Tag Archives: chantix questions

US Judicial Panel May Seek Multidistrict Litigation for Mounting Chantix Lawsuits

Again, the stop smoking drug, Chantix, has made the news, and for a very sad reason.

The recent news story we are referring to is a pending lawsuit against Pfizer, Inc.

Parents of a Dallas Musician by the name of Carter Albrecht have filed the suit due to the death of their son who died while on the drug.

The report on CBS 11 stated the suit presses that Pfizer did not disclose the side effects and risks of taking Chantix, nor did they provide the adequate warning of the type of side effects that were known at the time Albrecht began ingesting the drug to quit his smoking habit.

Albrecht’s death occurred only one week after starting Chantix drug therapy. This was back in September 2007. Albrecht began to complain he was having very vivid dreams shortly after beginning the drug. Then, according to a Dallas Morning News report, Albrecht violently lashed out at his girlfriend the night of his death. She told others he was quite confused and terrified, and didn’t seem to know or recognize her, which was something that had never happened before.

Later that evening Albrecht showed up at a neighbors home and began banging on the back door violently, which evidently scared the neighbor. He called 911 and fired a warning shot from his rifle. Unfortunately, the shot accidentally hit Albrecht and killed him.

In the parents lawsuit they claim their son’s use of Chantix played a “direct and proximate” role in his death. One hope is that the attention of this lawsuit might prompt Pfizer to step up its public awareness of the risks associated with this approved drug.

Some of our site’s readers have reported they are on Chantix and doing okay (coping with the side effects). Others have said they understand the Chantix side effects and feel the risk is worth it. Still others have stopped taking the drug completely due to its effects.

At least those who have reportedly taken the drug who have commented at CiggyFree.com have been warned through reports they found on the internet disclosing Chantix may not be as safe they were led to believe. Hopefully, their doctors also stated the warning.

pic-pill-bottle

The net is an incredible resource and a person can research views on just about anything. It’s very sad that Carter Albrecht did not receive the proper warnings. Perhaps it would have made a difference in his fate.

Maybe he would have also taken seriously the warning of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol like he did on the night of his death. Pfizer’s attorneys will most likely use this as a strong issue in their defense.

The Albrecht family’s lawsuit is not the first against Pfizer. There are many. The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has a hearing scheduled at the end of September 2009 to view all the federal Chantix lawsuits with the intention to determine if they should be consolidated into one district.

At the beginning of September, Pfizer was hit hard with the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice. They were asked to pay a 2.3 Billion dollar settlement over the illegal promotion of the painkiller Bextra.

In summary, yes, smoking can kill you. The use and misuse of prescription drugs can also kill you.

We highly support seeking alternative approaches to quit smoking. There are proven herbal stop smoking aids and stop smoking support programs that help address the motivation to smoke. These may be far better choices. Many of the programs CiggyFree.com supports report between a 92 to 96 percent success rate, plus they have guarantees or your money back.

Alternative approaches just may improve the quality of your life versus leading you down a path of unknown fate. That’s our opinion.

References:

Chantix Questions Illuminate Hold of Cigarettes on Mind

The mentally ill consume 45% of the cigarettes smoked in America these days, the WSJ reports. A striking figure in its own right, the number takes on new significance amid reports of psychological troubles associated with Pfizer’s anti-smoking drug Chantix.

Nicotine increases the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward center — a powerfully addictive effect. And as reports have emerged of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in patients taking Chantix, Pfizer has pointed out that, even in the absence of drug treatment, quitting smoking can have a powerful effect on the mind.

But, the FDA suggested, taking Chantix — which binds to the same neural receptors as nicotine — may add to the psychological tumult, at least for some patients. And because the mentally ill were excluded from the drug’s pre-approval clinical trials, it’s hard to know where mental illness fits into the picture.

Chantix BoxStill, the benefits of quitting smoking are so great that some degree of risk should be tolerable in a drug that helps people quit. “If you have a history of depression, you need to be careful when you stop smoking that it doesn’t come back,” John Hughes, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and a Pfizer adviser, told the WSJ.

But for people who’ve failed to quit with a nicotine patch and are thinking about using Chantix, he wouldn’t avoid the drug over fears of mental problems: “The risk is so small under a physician’s care, and the benefit is so huge.”Bonus Smoke: One man’s strange Chantix trip landed in New York Magazine last week. “Maybe I should just go downstairs and leap in front of a tour bus,” the author thought at one point. “Or launch my head through the computer screen. All this seemed logical, but also weirdly funny, even at the time: I could see how crazy these impulses were, I could recognize them as suicidal clichés.”

Source: Jacob Goldstein

Talk (Cold) Turkey: Visit the WSJ’s forum on quitting smoking.

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It’s a Drag: Is it Time to Quit? – Take the Great American Smokeout Challenge

When you’re a smoker, especially in California, which boasts the second-lowest number of adult smokers in the country next to Utah, very few sweet voices greet you throughout your day.

Most people just want to get away from you.

There’s no smoking indoors in public places or outside in parks or playgrounds.

In some cities, like in Oakland, you can’t smoke in ATM lines or at bus stops. And in Belmont, smokers soon will not be allowed to smoke inside their own apartment or condominium.

So maybe there’s no time like the present to quit.

Stubbing That CiggyAnd if you do try, as thousands of Americans will Nov. 15 during the Great American Smokeout, you will hear one friendly voice on the other end of the line at 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887), the California Smokers’ Helpline.

If you’re lucky, you might reach Loraine, a former smoker whose mission is to help others quit. She sweetly asks her clients the tough questions, like how many cigarettes they smoke per day and how smoking makes them feel.

She then walks them through the ways in which they can break the habit, either cold turkey or by using nonsmoking aids.

“We want you to be as comfortable as possible when you do this,” she says, as she coaches a client into a nonsmoking plan. At the end of a 30-minute conversation, Loraine sends her client a certificate and promises to call on the quit date. A week or two after the quit date, Loraine will call again.

There is no magic bullet to quit smoking, no miracle cure that will take away cravings or erase smoking behavior, no matter what new drug comes out. “As Yoda would say, the magic bullet resides within you,” says Dr. Steven Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Despite an occasional “Star Wars” quote, Schroeder minces no words when he talks about the grasp the habit has on smokers.

“Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or crack cocaine,” he says. The good news is, the number of smokers in the United States is decreasing. For the first time, there are more former smokers than current smokers out there. Just 12 percent of California adults smoke, compared to about 20 percent of the American population as a whole.

Schroeder has been working with smokers for about 15 years and writes papers on the subject of quitting. He says first, smokers need to want to quit. They then need to find the right time to do it and set a quit date. Next, smokers need to bolster the reasons why they want to quit and figure out the temptation triggers and try to erase them.

Then, he says, smokers should decide which cessation aids are right for them.

There are a variety of such products on the market, from over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aids such as nicotine gum and the nicotine skin patch to prescription NRTs and non-nicotine prescription medications such as bupropion and the newer medication, Chantix. (which comes with some pretty severe side effects.)

The bad news is, none of these aids is 100 percent effective. In fact, none is 50 percent effective. Drug company Pfizer’s own studies on Chantix say it’s 44 percent successful, the highest of all. “We think it is the best drug so far,” says Dr. Kolawole Okuyemi of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who wrote a paper on the subject titled “Interventions to Facilitate Smoking Cessation” and studies multi-ethnic populations and their smoking habits.

Other drugs, including nicotine gum and the patch, have success rates of about 20 percent. About 2.5 to 5 percent of smokers are successful at quitting without any aids.

Drugs act differently on people of different races, depending on the type of cigarette used, such as mentholated versus non-mentholated, Okuyemi says, so it is not easy to predict what will work on whom.

It takes a combination of products and counseling to really help people quit, says Dr. Jodi Prochaska, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

While alternative therapies are sometimes touted as a cure to help people quit, Prochaska says there is no good evidence that acupuncture helps smokers quit. There is some evidence that stop smoking hypnosis can be helpful.

Kaiser Permanente of Northern California’s patients smoke at a rate of about 9 percent, compared to 12 percent of the general California population. This is due, in part, to the nonprofit health care provider’s proactive stance, says Jeanne Reisman, chief of health education for Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center and anti-tobacco champion.

Kaiser physicians identify smokers during visits and encourage them to quit. The company offers smoking cessation classes to its patients and offers discounts on stop-smoking aids. “There are a lot of messages that smokers receive about being asked whether they smoke and about being advised to quit,” Reisman says.

Say you’ve tried to quit smoking before, and it just hasn’t stuck. Reisman and other experts we interviewed say most people fail the first time, but the likelihood of being successful gets higher after several tries.

Quitting smoking, they say, is the best single thing anyone can do for his or her health. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, and can harm others who are exposed to the smoke.

The first step is up to you.

Reach Laura Casey at 925-952-2697 or lcasey@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Source: Laura Casey, Contra Costa Times