Alan Cassels just published a succinct and important hit piece on Chantix over at Health News Review. You should read it. Then come back here for the TMZ take.
There are some Pfizer KOLs with blood on their hands. One is at UCSD, one is at or near Harvard. Both are authors on EAGLES. One was allowed to review a Chantix study for BMJ last year. They aren’t credible. No one who has researched Chantix recently is credible. Forget what BMJ publishes, forget what Lancet publishes. In some Chantix studies, the authors don’t know if the patients took the drug, or if they did, how many doses they took. They only know that a patient filled a prescription. They should consider that some wise souls get home, read the patient leaflet, and chuck the hellish little pills. In all of the Chantix studies I know of, hospitalization is required for a psychiatric adverse event to be considered serious. In EAGLES, there were a handful of reportable psychiatric events. Chantix users experienced no more of them than did Buproprion or placebo users. The authors don’t tell us anything about which events occurred in which groups, though. All the suicidality could have been in Chantix users, for example. Just disgusting. (If I missed something in an appendix or something, please tell me.)
There’s a natural Chantix study conducted by TheFix.com, which is a drug-quitters Mad in America, if you will. Anyone who visited the site at a certain point three years ago and had managed to quit smoking one way or another was invited to fill out a one-item form and state how they did it. There were 315 responses, though not all were quitters reporting a method. 16 of them had used Chantix and quit, and one mentioned a relative who had used it.
Nine who used Chantix mentioned nothing about unwanted effects. One did mention nightmares but didn’t complain about them. She said she wrote them down in the morning.
Two additional Chantix users complained of weight gain but no other problems. Among all respondents, only those mentioned having gained weight.
Then there were:
One who said his mother-in-law was almost institutionalized (not a self-report, I know)
One who said side-effects were “overwhelming”
One who said “Just be ready for the side effects.”
One who said she had a “terrible time for 1 year”
One who developed psychosis
One who reported a manic “horror story” with anxiety “off the charts”
To be strict, that’s two very bad outcomes out of 16 self-reporters. Were Chantix users with bad outcomes more likely than other Chantix users to answer the question for the Fix? It doesn’t look like it to me; their answers did not emphasize the horrors of Chantix. The survey responses were more about celebrating than complaining, so there was no pile-on effect.
No, not a perfect study, but 7 had problems and 9 did not. Of the 7 with problems, 2 had serious problems. I would class weight gain as serious, too; both gainers said they haven’t been able to shed the pounds. But still, I’ll call it 2/16 with serious psychiatric outcomes. That’s 12.5%
You can see all 315 responses in a big messy text file on PasteBin.
It’s easier to deal with than the Disqus page used by The Fix.
Me? I resumed smoking after twenty-three blissful, grateful, and incredulous smoke-free years, during a period of several weeks of akathisia that was diagnosed as mania despite having little in common with it. I could get into why I had akathisia, but it’s incompetence and malpractice all the way down, and you’d feel like smoking if I told you. An idiot prescribed Chantix. She didn’t warn me of any side effects and I was still stupid and failed to read the insert. Within a short while I was feeling very sad. I emailed my moods to the doctor as time went by. She stupidly failed to look at the warnings. Before four weeks were up, I was experiencing a deep, horrendous feeling of hopelessness and doom that would hit me like a vehicle and always brought the resilient thought: “I should kill myself right away.” I figured out it was Chantix. I quit. I got better. I didn’t stop smoking.
I don’t know why I survived, but I know why others don’t. The feeling was gruesome, an emotion unlike any I had ever felt. I didn’t feel anything as bad again until I went through dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome. The emotions caused by drugs are not human emotions. They are to humanity what horror films are to reality.
The Pfizer shills have lovely homes and nice cars and active sex lives, I’m pretty sure. Plus, they’re sociopaths, sadists, and idiots, in my opinion. The data suggest I’m right about lot of that.