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Can Chantix Help You Quit Smoking? Part 2

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Chantix is supposed to be taken twice a day for a total of 12 weeks. The FDA has recommended that for those who quit smoking during the first 12 weeks, a second round of 12-week therapy to increase the chance of the individuals staying off cigarettes is OK.

However, before one jumps on the bandwagon and develops Chantix mania, one should know more about the drug. Closer evaluation of the results show that only 50 percent of individuals stayed off cigarettes after a full 12-week course of therapy, and less than 25 percent were off cigarettes after one year. Further, in some studies, research was done with the support of Pfizer and some consultants were paid by the same company to undertake the study. What this means is that the data on Chantix appear dubious and should be viewed with a grain of salt.

Chantix is only available with a prescription and it is not cheap. A month’s supply is about $170-$200 and one has to take Chantix for 3 months without any guarantee that it will work.
FDA Advisory

Last month, the FDA approved safety-labeling modifications for varenicline tartrate tablets (Chantix, Pfizer, Inc) that include a black-box warning regarding the risk for severe neuropsychiatric symptoms. The possible neuropsychiatric problems that can occur include depression, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, hostility, agitation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide.

A number of events have already occurred in individuals with and without preexisting psychiatric disease. Most of the reported neuropsychiatric events occurred during treatment, but a few also have developed after withdrawal of varenicline therapy.

The FDA also cautions that motor vehicle crashes, near-miss accidents, and other unintentional injuries have occurred in individuals taking varenicline. In some cases, individuals have reported lethargy, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or difficulty concentrating, potentially resulting in injury.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

The best way to quit smoking is cold turkey. Nothing else works that great, including nicoderm. Thanks for the comment.


August 29, 2009 - 11:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

Excellent points about the trustworthiness of industry controlled research, and with Pfizer and varenicline the greatest study control we've yet seen. We know that varenicline is causing a greater number of serious adverse events than any quitting product in history and worldwide it is being blamed for hundreds of deaths. The question that all of us should be focusing upon is, is it worth it? What is the risk vs. benefit analyis look like? Sadly, in the only head to head competition between varenicline and the nicotine patch Pfizer's consultants were compelled to admit that there was no statistical difference between varenicline and nicotine patch quitters in the percentage of quitters who were actually quit at both 6 months and 1 year. But don't take my word for it. Read the full-text study yourself. It's free and available at the following link: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=18263663 You'll find that Pfizer's consultants buried these critical long term findings under "Efficacy" and the heading "7-day point prevalence of abstinence"

John R. Polito
Nicotine Cessation Educator

August 21, 2009 - 7:57am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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