Chantix, a controversial smoking cessation drug already associated with various safety concerns, is now linked to a significantly increased risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events. Researchers analyzing data from 14 previous Chantix studies found that Chantix users were substantially more likely to suffer heart problems than those taking a placebo to quit smoking. The FDA has already raised serious concerns about the drug, and the study’s co-authors are urging regulators to consider a complete Chantix recall in light of the latest drug safety data. Drug recall attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm continue to review Chantix lawsuits filed on behalf of injured patients who have died or suffered serious injuries caused by the dangerous drug.
The new Chantix research was released in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on July 4, 2011. Clinical trials involving more than 8,200 healthy participants revealed that the risk of heart attack, stroke, and similar cardiovascular events was 72 percent higher among Chantix users. The magnitude of risk for a serious heart event is surprising, because Chantix appears to be causing the very problem it is intended to prevent. Smoking also increases the risk for heart disease, and the benefits of the popular anti-smoking drug do not seem to outweigh the risks. Researchers estimate that just one of every 10 Chantix users actually quit smoking for more than a year.
Previous studies found that Chantix raises the risk of heart attack among those with a history of heart disease, and as such the FDA recently updated the drug’s warning label to reflect the increased risk. But the latest study is significant because it reveals a serious risk of heart problems for otherwise healthy people. This is one of the primary reasons the study’s authors are calling for removal of the drug.
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Cardiovascular risk is only one of the side effects attributed to the use of Chantix. The drug has also been linked to severe mental health problems, leading to more than 1,500 drug injury lawsuits in Illinois and around the nation. According to USA Today, many smokers and smokeless tobacco users who took Chantix to quit smoking reportedly experienced depression, suicidal thoughts and unusually aggressive behavior. In 2009, the FDA gave the drug a black box warning, the most restrictive type, due to possible psychiatric side effects. The agency also ordered Pfizer to conduct a post-marketing study to further evaluate the safety risks. Results from the final report are scheduled to be released in 2017.
In addition to cardiovascular and psychiatric problems, irregular heartbeats, seizures, and blackouts have also been reported to the FDA since Chantix was approved five years ago. It is our opinion that these adverse events suggest that Chantix is too dangerous to use, especially given its limited effectiveness as an anti-smoking drug. As long as Chantix remains on the market, patients will continue to experience serious injuries and even death.
There is evidence that Pfizer knew of the cardiovascular risk as early as 2006, but failed to adequately warn consumers. Even healthy Chantix users who turn to the drug to help them quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco may experience life-threatening health problems. Our defective drug attorneys advocate other safer anti-smoking alternatives that do not pose such a great risk of harm.