Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult habits to break. Because of the addictive nature of nicotine found in cigarettes, many smokers need help breaking their dependency. Some turn to commercial remedies like the prescription drug Chantix.
Chantix, manufactured by Pfizer, has been a proven method at helping smokers to quit. And, according to Pfizer, over seven million people in the U.S. have used Chantix to quit smoking. In 2006, it even received fast-track status by the FDA in 2006 due to the drug's effectiveness in clinical trials.
But some users allege to have experienced alarming side effects after using the drug-roughly 5,000. Suicidal thoughts, hostility toward others, depressed moods, hallucinations and other drastic changes in behavior have been reported to the FDA since the drug hit the market. As a result, several lawsuits have been filed against the drug manufacturer.
Attorneys for the victims allege that the drug was not tested on those with any mental health concerns prior to its release into the market. Further, they argue that Pfizer knew about the potential side effects of Chantix, but did nothing to inform doctors or patients.
However, Pfizer contends that Chantix remains safe for smokers looking to quit and that no specific correlation exists to prove Chantix is the actual cause of patients reported behavior issues.
As the lawsuits move forward, sales of the drug have slowed until the impact on mental health can be determined. The drug manufacturer has since added warning labels to its Chantix marketing materials, however, critics contend that the labels do not adequately convey the risks associated with the drug.
If you are using Chantix and experience any unusual changes in behavior, it's important that you contact your doctor immediately.