Chantix is a non-nicotine stop-smoking prescription drug made by Pfizer. Approved in 2006 by the FDA because of its performance during clinical trials, Chantix eases the withdrawal by providing nicotine-like effects and also by blocking the effects of nicotine if the person starts smoking again. Chantix, which was designed to chemically “trick” the nicotine receptor cells in the brain to think that it was getting its “fix” when in fact it was receiving a medication designed to prevent nicotine from binding with those same cells in the future. People who took Chantix were supposed to get the same temporary feeling of pleasure that they got from ingesting nicotine.
Given the reality that it was sometimes physically and psychologically impossible to persuade people to quit smoking, research and development departments at several different companies began to dedicate resources to finding a medication that would help people stop smoking and thereby save thousands of lives.
Chantix is prescribed to help people quit smoking.
Some of the side effects are expected and somewhat minor in nature, including nausea, gas, sleeplessness, constipation, headaches and loss of the sense of taste, among other manageable symptoms.
Recently, more and more stories have emerged detailing very strange behavioral side effects developing in those who were taking Chantix. These side effects including such non-scientific descriptions as “operating in a fog,” loss of attention span and memory, depressive thoughts, thoughts of suicide and sometimes even violent outbursts that have led to even more violent confrontations.
On February 1, 2008, the FDA issued a warning to consumers and medical professionals about the use of Chantix indicating “It appears increasingly likely that there may be an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms.”
The warning follows the growing concern by public watchdog and protection groups of the safety of Chantix due to its reported links to suicidal thoughts and behavior.
The FDA in its warning stated that people should report any history of of psychiatric illness before they start using Chantix, as well as asking patients, their families and doctors to closely watch for any changes in behavior or moods while using and after using Chantix.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Chantix?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Chantix, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Chantix lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.