Category Archives: Stop Smoking Aids

Stop smoking aids and programs

The Easy Quit System: Kick Your Smoking Habit for Good

There are so many methods for quitting smoking that the advertisers claim will work.

There’s the patch, the pills, the gums, the smokeless cigarettes, and the list goes on.

But if you’ve tried all of those and are still a smoker you may wonder what’s left, is there anything?

Tapping into Powerful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Quit Smoking

Crushing the PackageThere are more options to quit smoking than the list above.

If you’ve tried and failed with other methods maybe it’s time to get to the root of the problem with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.

CBT started in the 1960’s and is a therapy that enables the client to discover incorrect thoughts and perceptions that may be causing undesirable behaviors, such as smoking.

The process that causes behaviors starts with the stimuli, is interpreted with the thought and results in an emotion which leads to a behavior. When you change the middle step of the thought, the resulting emotion and hence behavior automatically change.

The Easy Quit System utilizes CBT to help smokers quit once and for all.

Peter Howell creator of the system promises to help you stop smoking by ending your desire to smoke. This program doesn’t just address the physical addiction of smoking it goes straight to the reasons you smoke in the first place.

Learn more about > The Easy Quit Stop Smoking System

Say Goodbye to Smoking Misconceptions that Keep You Hooked

Easy Quit System TestimonialIn the Easy Quit System Howell explains misconceptions about smoking including its addictiveness, the mistaken belief it’s a ‘habit’, and the number one reason why smokers never quit and how to overcome it.

In 30 chapters and less than 100 pages Howell uses CBT to change the way the reader thinks about smoking and why they do it. Howell tells you exactly how to quit smoking in this book by helping you to change your thoughts with facts.

If you aren’t satisfied with his program you have eight weeks to get a full refund of your money ($47).

This is a downloadable book (estimated 5 minutes) and can be read in its entirety in as little as three hours.

96% Reported Success Rate and a Money Back Guarantee

There are many clients who have responded with success stories from using this program when all other programs failed.

The success rate is stated by Howell as being 96% when using The Easy Quit System.

Many users of the program have reported quitting for good in as little as one weeks time without cravings or weight gain so common with other programs.

To learn more, visit  > The Easy Quit System

Herbal Stop Smoking Aid – Using Homeopathic Medicines to Quit Smoking

We all know the dangers of smoking, even the dangers associated with second smoke are well documented.

With this alarming information constantly etched into the mind why then, do smokers continue to smoke?

And even more important, is there a safe, sure fire way for them to quit?

Coming into recent attention are the use of homeopathic medicines (herbs) to ease the difficult withdrawal symptoms that keep many smokers from trying to stop and drives many smokers who are attempting quitting back to smoking.

Click to check out > Smoke Deter Natural Stop Smoking Aid

In the Face of Withdrawal Symptoms Many Smokers Pick Up Again

The withdrawal symptoms associated with ending this powerful addiction are headache, nausea, nervousness and irritability, food cravings, cough, shortness of breath, aches and pains, cold sweats, and more.

No wonder the smoker is reluctant to try to stop. But the trade off for not quitting is a continued spiral of adverse health effects that are far worse than the temporary and uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal.

Discovering the Theory of Homeopathic Medicine

For years homeopathic doctors have used certain herbs to treat these uncomfortable symptoms separately with success.

Derived from the Greek words “homoios” meaning similar and “pathos” meaning disease or suffering, homeopathic medicine employs the use of plants, minerals, and animals to illicit the same symptoms the ‘sick’ person is experiencing.

Although this may sound strange it is logical and has been proven over centuries to work.

The body’s symptoms caused from the sudden change are the body trying to restore itself to homeostasis or balance. Therefore, encouraging and even evoking those symptoms enables the body to find that balance and heal.

Common Homeopathic Medicines and Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the common homeopathic medicines used to treat the symptoms associated with withdrawal from nicotine addiction are:

  • Black Spruce
  • Monkshood
  • Oates
  • Poison Nut

These traditional homeopathic medicines treat not only the physical symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and food cravings but also the emotional and mental symptoms of withdrawal like nervousness and irritability too.

Smoke Deter Homeopathic Quit Smoking ProductThe benefit of using a natural, homeopathic aid to ease withdrawal symptoms instead of common over the counter and prescription aides is that the OTC treatments continue to supply the body with dangerous, addictive nicotine. The homeopathic medicines allow the smoker to successfully work through the period of withdrawal until they have ceased without the continued assault of toxic elements.

It is important to understand that if you choose the patch, gum, or other nicotine products you’re only extending the withdrawal period from nicotine.

Homeopathic medicines let you face the withdrawal symptoms head on and win!

Smoke Deter Battles Withdrawal Symptoms with Homeopathic Medicines

There is a liquid spray, “Smoke Deter” that utilizes the homeopathic medicines mentioned earlier in one product to ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking and enable the smoker to quit for good.

This product comes in a spray that is used in the mouth that delivers the all natural medicines quickly and safely by sublingual application.

The medicines are absorbed by the blood vessels under the tongue and quickly delivered to the body to stop the symptoms.

Smoke Deter uses Monkshood, Oat, Ignatia Amara, and Poison Nut to aid with the mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms like stress, nervousness, mental hysteria, and the physical symptoms induced by stress.

It also contains Black Spruce, Monkshood, Arsenicum Iodatum, Lung (Pulmo-porcine,) Plantago Major, Quibracho, Stricta Pulomaria (Lung Wort), and Tabacum to treat the physical symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, cravings, aches and pains, headaches, cough and cold like symptoms, and lung and bronchial inflammation.

Smoke Deter has been proven to work by its many users whose testimonials give credence to this all natural products ability to help the smoker battling to quit to win the battle over withdrawal symptoms and finally become a non-smoker.

You can easily learn more about this unique product which is getting excellent reviews.

Click to check out > Smoke Deter Natural Stop Smoking Aid

Smoke Deter Works

For those of you who have used this program, please share your comments on how the Smoke Deter Homeopathic Stop Smoking Aid helped you.

Kick Your Smoking Habit in 38 Minutes and 13 Seconds

Quit Smoking Today has quite a promising guarantee.

This stop smoking program was created to help smokers stop now by Rob Mellor.

In his program Mellor reports the smoker can kick the habit in just 38 minutes and 13 seconds, in fact he guarantees it.

Mellor’s philosophy is based on the theory that the number one reason people smoke is to attempt to relieve stress.

He contends that smoking is only an illusion at stress relief and with real stress relief tools in place the smoker will no longer turn to cigarettes to relieve stresses. This illusion is deep seeded in the unconscious of the smoker and with the proper tools can be changed.

Discover the Number One Reason People Smoke

For instance, people become stressed when they are under pressure to reach a set deadline whether it is at work or in a personal situation.

A deadline approaches, the work is not completed and stress builds. So the smoker heads outside for a smoke to relieve the stress.

Mellor reminds the smoker that in doing this the work is still not completed, the deadline continues to loom, and the stress is still there.

The basis of this is that smoking doesn’t relieve stress. Learning how to reduce and effectively deal with stress is the solution that will stop smokers from picking up that deadly cancer stick.

This program guarantees it can overcome this habit.

Stop the Cravings, Don’t Rely on Willpower

In his program, Quit Smoking Today, Mellor promises that in 40 minutes you’ll gain the tools to deal appropriately with stress so you choose not to smoke. He says the smoker who tries to quit using his program will not experience cravings, or need to spend money on nicotine replacement therapies or other drugs.

He also promises his prospects that they won’t have anxiety, weight gain, suffer the sense of loss, need to use will power, or even have to set a quit date.

Mellor knows this program will work because he draws on his NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) experience.

Change Your Thinking to Change Your Life

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a type of psychotherapy that enables people to change their thinking to change their lives.

Thoughts that become part of our unconscious thinking from years ago still play into our decision making.

Many of these beliefs are incorrect, even dangerous for us and desperately need to be ‘reprogrammed.’ Mellor puts on the 40 minute recordings what he’s used with thousands of smokers to help them quit – for good.

Quit Smoking Today – Tested on 5,000 Smokers

pic-stop-nowHe’s tested this recording on over 5,000 smokers who wanted to quit.

You may not believe what you are about to read!

The quit results were a remarkable 99.7% stop smoking success rate for the period of one month, and 97.2% success rate in a six month period.

Along with the recording (which is backed by a 100% money back guarantee) you get five free bonuses:

  1. Quit smoking eBook
  2. Recorded stop smoking therapy session
  3. Stress relieving audio program
  4. Set of weight loss and health tips
  5. 97 Ways to Get Fit and Stay Fit.

The Quit Smoking Today program (plus 5 bonuses) is sold for $47.

Money back guarantee is for 60 days!

This quit smoking program really makes sense. Learn more if you’re a smoker and want to quit you can discover new ways to cope with stress rather than replace a habit with more nicotine (patches or gum) and continue to crave a cigarette.

Turn learn more or order, click  > Quit Smoking Today!

May 31 Celebrate World No Tobacco Day

In 1987 World No Tobacco Day was created by WHO, the World Health Organization.

With a focus on the negative health effects of tobacco smoking, the aim of May 31st is to reduce tobacco deaths each year.

Right now that number stands at about five million yearly. That number is expected to double within the next ten years which is pretty scary.

On this date WHO provides awards to individuals and organizations who have supported the cause of reducing tobacco use in exceptional ways.

We are looking forward to see to whom this year’s awards are given for their outstanding work to bring greater awareness to the world.

Ban on Tobacco Advertising

Just last year, WHO moved to lobby for a ban on tobacco advertising because of the obvious link between ads aimed to get young people to start smoking and ads that attempt to make smoking look attractive, appealing, or whatever motivator they can conjure up to market the poisons they package.

The Great American Smokeout is another world event, which is recognized the Third Thursday in November. Just in time for the holiday season. This is a gift that can keep on giving for it can save a life if a smoker stops in time.

This Years World No Tobacco Day Theme – Tobacco Health Warnings

pic-crushing-ciggysThis year the celebration is centered around warning people around the globe about the dangers of tobacco and cigarette use.

Attention is drawn to the practices that big tobacco companies partake to keep the smoking epidemic growing each year even though every year thousands of lives are lost due to the dangerous effects of smoking.

Some deaths are also due to second hand smoke, and links have been made to smoking during pregnancy and the negative effects it has on the fetus and baby.

Pass the Word – No Smoking!

On May 31st, take the lead and tell everyone you know to pass the word. One voice at a time may make the difference in someone’s life.

Watch this short video to see what the effects in just one year from the accumulation of tar in cigarettes.

 

Herbal Stop Smoking Aid that Helps with Nicotine Withdrawl and Cravings

One of the challenges when quitting smoking is getting through the few days of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Luckily the symptoms of withdrawal do not last as long as the psychological habits that some people develop over the years.

One stop smoking product that might help when either type of craving is NicoDrops©™.

As a natural smoking cessation aid it will also help smokers curb the need to smoke when smoking is not an option.

Herbal stop smoking products are gaining in popularity because they are a natural way to control the habit with no attached side effects. People are weary of many of the quit smoking medication side effects for fear of adding even more toxins to the body, or enduring other health related problems.

Reduce the Desire to Smoke

pic-nicodrops-herbalWhen the nicotine craving or desire to smoke kicks in just pop a NicoDrops herbal lozenge into your mouth and you can actually sense the need to smoke dissipate.

Holistic approaches for stopping a cigarette habit can be very effective for most smokers.

The all natural dietary substances and organic herbal ingredients in this product are well researched by experienced herbalists and experts in the field of nicotine addiction.

Each lozenge meets the USDA organic certification and this product was also clinically tested at Brown University Medical School.

NicoDrops Review

Recently we had a comment submitted to CiggyFree.com seeking support for stopping smoking. NicoDrops had contacted us about their product so we asked them to forward a sample to our site’s viewer with the hopes we could help her and also obtain an honest review. After a few weeks time here is what we learned:

“NicoDrops work great at calming my nerves. Every smoker knows when a craving hits you start feeling very anxiety ridden and your will power either breaks or succeeds. I like NicoDrops because they are all organic and yet they even taste good. The most important part is that they actually work!

I am taking them every time I get a craving. I notice that they not only calm me down, they also put me in a better mood. Before I quit smoking I was dreading going through the roller coaster of emotions that ensue the first couple of weeks. I think that NicoDrops are even helping me sleep better at night. This is a big plus and I know this may probably sound weird, but I have lost a little bit of weight as well.

I think this might be because I’m keeping my mouth occupied instead of over eating. This is a great product and I would recommend NicoDrops to anyone who wants to quit smoking and needs some help.” — Nichole Alexander

The first week you pop a lozenge in your mouth every two hours. The second week every three and the third week every four hours. By the fourth week you only take when a craving hits or if you are in the company of smokers and need a little support.

Controlling your smoking is way less expensive than your habit, so don’t let the small temporary cost keep you from trying this proven herbal smoking remedy.

Herbal Smoking Remedy Ingredients

Three of the main ingredients in NicoDrops are organic herbal plant extracts:

  1. Ginseng Root – Dopamine is what makes people feel good after smoking and is part of what leads to the tobacco addiction process. Studies have shown that Ginseng may prevent the nicotine-induced release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  2. Valerian – This herb is a natural relaxant and can help with insomnia and other symptoms of withdrawl that effect sleeping habits.
  3. St. John’s Wort – This herb is also known to treat depression symptoms, and may also help reduce smoking urges. There are some cautions on using this herb if you are pregnant or nursing.

Another very important to mention, NicoDrops contains absolutely no nicotine. So many quit cigarette products on the market do. With the help and commitment of companies with stop smoking aids like this maybe we will eventually have an anti-tobacco world where we can all breath air free of tobacco’s contaminants.

If you would like to learn more, visit > NicoDrops.com

Raising the Smoking Age, Black Market Cigs & 4 Billion for Health Care

This week the news reported several tobacco related stories.

As the senate passes a bill to protect young Americans from the effects and dangers of smoking, smokers are red hot over the recent tax hikes and smoker’s helplines are getting busier by the day.

Also, Big Tobacco is feeling a little pain this week after paying their annual settlements.

Associated Press Reports on Bill SB 1049

The house will soon review a smoking age bill the Senate voted on and passed on April 15th to raise the smoking age from eighteen to nineteen years old.

The goal of this bill is to reduce the number of youth smokers by keeping tobacco products away from high school students.

The Senate vote was twenty-five for, and five against. In the same story it was reported that in the State of Texas alone roughly one-fourth of the high school students smoked cigarettes in 2006.

If this bill passes, the tobacco supply aimed at eighteen year old smokers would not be available legally.

Big Tobacco Yearly Annual Settlements

Also in the news, Philip Morris USA made its annual tobacco payment of four billion dollars as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement which is paid to reimburse states for smoking-related health care costs.

In total, Big Tobacco agreed to make about $206 billion in annual payments over more than two decades.

However, not all states are using the funds as specified.  The American Cancer Society in New England reported that only a small percentage of funds targeted for tobacco prevention programs were allocated. This lack of responsibility is putting children and youth at risk for taking up the nasty tobacco habit.

Red Hot Over Cig Tax Creates Busy Helplines

The tobacco tax in Arizona was only thirty-nine cents a pack a few weeks ago.

With the new government tax add on of a little over a dollar, the Arizona Tax Revenue department is worried about their share of the taxes being undercut due to smokers seeking alternative ways to buy their smokes.

With cigarettes at just under seven dollars a carton in Mexico, black market tobacco products may soon be infiltrating the area along with the resale of cigs purchased at the Indian reservations.

At the same time, calls to the Arizona stop smoking help line are up, as reported by the Tuscon Citizen news.

The Arizona Smoker’s Helpline is web based and offers a test for smokers. It is designed to provide a score on each of six factors that describe individual smoking behaviors. They understand that people phase in and out of wanting to quit and they know how to support smokers in taking the next step to really quit for good.

First learn why you smoke. Is it …

  1. Stimulation – If you smoke for stimulation, try a brisk walk, dance around the room, change your state in another way.
  2. Handling – If you like the way a cigarette feels then try other things to keep your hands busy. Take up a hobby
  3. Increasing Sensation of Pleasure –  Create some new activities in your life that are stimulating and enjoyable without being destructive.
  4. Reducing Negative Feelings – If smoking is a crutch for coping with emotions there are many great programs designed to bring emotional highs and lows into balance.
  5. Cravings or Psychological Addiction – Try products like NicoDrops, nicotine gum or patches to remove your focus on cigarettes while incorporating hobbies and other activities to divert your attention.
  6. The Habit – Begin noticing every cigarette you smoke and ask yourself if you really want it.

Get Free of CigarettesThese six factors are more extensively explained at the Arizona Smoker’s Helpline and offer a way for becoming more conscious about your reasons for smoking. If you are just thinking about quitting their free web-based smoker’s helpline is really worth checking out.

Once you have a better understanding of why you light up, you may be more inclined to know what steps to take to stop your nasty tobacco habit.

Hypnotherapy Makes Quitting Smoking Possible

The Great American Smokeout is scheduled for the third Thursday in November, which motivates me to share thoughts and observations about smoking cessation.

Over the years, I have helped many people to quit smoking using hypnotherapy as a valuable tool.

By the same token, there are people who would not quit, no matter what, the incorrigible or people who think they are so powerless.

After all, many medical professionals and the Surgeon General have blasted away that nicotine addiction is harder to overcome than heroin or cocaine. This probably reinforces what some people want to hear: “I would quit, but it is too hard.”

I will quote observations from medical people and then will share my personal observations with you.

Dr. Raul Rodriguez of Rivercrest Hospital, a psychiatrist and addictionologist, shared that nicotine addiction is a function of how many years spent smoking and the mental attitude of the person.

When asked whether or not smokers wanting to quit had to be admitted for detox, he denied the need, because nicotine addiction was not as severe, but he likes the patch, an anti-depressant or gum to help with the process of smoking cessation.

My esteemed colleague of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Dr. Dabney Ewin, a clinical professor of psychiatry and surgery at Tulane Medical School and Louisiana State University Medical School, shared his viewpoints with me: “The word addiction has lost its meaning in the scientific community and it no longer refers to a bodily need for a particular chemical because it indiscriminately describes strong emotional desires such as addicted to chocolate, sports, computers, foreign oil.

“People who think of themselves as addicts have adopted a fixed idea that they are helpless to overcome the problem. Another of their fixed ideas is that smoking had/has social value as in being cool. Removing this fixed idea causes anxiety, because people believe they are violating this fixed idea. An interesting study of 12,000 smokers by Tindle (et al 2006) noted that people who smoke low nicotine cigarettes are more than 50 percent less likely to quit smoking than those who smoke regular cigarettes. That finding is incompatible with chemical addiction”

Ewin states, though, that next to adrenalin, nicotine is the strongest known stimulant drug, which leads me to my own personal observation as a mental health clinician.

My patients tell me that smoking relaxes them. Not so. What does relax them is the act of taking time out, – leaving the work setting temporarily for a smoke outside and socializing with fellow employees, sitting in the backyard watching the deer go by, enjoying a comfortable chair and watch TV. This is relaxing.

Unfortunately, these relaxing acts are paired with a cigarette and the cigarette gets the credit for relaxation.

I believe smoking is a strong psychological habit because people do it under mostly the same circumstances such as during their morning rituals, their morning cup of coffee, reading the paper, getting in the car, coming home from work to “relax,” when having to make an unpleasant phone call and other scenarios, where a “friend” is needed.

Often people do not even realize they are smoking. They light up on autopilot, often leaving the cigarette to burn itself out. Smokers can spend hours on an airplane without chemical dependency consequences. They may be cranky because they do not like to be told what they can or cannot do.

Change is difficult because smokers are afraid to quit, afraid that they may be miserable, hard to live with. Alcoholics increase dosage for the same effect, while smokers can cut down. If nicotine were to be so addictive, one would conclude that the patch, prescription medication and gum would work to help people quit smoking.

Many people came to see me because the above did not work for them and they confessed that they still smoked while on the patch leading to dangerous nicotine overload. I am sure it can help some people to quit, but my opinion is that people swallow something, stick on something or chew something, sit back and wait for something to happen in a passive manner.

I believe, and my past experience has shown, that this habit needs to be treated cognitively (the way people think about smoking), behaviorally (what people do) and emotionally (how people cope with their feelings of stress, anxiety, etc.)

Even so called incorrigible smokers with a three-pack-per-day habit have successfully quit with psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. People I have seen years ago, call and tell me so.

Not everyone quit successfully and they are not going to do that. Case in point the patient who had his voice box removed or the lung cancer patient, still smoking.

Stop Smoking Sign Therefore, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot quit. If it takes medication to make it easier for you to succeed along with proper therapy, this is your rightful choice. You will save money, be healthier, live longer and feel so proud of yourselves.

Evi Shaw is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in solo private practice. Evishaw@verizon.net.  San Angelo Standard Times.

Pick Up a Free Quit Smoking Meter

Ciggyfree Favorite Quit Smoking Meters!

A helpful stop smoking aid can be found at a variety of locations.

Quit Smoking meters help you gauge your habit and provide encouragement to face the facts.

The list is a combination of tools for PC’s and Macs.

Check them out:

Let us know your experience working with the meters and which your find the most helpful.

ClockWith new smoking taxes coming, the cost of smoking is sure to increase so the smoking cost calculator can be handy to estimate what your habit will cost in the days to come.

We hope this tool provides greater motivation to quit smoking now! Also the QuitMeter provides great motivation because you can actually determine how much you are saving!

Smoking Ban “Saved 75,000 Lives” – People Register for Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Banning  smoking in bars and restaurants has saved the lives of more than 75,000 Kiwis, the Health Ministry says.

Since the introduction of the legislation in December 2004, there are now 150,000 fewer smokers – bringing the total smoking population down to less than 20 per cent.

Ministry national director of tobacco control Ashley Bloomfield said half of the smokers who had quit in the past three-and-a-half years would have died as a result of their smoking.

“Those smokers who die from a smoking-related illness lose of average 15 years of life compared to non-smokers,” said Dr Bloomfield.

But Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson is disputing that where there is smoke there is fire – saying most New Zealanders would look at the statistics and think: “Really?”

Mr Robertson, whose organisation represents the bar industry, said the 75,000 figure had “little credibility” and it was hard to establish such outcomes from “very small surveys”.

He said the industry had worked hard to make the new rules work.

Nicotine Replacement TherapyDr Bloomfield said cigarette consumption had halved in the past 18 years, to around 1000 cigarettes per adult each year, down from a high of around 2000 cigarettes in 1990.The Health Ministry’s focus was now on nicotine replacement therapy products. All medical practitioners now have prescribing rights, including GPs, midwives, dentists and optometrists.

The national budget for subsidising nicotine replacement therapy for the 2007-08 year was $4.5million, an increase from $2.5million the year before.

“Evidence has shown that using nicotine replacement therapy can double a smoker’s chance of quitting long term, regardless of the type of support they are receiving,” Dr Bloomfield said.

Smokers can register for Quit Cards which enable them to obtain an eight-week supply of nicotine patches and/or gum from their local pharmacy for a subsidised cost of between $10 and $20.

The programme will be expanded to include a nicotine lozenge later this year.

Quitline spokesman Robert Brewer said between 32-35,000 people register for nicotine replacement therapy every year.

When the ban on smoking in bars took effect in December 2004, calls to the Quitline doubled.

“December is usually our lightest month because of Christmas,” he said.

Source: By GREER McDONALD – The Dominion Post

Anti-Smoking Drug Chantix Tied to Serious Mental Illness

Melinda and Kenny Peterson wanted to kick their two-pack-a-day smoking habit.

In early January, the Green Bay couple started taking three-month prescriptions of Chantix, a new anti-smoking pill. About six weeks later, they weren’t smoking at all.

But what the Petersons didn’t know was that as they were weaning themselves off cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert.

Chantix Causes Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

Some patients taking the powerful drug had experienced serious neuropsychiatric symptoms. And Pfizer, the maker of Chantix, had recently added a warning about these symptoms in a more prominent position in the drug’s information packet, at the FDA’s urging.

The alert was issued in early February. But the Petersons didn’t know about it until the end of March, when a friend who was a pharmacist filled them in.  By then, it was too late. About a week earlier, Kenny Peterson had spiraled into a deep depression. He told his wife he wanted to kill himself. His family checked him into a hospital psychiatric ward four days before Easter. Chantix’s safety is now under fire, as similar stories of patients with suicidal thoughts, depression and aggressive behavior surface. The FDA received reports of 37 suicides and 491 cases in which people had suicidal thoughts. The FDA also said it “appears increasingly likely that there is an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms.” About 5 million people use the drug.

“I think the jury is still out on what’s going on here,” said Carlyle Chan, a professor in the psychiatric department at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Be aware that there are some concerns about (Chantix). It needs to be watched closely.”

A Pfizer spokeswoman said the company was rolling out Chantix globally but halted advertising the drug to consumers in February. The FDA approved the drug in May 2006.

The company maintained that the serious neuropsychiatric symptoms are rare, but physicians and patients should be on the lookout for them. Pfizer said a causal relationship between the drug and these symptoms has not been determined.

“The real problem out there right now is smoking,” Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Joe Feczko said at a health investor conference in March.

Chantix can help shrink the global population of 1.3 billion smokers, he said, thus addressing health problems such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. In 2007, Chantix brought in $883 million in revenue.

Chantix, known generically as varenicline, works by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain. When people smoke, nicotine attaches to receptors and the brain releases the chemical dopamine, which gives pleasure. Chantix activates the receptors and blocks nicotine from attaching to them.

Before You take Chantix Be WarnedThe drug now includes a mention of possible serious neuropsychiatric symptoms in a warning section of the printed information that accompanies each prescription and is folded inside the packaging. Previously, the information was in a less prominent place in a section of the drug’s literature in which “adverse events” were reported. But there is no requirement to put the warning on the actual package because the FDA hasn’t mandated it.

None of this is comforting to Melinda Peterson, who believes that Chantix cost her family too much.

In the psychiatric ward, Kenny Peterson was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He’s out of the hospital now but can’t work, and his doctors said they wouldn’t know when he would be able to work.

“He is completely mentally ill right now,” Melinda Peterson said. “My belief is that the drug caused him to go into a manic episode. He has paranoia. He has delusions.”

Chan said it was unclear whether Chantix actually caused depression and suicidal thoughts or whether Chantix exacerbated the symptoms of people who already have some sort of depressive behavior.

The FDA reported that it has seen both types of situations – some in which patients had no history of depression, and cases in which depression previously was an issue.

Source: Ellen Gabler,  journalsentinel.com