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Chantix Suicide Lawsuits Mount Against Pfizer

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits
  • 59 Comments

Three new Chantix lawsuits were filed last week in New York state court against Pfizer, Inc., the manufacturer of the popular smoking cessation drug. The cases were filed on behalf of individuals who claim that side effects of Chantix caused users to commit or attempt suicide, adding to the mounting number of similar suits filed against the drug maker in both state and federal courts.

Chantix (varenicline) was approved by the FDA in 2006 as a prescription treatment to help people quit smoking. The drug works by blocking receptors in the brain that are commonly stimulated by nicotine, reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes. However, shortly after Chantix was introduced, adverse event reports linked the drug to an increased risk of severe psychological side effects, such as depression, suicidal thoughts and other abnormal behavior.

The first known Chantix suicide lawsuit was filed in July 2008 in federal court in Indiana, by the widow of a man with no history of mental illness who committed suicide a few months after stating the medication. Since that time dozens of other cases have been filed in other courts throughout the country.

In October 2009, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all federal lawsuits over Chantix in the Northern District of Alabama. At that time, there were 34 different Chantix suits pending in 16 different federal district courts. Since then, another 14 complaints have been transferred into the MDL, or multidistrict litigation, as tag-along actions.

The two recent New York state court Chantix lawsuit complaints were filed last week in the Supreme Court in Manhattan. They were brought on behalf of two plaintiffs who allegedly attempted suicide and one woman who killed herself while using the drug. According to the complaints, Pfizer intentionally, recklessly and negligently concealed or misrepresented the Chantix health risks.

Similar allegations are seen throughout all of the suicide lawsuits over Chantix, claiming that Pfizer failed to adequately research their medication or adequately warn doctors and patients about the potential psychological Chantix effects.

During clinical trials performed before the drug was introduced, individuals with a psychiatric history or current psychiatric symptoms were excluded from the studies. As a result, Chantix problems were not evaluated among people with common conditions like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and insufficient warnings were placed on the drug.

Pfizer has defended its popular smoking cessation drug, saying that they intend to vigorously defend against the lawsuits. In a statement released last week, Pfizer officials said that they have clearly communicated the risks of Chantix side effects.

Last year, the FDA required that a new Chantix black box warning be placed prominently on the label to warn users about the potentially life-threatening side effects, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication.

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59 comments

  1. Matt Reply

    my roommate was on this as a anti-depressant, did not work for her.

  2. Wally Reply

    Took Chantix for 1 month and ended up in the hospital with blood sugar over 900. Was fine before I took the drug now less than a month after taking it I’m a diabetic??

  3. Linda Reply

    Until I saw something on the news about Chantix having several FDA issues mounting, I didn’t even KNOW or associate what happened to me TO the time I took Chantix – so much was going on at the time and I was soo confused (I still am rather confused about much of what happened within the months I took Chantix and for about a year after) that I never even made the possible connection until now.
    When I was a teen I was diagnosed with an impulse control disorder – a girl’s version of ADD at the time. I had been managing for years without issues; I had a mild history of drug addiction (later considered to be self medicating for undiagnosed ADD) but I had been clean for over 11 years without a problem and was managing my life, my business and my finances VERY well. Never a bounced check, some financial poor decisions typical for someone self taught about finances but NOTHING to write home about.
    I was on Chantix for 3 months – nausea, bad dreams, depression, all the typical symptoms – I finally gave up Chantix because of the side effects and I still smoke – I have been smoking since age 7. During the time I was on it I began having very ‘unreal’ episodes. Writing checks on our bank account that I could have SWORE had enough in it. Compulsive aggressive behavior. Ridiculous gambling bouts when I had never been a heavy gambler in my life. Episodes where I would black out and not even know or recall anything I did for DAYS.
    Thinking this was related to childhood trauma (I have since been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD with possible Bi-polar disorder) I have been treating this as PTSD and ADD since, as have my doctors. But some extremely abnormal behavior marked that whole period and for about 9 months to a year afterwards. It drove us into bankruptcy, caused MUCH stress in my life and our lives (mine and my husband’s) have not recovered. I still am unable to truly focus on anything (when before I could multi-task like no one else), I am unable to handle finances (when before I could juggle 30 accounts without blinking an eye) and I still go through suicidal bouts of depression.
    PLEASE – do NOT take this if you were ever diagnosed with ANY type of disorder as a child!!!

  4. Donna Reply

    I started Chantix in November 08, on the 7th day I started having seizures. I have never had a seizure in my life until I took Chantix. My seizures have progressed from 1-2 a day to up to 10 times in a day and I was recently hospitalized in ICU (which hasn’t been the first time since 08). The doctors’ state that I will more than likely have them for the rest of my life and that Chantix is probably the cause. I have lost my job because of seizures. I have been ordered by physicians not to drive and my husband can’t leave me by myself. The seizures have seriously affected my life to where I can’t function normally or without assistance. Since my last hospital stay, I believe that I have also had a stroke after a major seizure. I am on my third medication, which doesn’t seem to help control the seizures; I feel that it is killing me more and more every day. Yesterday alone, I had 6 seizures, five of them being back to back. Please respond if anyone has experience seizures and or strokes due to Chantix.

  5. terri Reply

    IT’S TIME TO PULL THE PLUG ON CHANTIX.

  6. Diana Reply

    I had a stroke at 46. Was it the Chantix?

  7. Robert Reply

    my wife took it for 6 months started seeing a shrink after 23 years of marriage she is gone it destroyed my life

  8. Candy Reply

    This is the text my husband sent me today after I stormed out of the house. I stopped taking Chantix last night because I realized it is making me very hostile and aggressive. I am usually a passive person.
    My husband texted: “Apparently there is something you need that I can’t provide for you. I hope you figure out what it is that you need so we can put all of this behind us or move on… Either way the kids don’t have anything to do with your anger today so don’t take it out on them. We are a family and you segregated us today. You are pushing me further away from my love for you. I don’t want to live like this”.

    Please take my advice. When you are ready to quit smoking you will be able to do so without medication. I have had suicidal thoughts and am not thinking about consequences. I am trying to come off the medication. They say it takes two weeks to get it out of your system. I thought since I am a nurse this would somehow not affect me like the warnings of the side effects say. It did!

  9. Beth Reply

    1 week after taking chantix my nocturnal seizures began. I immediately stopped taking Chantix but the seizures never stopped. Until I took this drug I NEVER had a seizure!!
    Now I have epilepsy.
    I want to sue I have done my research s nd Chabtix is obviously at fault!
    Also The right frontal lobe is where my epilepsy is coming from…its no coincidence this is where nicotinic receptors are located. Epilepsy WAS NOT LISTED AS A SIDE EFFECT

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