Tag Archives: pfizer pharmaseuticals

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.


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.


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