The deadly side effects of Chantix have led to numerous Chantix lawsuits. Learn more here.
Chantix (Varenicline) is a popular medication prescribed to help people stop smoking. It works by inhibiting the effects of nicotine on the brain. Unfortunately, Chantix also has a litany of potential side effects, including cardiovascular problems and suicidal thoughts. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other prominent medical agencies and institutions have warned the public that Chantix side effects can be dangerous or even fatal in some cases.
The side effects of Chantix have also attracted scrutiny from researchers and regulators in Canada and in Europe, where the drug is sold under the name Champix. On July 4, 2011, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) released the astonishing findings of a study conducted by American and British researchers. This groundbreaking report linked Chantix to a staggering 72 percent increased risk of serious cardiac events among tobacco users.
Coupled with reports of suicidal thoughts and actions on the part of people taking Chantix, the CMAJ study undoubtedly represents a turning point in the ongoing discussion surrounding Chantix within the medical and legal communities. It also bolsters the arguments of numerous Chantix users who have filed Chantix lawsuits. If you suspect that you or a loved one has experienced new or escalating cardiovascular or behavioral side effects, suicidal thoughts, or any other adverse health effects as a result of taking Chantix, contact your doctor immediately. In addition, the FDA encourages you to contact the FDA MedWatch program by calling 1-800-332-1088. For more information on Chantix lawsuits, contact a qualified lawyer specializing in defective drug cases.
Chantix Side Effects
Studies have linked Chantix to a number of side effects. FDA warnings concerning these effects go back to 2006. The findings of subsequent studies prompted the FDA to issue a "black box" warning, the agency's strongest action short of a recall. This action required the drug's manufacturer, Pfizer, to place warnings of dangerous side effects on the packaging of the drug and in the medication guide that comes with Chantix.
Suicidal thoughts and suicide itself represent perhaps the most alarming of Chantix's many potential side effects. As the NIH states, "Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so) while taking [Chantix]." The role of Chantix in these behaviors is currently being studied, but it is safe to say that the potential has raised the eyebrows of patients, doctors, researchers, regulators and lawyers worldwide.
The controversy surrounding Chantix is compounded by the fact that the drug is also associated with serious cardiovascular risks. The latest FDA warning, issued in June 2011, states that Chantix may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular events in patients who already have heart problems. This warning was based on a reputable study of 700 smokers with cardiovascular disease who received treatment with Chantix or a placebo. Cardiac events were reported to be infrequent on the whole but occurred more often in patients taking Chantix than in those taking the placebo.
However, the findings of the abovementioned CMAJ study are more ominous. In the study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom; and Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina analyzed data from 14 clinical trials that included a total of 8216 participants. They found a 72 percent increased risk of cardiac events among tobacco users taking Chantix. One of the co-authors of the study's published findings noted an unfortunate irony: Participants achieved increased levels of abstinence (not smoking), which should have had positive cardiovascular effects; instead, participants experienced increased cardiovascular risk.
Suicidal thoughts and cardiovascular problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Potential side effects of Chantix also include the following:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the tongue, face, throat, gums, legs or arms
- Blisters in the mouth
- Red, swollen, blistering or peeling skin
- Change in appetite
- Sleep problems
- Unusual dreams
Filing a Chantix Lawsuit
Plaintiffs in numerous Chantix lawsuits contend that Chantix caused them (or their loved one) to turn suicidal or have heart problems or other health issues. Chantix lawsuits have been filed alleging that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Chantix, is responsible for the adverse effects of its drug.
Depending on the state where you live, you may be able to file a Chantix lawsuit citing negligence on the part of Pfizer, or citing strict liability, a legal doctrine that holds manufacturers legally liable for the safety of their products, regardless of whether any negligent action takes place. In some states, special pharmaceutical liability statutes combine negligence, strict liability and other legal theories.
Wrongful death lawsuits involving Chantix suicides present another possible legal avenue. If you believe your loved one died of a heart attack or committed suicide as a result of taking Chantix, filing a wrongful death Chantix lawsuit may be an option. This type of lawsuit can be filed to seek compensation for expenses and losses such as medical bills, pain and suffering, lost opportunities and lost income.
Caring for the victim of a defective drug can be extremely costly, as can the aftermath of a death caused by a defective drug. To learn more about your legal options, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
In case of toxic reaction to any medication, you can contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222.