The smoking cessation aid Chantix (varenicline) has been linked to an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events such, including Chantix heart attack.
The serious cardiovascular Chantix side effects were most recently exposed in a study published July 4, 2011 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) by a team of US doctors. The study determined Chantix users were 72% more likely to develop heart problems than people taking a placebo.
The substantial risk posed by heart attacks and other cardiac events has prompted the study authors and other experts to demand a recall of the medication. So far, the Food and Drug Administration has not initiated the drastic measure.
Chantix, the most popular smoking cessation drug on the market, has been prescribed to approximately 13 million people since it was approved in 2006. As of 2010, Pfizer reported $755 million in sales.
Chantix heart attack is a medical emergency
Researchers are not yet certain of the mechanism behind Chantix heart problems. Chantix heart attack appears to share many similarities with heart attack caused by cardiovascular disease or other naturally occurring risk factors. Chantix heart attack symptoms include chest pain that can move to the arms, belly and back as well as feelings of anxiety, cough, fainting, nausea, shortness of breath, and sweating.
A heart attack is a medical emergency. People who think they are experiencing any type of Chantix heart problem should seek immediate medical help. They should not attempt to drive themselves to the emergency room. Chantix heart problems may be treated and diagnosed once a user is under the care of a physician. It is unclear if Chantix heart problems stay with a Chantix user after he or she discontinues the drug.
Chantix lawsuits continue to raise awareness
Nearly 2,000 former Chantix users have filed lawsuits against Pfizer claiming the drug can cause long-term or permanent side effects. The majority of Chantix lawsuits involve neuropsychiatric side effects such as depression, aggressive behavior and suicide. Chantix lawyers expect a surge of heart attack lawsuits to join the litigation as more people become aware of the dangerous side effect.