Chantix Risks Do Not Include Heart Attacks, Heart Problems: Report
A new review of prior clinical trial data suggests that side effects of Chantix do not appear to increase the risk of heart attacks or other heart problems, contradicting the findings of a study published last year involving the popular stop-smoking drug.
In a study published in the current issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers from University of California San Francisco (UCSF) examined the heart risks of Chantix after questions emerged about a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in July 2001.
In that prior study, researchers indicated that there was a significantly increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events with Chantix. However, UCSF researchers questioned the way that prior study was conducted.
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Although Chantix only remains in the body for up to seven days after the medication is last used, the prior research included data on subjects throughout the entire trial period, which in many cases was as long as a year. UCSF researchers only followed subjects during their treatment window or within 30 days after last use, suggesting that the longer heavy smokers are followed, the more likely an unrelated cardiovascular event is to occur.
The new study examined data from 22 different clinical trials involving more than 9,200 people and found that the difference in heart risks with Chantix was only about 0.27% higher when use of the drug was compared to a placebo, which is not a clinically or statistically significant increase.
Chantix (varenicline) was approved in the United States by the FDA in 2006 as a prescription medication to help people quit smoking. The drug works by reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes, blocking the receptors in the brain commonly stimulated by nicotine.
Since the drug was introduced, serious concerns have emerged about potential Chantix risks, which have impacted sales of the medication. However, most of the concerns have involved the psychological side effects of the medication, which have been found to increase the risk of sudden, unusually aggressive behavior, thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
In June 2009, the FDA added a “black box” warning about the risk of psychological problems with Chantix, and Pfizer was ordered to conduct additional clinical trials to provide more data on how often neuropsychiatric symptoms and suicide with Chantix occur and what conditions cause them. The new study does not address these Chantix risks.
A number of family members of former users are now pursuing a Chantix lawsuit against Pfizer, alleging that death or other injuries from a suicide attempt may have been prevented if the drug maker had properly warned about the psychological risks.
HarwinAugust 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm
Thank you for your input, Dr. Mintz. Interesting. I'm not a doctor and not nealry as educated as one but, I DID take two scrips of Chantx back/back in '07 and endured two, long hospital stays in '08. I took this drug in good faith and trusted everyone involved in the process. Blindly. Never again. Had I NOT taken this mySELF, I'm sure I would've had a hard time believing a little, blue pill [Show More]Thank you for your input, Dr. Mintz. Interesting. I'm not a doctor and not nealry as educated as one but, I DID take two scrips of Chantx back/back in '07 and endured two, long hospital stays in '08. I took this drug in good faith and trusted everyone involved in the process. Blindly. Never again. Had I NOT taken this mySELF, I'm sure I would've had a hard time believing a little, blue pill could distort/twist one's mind so completely .that suicide seems the only answer. It was a long, slow, SNEAKY process but THOROUGH. Once in my system, there was no going back.I'd be the FIRST to admit, that yes, it DID the pleasure of smoking away and I was THRILLED and had it STOPPED there I, too, would be singing Chantix' praises .but, it didn't and I can't. This pill grew feet .after touching on my smoking receptors travelled on and on dropping seeds of evil affecting me physically and mentally. My dreams were so real and vivid I learned at 55 what an hallucination is. Course, I didn't know that's what I was experiencing at the time the two hospital stays were due to possible heart attack and serious suicide attempt. Never would I have put Chantix in the equation. Months after psyche unit stay learned about the side effects. omg omg could my life really have been turned upside down and inside out by a pill? A pill that was supposed to help me help mySELF??!!! To say, I'm disillusioned is an understatement. I am DEVASTATED. My life as I knew it is over. I was minutes away from being a statistic and the sad part would've been NO ONE would have known why or HOW I could've DONE such a thing!! I had everything to LIVE for a husband of 35 years, two grown daughters, six beautiful grandchildren, a job I've loved for 23 years lots of friends etc. I wanted to STAY!! I was only trying to do the right thing by taking this quit smoking product .
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