Chantix Psychological Side Effects Take Precedence Over Physical

Dorothy Gale-Silver | June 16th, 2011

The most common Chantix side effects listed in the product’s warning label and the focus of much current litigation focus primarily on the psychological effects.  Chantix suicide, depression, aggressive behavior, violence, and accidental injury as a result of these issues are the most widely reported and studied.

But physical Chantix side effects such as Stevens – Johnson syndrome and Chantix diabetes do affect some patients as well.   The former is a listed side effect of Chantix.  Diabetes on the other hand, despite early reports of occurrence in clinical trials and complaints to the FDA- remains unlisted on the medication’s label.

Chantix Side effects widely reported since introduction

Chantix, generically known as varenicline, was approved in the US for marketing by the FDA in 2006.  By 2007, a large number of adverse event reports prompted the agency to alert health care providers about potentially serious Chantix side effects.  In 2008, the agency issued a Public Health Advisory about the certain psychological side effects such as changes in mood and behavior, hostility, agitation, and depression.  There were also reports and concerns about suicidal thoughts, behavior and completed attempts.

Later in 2009, the FDA mandated that Pfizer  add a “black box” warning to the products label relating to these neuropsychiatric symptoms including Chantix suicide.

Chantix suicide reports prompt official action both here and abroad

Growing concern regarding Chantix suicide and other behavior changes caused by the drug prompted French officials to cancel subsidizing the drug- known there as Champix- through the nation’s health care system.  Champix, has not been banned or recalled, and it is still available to French citizens.  Like Chantix sold in American, the side effect of Chantix diabetes has not been conclusively established as a side effect of the medication, nor has it prompted any official action.

In the US, the drug has been banned in professions where workers are made to carry a weapon as well as in positions of extreme stress level including air traffic controllers and jet pilots.

Chantix diabetes reports inconclusive

An executive summary published by the Institute for Medication Practices reported that the FDA had received over 500 reports suggesting that Chantix may be related to a loss of glycemic control, which occurs in diabetes mellitus also known as Type II diabetes.  They identified numerous cases with symptoms and laboratory tests consistent with new onset diabetes.  The classic symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, blurred vision, and increased thirst which are due to the elevated blood sugar levels.   However, a definitive causal connection to Chantix diabetes has not yet been established.

Psychological Chantix side effects remain the primary complaint in the growing number of lawsuits filed in courts across the country.