Chantix Suicide and Aggressive Behavior Reported in Canada

Whitney Taylor | March 6th, 2012

Reports of Chantix suicide and other dangerous side effects linked to the smoking cessation drug are not limited to the U.S. A Chantix user was recently arrested in Ontario, Canada after threatening to shoot a former girlfriend and her boyfriend. The defendant had a clean arrest record at the time, and had never been associated with aggressive behavior – until he began taking Chantix.

Chantix side effects linked to arrest in Canada

The Owens Sound Sun Times reports that William G. Harris, 66, was arrested for threatening the couple and careless storage of a firearm. Harris stated that he had begun sleeping with a loaded shotgun by his bed after the onset of paranoid thoughts and disturbing dreams. These symptoms are similar to what others have reported when they experienced Chantix depression or Chantix suicide thoughts.

Harris and his lawyer attributed his behavior to his Champix use. Champix is the brand name for varenicline in Canada, which goes by Chantix in the U.S. Harris’s defense lawyer, Mary Hewitt, stated in the Owens Sound Sun Times, “This never would have happened if he wasn’t on Champix.”

Other possible reasons for side effects like Chantix suicide

Harris’s former girlfriend told the court she had been concerned in the past about Harris’s drinking and his mental health. Harris had been drinking alcohol the day of the offenses, according to Assistant Crown attorney Andrew Shatto.

Concerns have been raised about the link between Chantix side effects, such as Chantix depression, and alcohol use. Questions have also arisen about Chantix use in people with a history of mental illness.

A study published in Primary Psychiatry last year showed that varenicline “appears to carry some serious risks, particularly for patients with pre-existing mental illness.” Both the FDA and Health Canada have issued warnings regarding varenicline symptoms like aggressive behavior, Chantix suicide, and Chantix depression.

While symptoms were seen in individuals with a previous history of mental illness, they were also experienced by people who had never been diagnosed with a mental condition before.

Alcohol use could increase chance of Chantix suicide

Interactions between Chantix and alcohol use have not been sufficiently studied at this time, but anecdotal reports suggest alcohol use could intensify Chantix side effects, such as Chantix depression, in some users.

In 2007, Texas musician Carter Albrecht was shot and killed outside a neighbor’s door, after exhibiting aggressive behavior. Albrecht was taking Chantix at the time of the incident and some news reports suggest he was also drinking alcohol that night.

Albrecht’s parents are now suing Pfizer, alleging that Chantix side effects led to their son’s death.

While reports and lawsuits regarding Chantix side effects continue to flood both the U.S. and Canada, Pfizer continues to market its drug as a safe, effective smoking cessation tool. At this point, the FDA and Health Canada are continuing to monitor reports of Chantix suicide, depression and aggression, but no steps have been taken to limit distribution of the drug at this time.