Chantix Behavior Changes Blamed for Lawn Tractor Rampage

In a recent criminal case, a Pennsylvania man blamed Chantix behavior change side effects for causing him to fly into a rage and almost destroy his home with a lawn tractor.

Charles Brinker, of Fork Township in Pennsylvania, told a judge last week that he had been taking the stop-smoking drug Chantix before the incident and that the drug altered his state of mind to the point where he could not control his anger and smashed his Bobcat loader into one of the main supports of his home. His wife, Diane, was inside the house at the time and Brinker threatened to bring the house down on top of her.

Brinker was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment and sentenced to 18 months probation and a $500 fine. He and his wife have reconciled.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

Side effects of Chantix (varenicline tartrate) have been connected repeatedly with psychological behavior changes in users. The smoking cessation drug works by binding to nicotine receptors in the brain to reduce cravings, but the same receptors have been linked to various psychological effects, such as suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior.

The Chantix problems gained national media attention in late 2007 when the death of Texas musician Carter Albrecht was linked to hallucinations and sudden aggressive behavior caused by the medication. After taking Chantix for about a week, Albrecht was shot and killed by a neighbor after he was banging at his back door in the middle of the night, yelling and ranting.

Pfizer, the company that manufactures the drug, has updated the warning label several times since introducing the medication in 2006 to add information about the risk of suicidal thoughts, unusual aggressive behavior and other psychological side effects of Chantix.

A number of Chantix lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer by families of people who committed suicide while taking the drug to stop smoking or by people who suffered severe injuries from a suicide attempts. The complaints allege that Pfizer failed to adequately research the risk of Chantix behavior changes or warn about the potential side effects.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories