In recent years, many patients taking Chantix have suffered from adverse mental effects, prompting many to seek help from a drug injury attorney. The principal ingredient in Chantix is varenicline, a partial agonist of the brain’s nicotine receptors. This means it stimulates the same receptors that nicotine does, though it does so weakly. Chantix, therefore, can give a patient the same satisfying feeling that nicotine does to a lesser degree, slowly conditioning a patient away from nicotine. Varenicline has shown to be more effective than placebo for smoking cessation, and about 23 percent of patients maintain abstinence a year after beginning treatment.
However, varenicline can cause a range of health complications, which is why a drug injury attorney is usually experienced in handling Chantix related cases. In fact, during its original approval process, the FDA called for a priority review instead of using its normal review process. A priority review reduces the process from 10 months to six months and is employed when a medication is deemed to be dangerous to patient’s health. The FDA found varenicline to be safe during its initial review in 2006, but has since called for updated labeling in light of additional research into the medication.
As of 2009, the FDA requires Pfizer, Chantix’s manufacturer, to include a black box warning on every package of Chantix. This warning is only reserved for products that are considered to be especially risky to patients. In most cases, this only concerns medications that may produce severe or possibly fatal side effects. People who take varenicline and experience these complications may consider hiring a drug injury attorney for representation in the courtroom. Since 2009, many people have filed lawsuits against Pfizer, asserting that the company was negligent in its research concerning Chantix.
The FDA found that the black box warning was warranted after searching through patient event reports concerning the medication. It is standard for the FDA to follow incidence reports for a recently approved medication or those believed to contain significant risks. During the FDA’s research into Chantix, it found a linkage between varenicline usage and several mental symptoms. These side effects include changes in behavior, depression, agitation, hostility, suicide ideation and behavior and attempted suicide. Patient event reports also showed that these side effects were present even in people without a history of mental problems. The FDA cautions that some of the reports may have been due to people suffering from nicotine withdrawal, but that this was a secondary risk factor in most cases.
A drug injury attorney may be able to help a patient who is affected by these side effects. It’s possible for the effects to continue after a patient stops taking the medication and doctors caution patients to stop taking varenicline as soon as they experience any troubling mental symptoms. Ongoing treatment for these mental complications can be expensive and will require a lot of time to see through. This can severely impact a person’s quality of life, so a victim should consider talking to a drug injury attorney about possible compensation. These legal experts have handled many Chantix cases and are familiar with the evidence surrounding the medication.