Chantix (varenicline tartrate) is sold by Pfizer as a smoking cessation drug to help ease the side effects of nicotine withdrawal and help people permanently stop smoking. It was approved by the FDA in May 2006, and it has quickly become a popular drug among individuals attempting to improve their overall health by kicking their nicotine addition. Chantix works by blocking the effect nicotine has on the brain. Nicotine from cigarettes causes the brain’s receptors to release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine gives cigarette smokers a sudden and temporary positive feeling. When a person stops smoking, the dopamine withdrawal causes irritability and lack of concentration.
Chantix reduces nicotine withdrawal by releasing low levels of dopamine. Additionally, Chantix blocks the nicotine receptors in the brain. This prevents the brain’s receptors from releasing dopamine, thereby reducing nicotine pleasures. Eventually, Chantix will reduce, and may even stop, the smoker’s desire for cigarettes. Chantix is the only FDA approved medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and reduces nicotine pleasures.
On November 20, 2007, the FDA issued an Early Communication stating that it was studying reports that Chantix causes psychiatric problems. On February 1, 2008, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory (which is a stronger warning than an Early Communication) detailing the link between Chantix use and depression / suicide. The FDA requested that Pfizer, Chantix’s manufacturer, place a new safety warning on Chantix’s label and distribute Medication Guides to patients describing the side effect.
A recent study conducted by the FDA showed that Chantix may increase risk of certain cardiovascular adverse events, including heart attack, and worsening cardiovascular disease, especially in patients who already suffer with cardiovascular disease. On June 16, 2011, the FDA issued a Public Safety Announcement warning of certain cardiovascular risks. Click on the link below to see the Announcement on the FDA website.
If you or a loved one used Chantix and suffered cardiovascular diesase psychiatric problems such as depression or suicidal thoughts, contact our office as soon as possible. LONCAR & ASSOCIATES has handled both pharmaceutical and medical device litigation since 1999 and we have successfully resolved thousands of cases for our clients. Feel free to contact Loncar Lyon Jenkins using the contact form below or by calling our office at 800-285-HURT to discuss your options.