sanctimony and moralist aversions.

    There is nothing noble, valuable to society or humane in what has become of tobacco control, its bullies or its social manipulations. All that is left to be decided is which of the cabal should be shamed to set an example and which of them should be convicted for leading others astray. Insanity has proven to be consistent in its result once again, no matter how many iterations are repeated.

    TC is an out of control social experiment, who’s day has come and who’s damages can no longer be tolerated, its time to find a cure and re-balance. Before the profiteers and power mad dictators residing at numerous “Health and Safety” UN appendages, take control of us all, by our own inaction in the face of unfettered madness. This was never science or scientific, it was just a major mistake, exaggerated by gossip and innuendo to suit political puppeteers and their profits.

    Can anyone still deny, it was always about the money?

  16. DarkriftX

    So they will approve a suicide pill but they want to ban electronic cigs that have something like a 90% success rate at getting people to stop smoking cigarettes (you dont “quit” you change what you inhale to something that appears to be much safer). I love the FDA! Lets send them all some free Chantix and hope they all make use of it!

  17. Tina

    Here’s my story! This drug is dangerous and potentially deadly! http://chantixunthinkable.blogspot.com/

  18. Joanna

    It’s not just bad for people with a history of depression or mental illness. Here’s the account of a journalist who tried it. From New York Magazine. Attempting to say the effects are only limited to the depressed/ ill is itself misleading and a great disservice:

    http://nymag.com/news/features/43892/

  19. Lori

    Ooooo! Must have struck a nerve! I see my comment didn’t make review! Hmmm! Don’t you wonder how many other people’s comments are not being viewed here?

  20. terri

    one last thing….just HOW MANY people died on Chantix…and no one put it together???? I could’ve been six foot under and no one…would’ve known how I could do such a thing…also, how many people are acting goofy out there and have no idea why?

    I’ll bet if certified letters were sent to EVERY SINGLE PERSON who filled a Chantix prescription ..complete w/questionnaire…asking all the right questions….and/or certified letters sent to their surviving loved ones…only THEN could it be understood…just HOW MANY VICTIMS THERE ARE/WERE. This drug is for real and needs to be yanked!!! As long as it’s available…there will be MORE unexplained deaths/suicides….divorces (I HATED my husband while on Chantix…he could do NOTHING right) Spent weekends going thru display apartments. This drug TOTALLY distorts your way of thinking. And even if you KNOW something’s wrong…you are POWERLESS to stop the spiral.

    GET THE WORD OUT THERE….MANY UNEXPLAINED HAPPENINGS…CAN NOW BE EXPLAINED!!!!!!!!!!!! CLEAR THE CONFUSION…SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT….GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO UNDERSTAND HOW/WHY CRAZY THINGS ARE HAPPENING. HELP!!!!! PLEASE…HELP!

  21. terri

    FINALLY, the story/history of Chantix side effects is being told. OMG…I’ve been waiting. I want it to be understood that I took Chantix with all the best intentions, in fact, was EXCITED and looking forward to finally being free of nicotine. I did not take Chantix w/hopes of suffering life threatening side effects, sue and take an early retirement. No, this was not my intention. And, to boot, since it was FDA approved, how could I possibly go wrong? Win/win, right?

    I was a closet smoker, 2 – 4 per day, no one knew I even took Chantix except my mom. I took two scripts of Chantix between Oct. ’06 – Oct. ’07. I’ll admit, as promised, the cigarettes DID taste bad. I DID quit for a couple months. When I started up again, went BACK for another script. THIS time, however, was different. Something went terribly wrong and I was unable to piece together at the time…what was causing my withdrawal from life.

    Two and a half years ago, I was a 55 yr. old happily married (37 years), loving mother and nana of 6. I had a job of 23 years that I loved and lots of friends and siblings all around. My life was GREAT!! So, why not make it even GREATER…by putting the stick down. And, THAT was what I wanted to do!

    Two hospital stays in ’08.

    Jan. ’08 – - taken by ambulance in middle of nite w/horrific chest pains, stomach spasms as strong as contractions, EXTREME shortness of breath and a MIND BLOWING headache. Kept a week – - released w/diagnosis – - possible virus.

    May ’08 – - had great day at work as usual. Daughter called when I got home and said, “mom, what’s wrong? You haven’t been yourself for a long, long time…and people are worried.” I laughed, hung up, picked up keys, took long drive to rural area singing to oldies along the way, picked up 3 bottles of sleeping pills and mini-diabetic razors…found a closed used car dealership…pulled in on an angle so I could blend in…wrote short note, “it’s been real” which was found by police the next morning when I was found unconscious.

    I had downed 240 sleeping pills and cut self up w/razors…woke up six days later when being taken off vent..surrounded by devastated family members…wanting answers. I had none. Spent time in psych unit, short leave from work, babysitting rights had been stripped, all credibility…gone…self-respect…gone…hubby took up residence in spare bedroom, people tip toed around me for months, even driving privileges were taken away for a month and all this was followed up w/2 years of intense outpatient therapy a couple times per week.

    Ostracized by those closest to me for over a year…not only had mental issues to overcome, but physical as well. Had to take blood tests every week for several months to confirm a liver transplant was not needed…gained 30 unwanted/un-needed lbs….

    What do I remember? I remember dreaming/hallucinating deceased loved ones coming to me at nite, begging me to go w/them. I could FEEL their hugs and listened to their description of how beautiful/fun heaven is! Tried to conVINCE me my job was done here. After several months of this and feeling beyond exhausted…and wanted DESPERATELY to just take a soft blanky into closet and shut the world out…I listened.

    NEVER would I have put Chantix in the equation…but after beating myself up for several months after the attempt…my mom started feeding me articles on the negative side effects of this new wonder drug. I finally took the bait and researched on my own. OMG…could this possibly have NOT been my fault??!!! Could a drug REALLY play so drastically w/person’s mind???…but it was FDA approved!! Oh, dear God…do you have any idea how I pray daily (along with THOUSANDS more out there)…for my day of vindication??? Once solid word gets out of these side effects….many answers and prayers will be answered. There will be a windfall of lawsuits. On that you can depend.

  22. John R. Polito

    Sincere thanks for this excellent Chantix review!! I write to echo an important article assertions: “most people who give up smoking quit cold turkey, without medication.” Each year more successful long-term quitters succeed in quitting cold turkey than by all other quitting methods combined. It’s a simple yet critical and undeniable truth that both the pharm industry and all under the industry’s financial influence keep hidden from smokers. Why? What is the successful cold turkey quitter’s secret? How did they succeed? If still nicotine’s slave I encourage you to go to your favorite search engine, type “quit smoking cold turkey” and find out. Knowledge is power and key to dramatically increasing success rates is in becoming vastly more dependency recovery savvy than our addiction is strong.

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