Quitting Smoking Can Make You Die

If you use Chantix.

Anti-smoking drug may be tied to suicide risks

WASHINGTON – Government regulators said Friday the connection between Pfizer’s anti-smoking drug Chantix and serious psychiatric problems is “increasingly likely.”

The Food and Drug Administration began in November investigating reports of depression, agitation and suicidal behavior in patients taking the popular twice-daily pill.

The agency’s announcement comes two weeks after Pfizer added stronger warnings to the drug. In doing so, the company stressed that a direct link between Chantix and the reported psychiatric problems has not been established, but could not be ruled out.

This is a new medicine that’s being touted all over the place these days. It binds to sites in the brain that nicotine usually occupies. Apparently it’s also binding to places it’s not supposed to. Or not binding to all the sites it’s supposed to — so that there’s a subliminal crash from the nicotine withdrawal. Reading the list of side-effects sounds just like the symptoms associated with quitting cold turkey. So the only advantage to this pill is that it puts money in someone else’s bank account.

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2 Comments on “Quitting Smoking Can Make You Die”

  1. lifedrivedoc Says:

    Mike,

    Although there have been published reports about links to depression with Chantix, the overwhelming consensus at least from my practice is that the drug is helpful in arresting tobacco use in some of the most recalcitrant smokers. Due to some early reports of depression noted from anectodal evidence and now this, I have personally placed patients on Wellbutrin to counter any potential side effects. This has worked for the most part.

    In regards to the side effects sounding similar, this would probably occur if the patient decided to curtail smoking “cold turkey.” The beauty of Chantix is that most patients decline their smoking gradually and not immediately. Another potential deterrent would be to use the nicotine patch to wean, in addition to Chantix, but this would add immense cost to the process.

    I certainly hope that the drug is not taken off the market and/or some solution to the problem is found. It has been an immense help for my patients.

    Disclaimer: I have absolutely no relationship with any drug company.

    LDD.

  2. Mike Cane Says:

    I’m leery of pills that affect the brain. Suicidal thoughts are a known side-effect of Prozac. Del Shannon was on Prozac and killed himself.

    It’d be very rare for someone suffering suicidal thoughts to seek help. Trapped in the grip of such thoughts created by a pill, a person isn’t thinking clearly and is bound to forget and/or ignore physician warnings about such thoughts.

    I keep this quote in my LifeDrive:

    “The human mind is very complex. That sounds obvious, but people keep forgetting it. They think you just throw a little Prozac in here, and a little of something else in here, it’ll do this, this, and this. It’s ridiculous.”

    — Ruth Tiffany Barnhouse, McLean Hospital psychiatrist, quoted in “The Mad Poets Society,” The Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2001


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