Chantrix question?

jdinkcmoGOLD
jdinkcmoGOLD

July 10th, 2006, 1:27 am #1

Hello to all,

I don't get by here very often to post but stop in to read frequently. My sister (still a smoker) sent me this snippet of info:

The drug varenicline, to be marketed by Pfizer under the name Chantrix, won FDA approval in May. A tablet taken orally twice a day for 12 weeks, it is expected to be available by prescription later this year.

She lives in Omaha and the U of NE is doing a study; she's considering enrolling in it. Does anyone have any information (pro or con) for me?
I'm fully convinced the "best" way is how we all did it....CT, but certainly don't want to discourage her in any way. She tried quitting some 5 years ago but used NRT and was only off cigarettes for a few months, never having gone through detox.

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. JD

Judy is GOLD and has been nic free for: 3Y 5M 3W 2D and has NOT smoked 57214 smelly cigs, for a grand $$$ savings of $9,583.38 plus life of Freedom extended by: 6M 2W 1D 15h 50m.
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CarolJJ3
CarolJJ3

July 10th, 2006, 1:58 am #2

Hello Judy...

There's a wealth of information about varenicline on the web. Start at Pfizer.com and type the drug name.

The drug appears to have a 50% success rate at 7weeks of treatment. A chemical similar to nicotine fits the nicotine receptor in the brain and gives a "reward" feeling much like nicotine would. Seems like at some point (post 7-week) the nicotine-imposter would have to be discontinued and withdrawal would start. After reading about the drug I'm convinced that cold turkey and dancing to the tune of NTAP is still the best way to go.

Others on this board will have to help you address the pros and cons of discouraging anyone from doing anything to shake this miserable addiction.

Good luck.
Carol, nicotine free for 1 year, 3 months and crediting my success to NTAP.... after 47 years of active addiction
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Bonniequit
Bonniequit

July 10th, 2006, 2:22 am #3

Hi Judy,

Just went to do some net research on this drug... more smoke & mirrors in my opinion, but as Carol says, would you really discourage anyone from doing what it takes for them to control their addiction, as long as it is not harmful to them?

As to whether it is harmful, I think each individual has to decide for themselves whether they are comfortable using a newly-FDA-approved drug. And it is a drug. In fact one site indicated that it is a derivative of a weed known as "false tobacco". Hmmmmm... let me think.... use another weed to stop using the weed I am already putting into my system??

Had I not found Freedom, would I have eventually tried it? Likely. But with the education I now have and the certain knowledge that cold turkey has worked better for me than anything else I have ever tried, I see this new drug for what it really is. Another attempt at creating a "miracle drug" for the uneducated smokers who are still afraid of quitting cold turkey.

In my opinion, NTAP still rules!

Bonnie
Happily nicotine free for Two months, one week, one day, 23 hours, 52 minutes and 8 seconds. A grand total of 1609 nicotine sticks not ingested, saving $547.36 of my hard-earned money. Life saved: 5 days, 14 hours, 5 minutes.
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realmarino
realmarino

July 10th, 2006, 3:20 am #4

Judy,
I think cold turkey is by far the best way to go. Alot faster and alot less painful than I ever thought. After 37 years of smoking and finding the comfort that I have now at just 31/2 months.... I'll go with the turkey!!!

I have been quit for 3 Months, 3 Weeks, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 5 seconds (112 days). I have saved $321.13 by not smoking 1,352 cigarettes. I have saved 4 Days, 16 hours and 40 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 3/18/2006 11:00 PM
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Joel
Joel

July 10th, 2006, 3:34 am #5

Hello Judy:

To be honest, I stopped paying attention to the development of new drugs many years ago. I see them come and go. Actually, in the past I would often see a new drug on the horizon being touted as being an effective aid but often, they would end up not even being approved or never ended up being widely used. I remember one powerful antihypertensive being released as a smoking cessation aid. I met a few people who tried it but never met anyone who quit with it.

I am going to attach comments that I wrote for Zyban and use often at the board. For the most part I feel the same way about this product as I do about Zyban--although I don't know what the extent of the side effects are with this new drug. I am also going to kick up a few strings addressing the whole concept of people waiting for a new drug or any other easy way out of quitting.

I basically believe there is a very false premise that is used to help perpetuate the need for such drugs. Here are two paragraphs from an article that was discussing the value of this new drug into the small arsenal of medications out there to help people quit:

"It's a welcome new addition. It's like with cancer or heart disease or high blood pressure or diabetes: The more effective treatments you have, the better off patients are," said Dr. Steven Schroeder, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who is active in smoking cessation efforts. "

"Quitting isn't easy. Fewer than one in 20 smokers can do so without help, Schroeder said. With help, whether it's a drug, counseling or both, the success rate rises at most to roughly one in five, he added."

If fewer than one in twenty people were able to quit smoking this would seem like an exciting development. The bottom line though is that the idea that only one in twenty people are able to quit on their own is ludicrous. In America today we have more former smokers than current smokers. There are now over 46 million Americans who have quit smoking. Well over 90% of these successful quitters did so without any medication. How do you get so many successful ex-smokers if only one in twenty people are able to quit smoking without help.

I am going to pop up a few articles addressing this whole issue. The bottom line is that there is now and always has been an effective technique out there that any person can use to quit smoking. It is simply for any smoker wanting to quit to make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel

General Comments About the Use of Zyban

In some ways I am pretty neutral with the use of Zyban. Zyban is not a nicotine replacement so does not perpetuate the withdrawal state. Because there is no nicotine involved I don't feel it undercuts a person chance of quitting like nicotine replacement products can. I have had people in my clinics that have quit while using Zyban. In all honesty though, I didn't see them do any better or worse success wise than the others in their groups.

While during the initial quitting period while in the clinic you couldn't really see any differences in the people taking Zyban when compared to those who were not using it. Where differences would sometimes become more noticeable though was a few weeks after the clinic was over. Then I would see that clinic participants who were still on Zyban were having side effects not happening to the other clinic graduates who quit at the same time as them. The most notable complaint was sleep problems that went much longer than one would normally expect for those who do not use Zyban.

Because of the extended side effects I personally question whether it is really worth the longer-term side effects and expense if it isn't making a real difference in success? On the other hand, would some of these people not have even started their quits without the feeling that it was really going to make the difference?

I do think more people take it than really need to but if a person does not experience unwanted side effects and his or her doctor thinks that he or she should take it and the person does actually quit, well then he or she is off smoking and that is what is important. Again, I suspect that the person could have done it without the medication, but since the person is off that belief is a moot point.

I am troubled when I see people report on the board that they can't quit smoking because they can't tolerate the medication. They are feeling handicapped before they start to quit and they are giving the drug too much credit. Again, you can quit with it if it is tolerable and you and your doctor feels it is safe for you to use. You can quit without it too if you really want to stop and are willing to put in the effort it takes to quit. That is the truth in both cases though, with Zyban or without. Your quit will succeed either way if you always understand the importance of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

July 10th, 2006, 3:45 am #6

Related readings:

So How Did Most Successful Ex-Smokers Actually Quit?
Is Cold Turkey the Only Way to Quit?
Quitting Methods: Who Should You Believe?
40 Years of Progress?
Most expert say "Don't quit cold turkey"

More to follow...
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Joel
Joel

July 10th, 2006, 3:48 am #8

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Joel
Joel

July 10th, 2006, 3:54 am #9

Here is a commentary I wrote a while back in the thread What is wrong with using a relaxation tape designed to help people quit? It discusses the premise of how the health care industry is perpetuating the myth that people cannot quit smoking without the use of products:

Over a year ago I got an email from a person who was wondering why we wouldn't allow the promotion of hypnosis/relaxation tapes at Freedom. In an email response to me the person wrote, "I just thought that even if a small percentage of people would have this work for them, then it was worth you listing as an option."

I am going to attach the email reply I sent to that person. I think it is quite applicable to recommendations that seem to be popping up at Freedom now:
It is pretty interesting that so many of the people promoting products out there use the argument that even if it helps only a small percent of the people it is worth promoting a fee based product. You see, that would all make sense if there were just not many people who could quit smoking. Then, if you have a product that helps one or two percent it seems worth the effort and the expense. All of the manufacturers of different quitting smoking products like to tout that only 5% of people who try to quit at any given time are successful. It leaves the reader thinking that quitting smoking is quite impossible so any success that any product can give makes it worth the cost and the try. The problem with the logic though is quitting is not close to impossible. We have more former smokers now than current smokers. 47 million Americans have successfully quit smoking. While it is hard to find precise studies of just how they quit, the vast majority have done it by simply quitting smoking cold turkey without the use of products. (91.4% according to the American Cancer Society (2003 Cancer Facts and Figures) go to page 25 of that publication)

So here we have a problem, smoking, that is killing hundreds of thousands of Americans a year, and a slew of industries who are supposedly designed to help smokers to quit out there saying that quitting is close to impossible and that people need to buy their products so that they have a small chance of success-small being better than almost no chance.

The argument just doesn't match the facts. If you are truly interested in helping smoker to quit, educate them to the fact that quitting is possible, that over half of the people who used to smoke have quit, and that the vast majority of the 47 million ex-smokers in the country today quit without the use of any quitting aid and by spending no money for professional help in their cessation efforts. Somehow I don't think these facts are going to make it into the promotion of the site you are recommending.

I am not sure where you are coming from-whether or not you are a person who is trying to just help people or whether you are somehow affiliated with the sale of the CD. If you are the former, spend some time at www.whyquit.com and see what we have to offer. You will see quickly that there are no links there to any products and that there are no links there to any company or organization that are making any money trying to "help" people quit. We are a totally commercial free operation and in fact there is no money involved with anything affiliated with our site. We have no fees ourselves and take no money for our services. Even donations are refused. If you are indeed trying to help people to quit, read and learn what we have to offer-your time will be well spent and I suspect you will be sending lots of people our way.

If you are just trying to promote a product, spending any time at www.whyquit.com will be a total waste of your time. My guess is that you will want to keep potential customers as far away from us as possible for the more they read at the site the more obvious it will become to them that they don't need to waste one thin dime in their efforts to quit smoking if they simply make and stick to a commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 21st, 2006, 4:01 am #10

This message has been deleted by the manager or assistant manager.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 21st, 2006, 4:10 am #11

Does Chantix really work?
Will Chantix help me quit?

I've reviewed all five Chantix studies (Jorenby, Gonzales, Tonstad, Nides and Oncken) and although I sincerely wish I could report to smokers reading here at Freedom that it looks promising, I simply can't. We'd all love a quick painless quit smoking cure but after three decades of broken promises I'm beginning to believe that science will never cure nicotine dependency with a pill.

My biggest concern right now is that smokers around the globe will delay quitting while waiting on yet another magic cure that, on it's own, may be no more effective than quitting without it (see, Cold Turkey Twice as Effective as NRT or Zyban ).

I share the below news story here at Freedom, and a copy of a rebuttal email I sent the newspaper, to hopefully enlighten smoking visitors and members to the realization that just because a newspaper headline says something doesn't make it so. The devil truly is in the details.

A bit of detail not mention below is that although the studies assert that they were double blind it's highly unlikely. To briefly recap, nicotine is a psychoactive chemical producing a powerful dopamine/adrenaline high and it has been shown that smokers can be trained to reliably distinguish various doses of nicotine from placebo (Perkins 94, Perkins 96, Perkins 97). NRT has been shown to reliably reduce withdrawal and cravings (Hughes 84) and smokers with a quitting history should be expected to recognize their withdrawal syndrome (Hughes 87).

In the Chantix studies about 90% of participants had previously attempted quitting, failed and knew what it felt like to sense the onset of full blown withdrawal. In 2004, Mooney published a review of 73 allegedly double-blind NRT studies and declared that studies assessing blindness were not generally blind as claimed in that "subjects accurately judged treatment assignment at a rate significantly above chance" (see, June 2004 Blind Spot study).

There were no cold turkey quitters invited to Chantix studies as almost all were seeking a new medicine that would somehow diminish their withdrawal syndrome. For those assigned to receive placebo instead of Chantix it didn't happen and more than 80% of placebo group members relapsed to smoking within the first two weeks. In full-blown withdrawal and frustrated, they did not stick around to take advantage of all the ongoing support elements that, like support rendered here, were effective in their own right in helping foster cessation.

The keys to substantially enhancing the odds of nicotine dependency recovery are education and support. But even for those lacking both their odds of success are 100% so long as they live by one abiding principle ... no nicotine today, Never Taken Another Puff, Dip, Pouch or Chew!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John (Gold x7)


WONDER PILL THAT WILL CURE
SMOKING HERE IN MONTHS
August 17, 2006 - The Mirror - United Kingdom
By Victoria Ward - [url=mailto:victoria.ward@mirror.co.uk]victoria.ward@mirror.co.uk[/url]
A PILL which mimics the effects of nicotine, helping smokers to quit, could be on sale in Britain within months.

Almost half of people who tried out Chantix kicked the habit.

Dr Cheryl Oncken, of Connecticut University, who did the test study, said the drug works where most other therapies fail.

She added: "Chantix was well tolerated and may provide a novel therapy to aid smokers to quit."

The drug, proper name varenicline tartrate, was approved for use in the US in May.

Drug regulators in Europe are now looking at the pill and it could soon be available in the UK.

It works by stimulating the same brain receptors as nicotine to block cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

The Connecticut study of 626 smokers, published yesterday, shows it really works.

In total of 48 per cent of smokers who took it twice a day gave up cigarettes compared to 17 per cent given a placebo.

The drug has been developed by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant behind Viagra.

A Pfizer spokesman said yesterday: "We are hopeful approval for sale across Europe will come shortly, and we are already gearing up to make the drug available as soon as possible after that."

Chantix has some side-effects including nausea but they are limited if the doses are spaced out over the day.

Pfizer predicts its new drug will bring in £500million annually within three years.

The market for smoking cures is massive with 12million Britons hooked on cigarettes.

Twenty eight per cent of men and 24 per cent of women smoke.

But that has plummeted over a generation - half of men and 41 per cent women were hooked in 1974.

Each year around 114,000 people die in Britain from smoking-related diseases.

But only 15 per cent of those who use the NHS's Stop Smoking service manage to give up altogether.
Online story source link:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objecti ... _page.html
Copyright Trinity Mirror 2006

Dear Mirror Editor:

Ms. Ward's Aug. 17 "Wonder Pill That Will Cure Smoking Here in Months" story carries horrific potential to cause smokers to delay trying to quit until Chantix's expected UK arrival possibly sometime next year. There is no smoking rationalization more harmful to a nicotine addict in denial than waiting on a promised cure that never arrives.

The story's "cure" title is only partially cured by its assertion that "48% of smokers who took [Chantix] ... gave up cigarettes." In creating contrast it notes that just 15% of NHS's Stop Smoking service quitters succeed. Chantix's 49.4% rate was after three months while the NHS rate is after one year. What the story did not tell readers was that Chantix's one year rate in the Oncken study was only 22.4%.

Also, the Chantix 22.4% rate was produced under extremely intense and highly artificial clinical conditions that will not exist in either real-word use or NHS quitting clinics. Study participants were compensated for attending 16 clinic visits that included one-on-one counseling sessions, and for 8 follow-up telehone calls. They received two full physical exams, completed a number of surveys, had urine and blood collected 7 times, underwent 6 EKGs and experienced 15 smoking breath tests where vitals and weight were also recorded.

Chantix's rate was also inflated by excluding one-third who applied (333 of 980), many of whom are the most challenging to help quit. A partial list of those excluded includes those suffering from cardiovascular disease, alcohol abuse, major depression, panic disorder, psychosis, bipolar or who a "clinically significant medical disease."

We saw similar early clinical rates with the nicotine patch and gum (NRT). We now know that NRT's six month rate is just 7% and its one year rate near 5%. Frankly, to expect more than 1 in 10 "real-world" Chantex users to succeed for a year, by relying solely upon it, is probably unrealistic. Imagine a cure that fails 90% of users.

I've attached is a full text copy of the study for your review. Feel free to print or otherwise use any portion of this story rebuttal.

Sincere regards,

John R. Polito
Editor WhyQuit.com
[url=mailto:john@whyquit.com]john@whyquit.com[/url]

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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 26th, 2006, 11:48 pm #12

"Will Chantix really help me quit smoking?"
The above link is to my review of the new Chantix studies.
As always any editing suggestions sent to [url=mailto:john@whyquit.com]john@whyquit.com[/url]
will be greatly appreciated. Sincere thanks. John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

October 18th, 2006, 5:33 pm #13

On September 29, 2006, Pfizer announced European Commission approval of Champix, its new quit smoking pill, boasting that "after one year, approximately one-in-five patients who received the 12-week course of varenicline [Champix] remained smoke-free." This article explores why real-world effectiveness will likely be substantially less.
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Joel
Joel

June 1st, 2007, 10:25 pm #14

This string needs a little updating. Attached are comments that John and I have added at the AskJoel board when questions are sent to us about Chantix.

From the string Chantix - Champix (varenicline)
From: John (Gold) Sent: 5/30/2007 5:34 AM
Chantix and Champix
This year varenicline (Chantix and Champix) is the new kid on the block. Pfizer boasts that it aided 1 in 5 clinical trial users in quitting for a year. But aside from Chantix/Champix use, a number of study design factors may have heavily influenced outcome. More alarming, there's mounting user concerns that Pfizer has failed to adequately warn smokers about adverse events, including "frequent" risk of significant muscle and joint pain (what Pfizer lists as "arthralgia, back pain, muscle cramp, musculoskeletal pain, myalgia" - see page 14), without telling users how frequently, or that symptoms may persist long after varenicline use has ended.
Link to Pfizer's complete list of
Chantix / Champix Adverse Events
But if the Chantix / Champix user makes it past the side-effects, they truly will experience up to 60% of the dopamine output that nicotine would have generated if sitting on the exact same acetylcholine receptors. The trick with Chantix / Champix isn't in feeling comfortble while using it but adjusting to living without it, as more than half of clinical trial users who quit smoking for 3 months while using varenicline relapsed within a year.
If you have a friend or loved one using Chantix or Champix there's absolutely no reason, whether they continue using it or not, that they cannot go the distance and succeed, so long as zero nicotine finds its way back into their bloodstream. Key is relapse prevention. You may want to send them the link to downloading Joel's free PDF book "Never Take Another Puff" which can be downloaded at:
Reporting Adverse
Chantix / Champix Events
If you know someone using Chantix or Champix who experiences significant side effects encourage them to ...
immediately call their physician
Also, encourage them to report the adverse reaction to their national health officials. Here's a few links:
U.S. Food & Drug Administration - http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/
U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration
Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program
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Joel
Joel

June 1st, 2007, 10:28 pm #15

My original response to inquiries about Chantix from the string Chantix - Champix (varenicline):

Chantix has only been on the market for a few months. I have not encountered any one who has used it though.

I am going to attach my first comments I wrote when first asked about Chantix a few months ago. Nothing has changed as far as I am concerned. John will likely respond to this too as he has spent more time looking into Chantix.

As far as taking it for 12 weeks to ease cravings, if you just get nicotine out of your system your cravings will ease up in just three days. The idea of taking a drug for 12 weeks to ease a withdrawal that is only "possibly" intense for three days always seemed a bit ludicrous to me.

Anyway, here are my general comments about new drugs:
To be honest, I stopped paying attention to the development of new drugs many years ago. I see them come and go. Actually, in the past I would often see a new drug on the horizon being touted as being an effective aid but often, they would end up not even being approved or never ended up being widely used. I remember one powerful antihypertensive being released as a smoking cessation aid. I met a few people who tried it but never met anyone who quit with it.

I am going to attach comments that I wrote for Zyban and use often at the board. For the most part I feel the same way about this product as I do about Zyban--although I don't know what the extent of the side effects are with this new drug. I am also going to kick up a few strings addressing the whole concept of people waiting for a new drug or any other easy way out of quitting.

I basically believe there is a very false premise that is used to help perpetuate the need for such drugs. Here are two paragraphs from an article that was discussing the value of this new drug into the small arsenal of medications out there to help people quit:

"It's a welcome new addition. It's like with cancer or heart disease or high blood pressure or diabetes: The more effective treatments you have, the better off patients are," said Dr. Steven Schroeder, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who is active in smoking cessation efforts. "

"Quitting isn't easy. Fewer than one in 20 smokers can do so without help, Schroeder said. With help, whether it's a drug, counseling or both, the success rate rises at most to roughly one in five, he added."

If fewer than one in twenty people were able to quit smoking this would seem like an exciting development. The bottom line though is that the idea that only one in twenty people are able to quit on their own is ludicrous. In America today we have more former smokers than current smokers. There are now over 46 million Americans who have quit smoking. Well over 90% of these successful quitters did so without any medication. How do you get so many successful ex-smokers if only one in twenty people are able to quit smoking without help.

I am going to pop up a few articles addressing this whole issue. The bottom line is that there is now and always has been an effective technique out there that any person can use to quit smoking. It is simply for any smoker wanting to quit to make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel

General Comments About the Use of Zyban

In some ways I am pretty neutral with the use of Zyban. Zyban is not a nicotine replacement so does not perpetuate the withdrawal state. Because there is no nicotine involved I don't feel it undercuts a person chance of quitting like nicotine replacement products can. I have had people in my clinics that have quit while using Zyban. In all honesty though, I didn't see them do any better or worse success wise than the others in their groups.

While during the initial quitting period while in the clinic you couldn't really see any differences in the people taking Zyban when compared to those who were not using it. Where differences would sometimes become more noticeable though was a few weeks after the clinic was over. Then I would see that clinic participants who were still on Zyban were having side effects not happening to the other clinic graduates who quit at the same time as them. The most notable complaint was sleep problems that went much longer than one would normally expect for those who do not use Zyban.

Because of the extended side effects I personally question whether it is really worth the longer-term side effects and expense if it isn't making a real difference in success? On the other hand, would some of these people not have even started their quits without the feeling that it was really going to make the difference?

I do think more people take it than really need to but if a person does not experience unwanted side effects and his or her doctor thinks that he or she should take it and the person does actually quit, well then he or she is off smoking and that is what is important. Again, I suspect that the person could have done it without the medication, but since the person is off that belief is a moot point.

I am troubled when I see people report on the board that they can't quit smoking because they can't tolerate the medication. They are feeling handicapped before they start to quit and they are giving the drug too much credit. Again, you can quit with it if it is tolerable and you and your doctor feels it is safe for you to use. You can quit without it too if you really want to stop and are willing to put in the effort it takes to quit. That is the truth in both cases though, with Zyban or without. Your quit will succeed either way if you always understand the importance of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel

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Joel
Joel

June 1st, 2007, 10:29 pm #16

Reply
Recommend Delete Message 8 of 10 in Discussion
From: Joel Sent: 5/3/2007 6:29 AM
Some additional commentaries I have been using when getting questions about Chantix:

I am going to attach an email reply I wrote to the first person that wrote me asking about an over the counter smoking aid a few years ago. It also illustrates how I feel about Chantix, and all new products that are going to be introduced over time. I will start giving such products attention when they meet the criteria discussed in the second paragraph below:

I have seen the xxxxxxx ads in my area for quite a while. If I am not mistaken, I think I saw those same ads resurface over and over again over a pretty long time period-maybe years. It's hard to keep all of the shams straight-they really do all look alike after a while. It is amazing what wild claims you will see for products to help you to quit smoking or lose weight too. It's ironic that you don't see such ads for alcoholism or heroin or crack dependencies. Why do you think that is? Because if someone made such wild claims about beating a real drug addiction they would likely be held accountable to back up those claims. It seems though that no such accountability is enforced with tobacco use. It's a shame though, especially when considering we are dealing with the drug which is every bit as addictive as any of these others-actually more so except maybe for crack, and kills more people than all of them combined. But again, it is not like society really takes cigarettes seriously

I could spend a lot of time researching each and every product that becomes available and makes wonderful claims but in all honesty, I have zero interest in any of them. You know when I will actually look into a product in depth. It is when I am out in the real world and all of a sudden encounter a few people, maybe five in a short time period who tells me that they actually have quit smoking by using the product-and that they were now off of the product and cigarettes for a solid year. This shouldn't be hard for me to find considering I ask at least 50 new people a month, and sometimes hundreds of new people a month how they quit smoking and how the people they know who have quit smoking and have been off for at least a year, had actually first stopped. Well, this year I asked several thousand people-many of them physicians and dentists who also in turn deal with hundreds to thousands of people. You know how many times xxxxxxx was brought up? Zero. Do you know how many times somebody has emailed a question about xxxxxxxx? Counting your email-one. Kind of gives you a clue to what kind of word of mouth this miracle product is getting from its users.

For now Chantix is going to get a lot of good press for quite a while, being that you will soon have a pharmaceutical powerhouse pushing it as hard as possible. Until we can get some real world time behind us we cannot prove or disprove that the product is going to have any real impact on long-term success for its users.

Just last week I had my first live encounter with a person who used Chantix. (Live encounter defined as not Internet based emails from strangers). He has tried Chantix twice now, both times for three months each. Each time he came off the Chantix he said he started suffering what he described as the same withdrawals he had when he had tried to quit in the past and relapsed within days to smoking. He finally quit cold turkey and now he is off smoking for a few weeks and feeling much better than he has in a long time.

I should also note, both John and I are getting frequent emails from people regarding Chantix. There are many that praise the product as having helped people get various time periods under their belt smoke free, but the vast majority of these emails are from people who are still using the medication. We don't get many from people who got off the medication without problems and maintained their smoke free status.

Also particularly troubling to us is the number of emails we are getting from people with side effects, some quite severe to using the medication. One just sent us a link to an Internet board that had lots of people complaining of symptoms that were lasting a whole lot longer than the few days of withdrawal people may get when just going cold turkey. That has always been something I have seen as a problem with quit smoking aids out there, they either prolong the withdrawal period by keeping nicotine in the system or have their own side effects that cause people to experience physical complaints and symptoms much longer than people who simply go cold turkey. Cold turkey "may be" harder the first few days but physically, symptoms ease up quickly and it is a really safe method to quit. Here is the link to another string we have had previously at AskJoel that addresses this safety issue: "Isn't quitting cold turkey too dangerous?"



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Joel
Joel

June 1st, 2007, 10:30 pm #17

This string needs a little updating. Attached are comments that John and I have added at the AskJoel board when questions are sent to us about Chantix.

From the string Chantix - Champix (varenicline)
From: John (Gold) Sent: 5/30/2007 5:34 AM
Chantix and Champix
This year varenicline (Chantix and Champix) is the new kid on the block. Pfizer boasts that it aided 1 in 5 clinical trial users in quitting for a year. But aside from Chantix/Champix use, a number of study design factors may have heavily influenced outcome. More alarming, there's mounting user concerns that Pfizer has failed to adequately warn smokers about adverse events, including "frequent" risk of significant muscle and joint pain (what Pfizer lists as "arthralgia, back pain, muscle cramp, musculoskeletal pain, myalgia" - see page 14), without telling users how frequently, or that symptoms may persist long after varenicline use has ended.
Link to Pfizer's complete list of
Chantix / Champix Adverse Events
But if the Chantix / Champix user makes it past the side-effects, they truly will experience up to 60% of the dopamine output that nicotine would have generated if sitting on the exact same acetylcholine receptors. The trick with Chantix / Champix isn't in feeling comfortble while using it but adjusting to living without it, as more than half of clinical trial users who quit smoking for 3 months while using varenicline relapsed within a year.
If you have a friend or loved one using Chantix or Champix there's absolutely no reason, whether they continue using it or not, that they cannot go the distance and succeed, so long as zero nicotine finds its way back into their bloodstream. Key is relapse prevention. You may want to send them the link to downloading Joel's free PDF book "Never Take Another Puff" which can be downloaded at:
Reporting Adverse
Chantix / Champix Events
If you know someone using Chantix or Champix who experiences significant side effects encourage them to ...
immediately call their physician
Also, encourage them to report the adverse reaction to their national health officials. Here's a few links:
U.S. Food & Drug Administration - http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/
U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration
Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program
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Joel
Joel

September 23rd, 2007, 1:50 am #18

Thread needs a little updating:

From the thread Chantix - Champix (varenicline) at AskJoel:
Just last week I had my first live encounter with a person who used Chantix. (Live encounter defined as not Internet based emails from strangers). He has tried Chantix twice now, both times for three months each. Each time he came off the Chantix he said he started suffering what he described as the same withdrawals he had when he had tried to quit in the past and relapsed within days to smoking. He finally quit cold turkey and now he is off smoking for a few weeks and feeling much better than he has in a long time.

I should also note, both John and I are getting frequent emails from people regarding Chantix. There are many that praise the product as having helped people get various time periods under their belt smoke free, but the vast majority of these emails are from people who are still using the medication. We don't get many from people who got off the medication without problems and maintained their smoke free status.

Also particularly troubling to us is the number of emails we are getting from people with side effects, some quite severe to using the medication. One just sent us a link to an Internet board that had lots of people complaining of symptoms that were lasting a whole lot longer than the few days of withdrawal people may get when just going cold turkey. That has always been something I have seen as a problem with quit smoking aids out there, they either prolong the withdrawal period by keeping nicotine in the system or have their own side effects that cause people to experience physical complaints and symptoms much longer than people who simply go cold turkey. Cold turkey "may be" harder the first few days but physically, symptoms ease up quickly and it is a really safe method to quit. Here is the link to another string we have had previously at AskJoel that addresses this safety issue: "Isn't quitting cold turkey too dangerous?"

I am going to attach a video here that talks about my first encounter with a person using NRT in the form of nicotine gum in the early 1980's. From numerous emails and from observing comments written on different boards, I am starting to get a sense that people's experience with Chantix is often the same as it is with NRT, that the drug is simply postponing the readjustments that a person often goes through when they first quit smoking.
Video Title
Dial-Up
HS/BB
Audio
Length
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My first encounter with NRT 3.99mb 16.1mb 2.13mb 14:37 11/16/06



John received this emailed letter a couple of days ago. It is indicative of numerous letters we receive and we thought it would be a good addition to issues being raised in this string:

Hi John,

Thank you for the wonderful web site, which I discovered a month ago while in the midst of a Chantix withdrawal anxiety episode. Your knowledge, insights and encouragement helped me a great deal, as I'll explain in more detail a bit later.

I found your article on Chantix quite illuminating, and was able to learn from it why the drug appeared to have worked in ending my 30-year nicotine habit. Yes, the good news to report is that I now consider myself a successful nicotine ex-addict. Chantix played a role, but I believe the designer drug is basically a fraud. Allow me to explain.


First some background. I was a pack-a-day cigarette smoker in my 20s. I tried to quit many times, but each time the withdrawal symptoms overwhelmed me. Plus, I didn't understand what was happening.


I switched to cigars in my 30s, believing I wasn't inhaling, and while I definitely wasn't inhaling as much, obviously I was still getting nicotine through my mouth and throat tissues.


When Nicorette gum was introduced, I was probably one of the company's first customers. The first time I used it, it worked for me for three months -- no tobacco at all -- but the reality was that I was still a nicotine addict.


And there were times when I couldn't afford the high price of the gum, or for quite a long time, you had to get a prescription, which was a hassle. So, believe it or not, for the next 15 years I wentback and forth between the gum and cigars. As my earnings increased, I was able to afford the gum more often, and tried to wean myself entirely from tobacco, and I was largely successful. But sometimes my jaws would get tired. I also tried the patch once, and that didn't last even a day. They wouldn't stick to my skin. Every attempt to quit failed. I did, however, begin jogging regularly 15 years ago, and that helped with lung capacity.


Finally, a few years ago, I asked my doctor for help, and he prescribed Zyban (with little explanation of what to expect or how it worked). Itdid work, to control withdrawal sympoms for a few days, but not completely, and I relapsed. It was back to gum, for the most part, with a cigar once a day. During this period, my resentment over being controlled by the nicotine industry mounted, especially with the knowledge that NRT is the most expensive of all forms of nicotine, and I seemed to be chewing more and more.


Then about three years ago, my father, a life-long smoker, contracted lung cancer, small cell, inoperable. He underwent a miserable six months of chemo and radiation therapy, and went into remission. Well, that ended any further tobacco use, but I still could not quit the gum.


Earlier this year, my father's lung cancer returned. He was maxed out on radiation, his doctors said they weren't sure what they could do. He finally found a surgeon who said that he could operate -- and save his life -- but the left lung had to go. All of it. I traveled to Indiana for the operation in early April. The whole experience was incredibly emotional, but the medical staff at Indiana University Hospital were fantastic -- totally professional, and the operation was a success. My father's doing fine right now.


Needless to say, that experience led me again to try to find a way to end my nicotine addiction. I can't believe I failed to find your website, it would have been such a big help. Instead, I came across Chantix. The hospital where my wife works endorsed it for hospital personnel who wanted to quit, calling it "promising." My wife reported a colleague had been successful after taking the drug for two months. The literature claimed a 44% success rate.


So I asked my doctor (not the one who prescribed Zyban) about the drug in April. He had never prescribed Chantix to anyone, said he didn't know much about it, but that a Pfizer representative had happened to have left him with a sample -- a month's supply. Did I want to try it.


I jumped at the chance. Yes, I had doubts about being a guinea pig for big pharma, but I couldn't find anything too negative about the drug, so off I went. My last piece of gum chewed was April 27. And like magic, at 2 mg a day of Chantix, no withdrawal symptoms (well, nothing major, some gastro effects briefly, some strange dreams, some early awakening, but I reasoned that these could also be side effects of nicotine cessation). Since I had a free month's supply, I was elated. My wife noticed how calm I seemed. I felt calm. And no relapse at all. No desire for tobacco or gum! Great!


Toward the end of the month, I cut my dose, first to 1.5 mg -- no sweat, fine so far -- then to 1 mg, and finally the last few days, just 0.5 mg per day. This effectively made the four week supply last five weeks, and then I reported back to my doctor. I was pleased. He was pleased.


"I don't need to keep taking it, do I," I asked.


" No, no reason I can see," he replied.


First day without Chantix, no problem. Second day, third day, nothing much, although I wondered why I was feeling slightly anxious, especially since we were on vacation at the time and there was nothing stressful going on. By day five, I was immersed in dread, waking in the middle of the night short of breath, feeling dizzy, panicky, shaky, light-headed. I didn't know what to do. I thought maybe it would get better the next day, but no, more of the same. The only relief I got was from drinking. Two evenings in a row, I drank far more than the recommended two glasses of red wine, and basically put myself to sleep to get through the night.


The next day, more symptoms. I did some online research and the closest description was GAD, generalized anxiety disorder. The websites I did find basically were of little help, but suggested that the symptoms could continue for a long time. Again, I wish I had found your site!


I called my doctor and asked to be put back on the Chantix. By noon I had the prescription, and within an hour of taking 1 mg, I began to feel relief. That fast. That afternoon I was able to install a new dishwasher in our kitchen, a task I'd never done before. Pulled if off without a hitch in four hours, without swearing, cursing or getting upset. That's how powerful Chantix is. I popped the other 1 mg pill with dinner and by 8 p.m., I was calm as could be, no symptoms at all.


That was June 8. I took Chantix until August 4. Five days later, I was again in the throes of major withdrawal symptoms, same as before. That's when I googled "Chantix withdrawal symptoms" in the hopes someone else knew what was going on. That's when I found your site and the article questioning the efficacy of Chantix. And everything began to finally make sense. I realized I had to go cold turkey from Chantix. Your description of the withdrawal syndrome helped so much. I realized that I was probably in the middle of about a 10-day withdrawal period, and that the first time I probably could have made if I had known that relief was on the way. In addition, I knew nothing at all until that point about the effect on blood sugar and fat that nicotine, and it's powerful cousin Chantix, exerted. I used to go all day without eating, or maybe just have a single meal at lunchtime, with a few snacks. Some days I fasted all day.


I now realize that the only way I was able to do that was because -- as you point out -- I was feeding myself with nicotine doses, and for nearly four months, Chantix doses.


That designer molecule at 2 mg is as powerful as 20 pieces of 4 mg Nicorette -- 80 mg daily!


Anyway, It's been more than a month since my last dose of Chantix. No relapses, symptoms gone. I've had to re-train myself to eat differently, grazing on small snacks through the day, but heck, that's been fun. I gained about six pounds during the past five months. About five weeks ago, I doubled the amount of miles I normally jog -- in the past that's how I was able to lose weight. I know from experience it will probably take me another month or two of increased exercise to lose this amount of weight, but that's okay, I love jogging -- I get runner's high, and it feels great. Plus, now of course, my lungs are completely free of gunk.


I'm sleeping better than ever, longer, deeper, no more waking up and chewing a piece of gum. I have more time and quite a bit of more money each month. Most importantly of all, I'm free from the grip of the death merchants. I must express my gratitude to you, because once I found your site, I realized what I had to do to break free. I am celebrating each day -- ****, why everyone doesn't celebrate each anyway is beyond me. But I know having gone through this and accomplished my goal of freedom, I will never be enslaved again.


I cannot blame anyone for my nicotine habit, but I do think the medical professionals I sought help from should have been better educated -- none ever gave me much help, and never explained some of the things I learned on your website.


Many thanks.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 26th, 2007, 7:32 am #19

The below email from Jim Wharton was received on Sept. 24 and Jim consented to our sharing it in this thread on Sept. 25, 2007. In his consent he also stated, "Hope this all helps someone who may be considering Chantrix. Although to be fair, I only took it for 8 1/2 days."



John,

I can't post this to the forum because I began my quit using Chantix. On day one, I was having a tough time with the urges and decided to search the internet for quit smoking help - that's when I discovered WhyQuit. On day two of my quit, I decided to stop taking Chantix as it didn't really seem to be doing anything at all - all the same misery and discomfort of going cold turkey was still there for me. The Chantix method gives access to web-based help but it isn't nearly as informative or friendly as what you have here.

I don't honestly think I would have made it without the education and comfort I got from reading everything you have available and even watching Joel's videos. First Posts from real people who were feeling exactly the same anquish I was and how they dealt with it was helping ME deal with it too. Posts from others who were farther down the same path I am walking were reassuring as well. One particular post really hit home for me - OBob's "3 days or 3 years" came at exactly the right time for me (day 3) and I vowed that there would be a deck chair on the Sun Deck for me someday!

I have been reccommending WhyQuit to everyone who asks me how I did it. Education really does make all the difference. I was a smoker for 37 years and I have been quit now for 30 days. I have $200 worth of Chantix to throw away and I don't mind at all. I feel like I could jump up and run a mile right now and I don't wheeze when I climb stairs. Anyway, since I started with Chantix, I don't qualify to join or to post this to your forums - I never will qualify because I will never take another puff...

I just wanted to thank you for that.

Jim Wharton
Boca Raton, Fl.
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Joel
Joel

October 6th, 2007, 9:19 pm #20

John and I are not the only people hearing about serious side effects from Chantix/Champix. Here is a link John found yesterday to a response board with numerous complaints:

http://cbs11tv.com/local/local_story_267233942.html

Every now and then both John and I get emails from people who are angry that we have put up information that gives people warnings about potential issues with the efficacy and safety of the drug. We also get emails from people who were wondering why they were not aware of some of the problems that the drug has caused them before they started taking it.

I am sure that there are people who stop the drug once the effects become pronounced who simply throw away their quits. This I think is a real mistake. As I said above in the commentary I first wrote regarding Zyban when it was introduced:

"I am troubled when I see people report on the board that they can't quit smoking because they can't tolerate the medication. They are feeling handicapped before they start to quit and they are giving the drug too much credit. Again, you can quit with it if it is tolerable and you and your doctor feels it is safe for you to use. You can quit without it too if you really want to stop and are willing to put in the effort it takes to quit. That is the truth in both cases though, with Zyban or without. Your quit will succeed either way if you always understand the importance of knowing to never take another puff!"

I have the same belief about Chantix now. People who stop taking it should not automatically think that they have lost their ability to quit. They can maintain the quit that they started while on the drug, or even quit smoking after stopping the drug if they had not done so earlier, and sustain that quit over the long-term if they simply make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel

Also from above, comments directly related to Chantix/Champix use:
I should also note, both John and I are getting frequent emails from people regarding Chantix. There are many that praise the product as having helped people get various time periods under their belt smoke free, but the vast majority of these emails are from people who are still using the medication. We don't get many from people who got off the medication without problems and maintained their smoke free status. Also particularly troubling to us is the number of emails we are getting from people with side effects, some quite severe to using the medication. One just sent us a link to an Internet board that had lots of people complaining of symptoms that were lasting a whole lot longer than the few days of withdrawal people may get when just going cold turkey. That has always been something I have seen as a problem with quit smoking aids out there, they either prolong the withdrawal period by keeping nicotine in the system or have their own side effects that cause people to experience physical complaints and symptoms much longer than people who simply go cold turkey. Cold turkey "may be" harder the first few days but physically, symptoms ease up quickly and it is a really safe method to quit. Here is the link to another string we have had previously at AskJoel that addresses this safety issue: "Isn't quitting cold turkey too dangerous?"





I am going to attach a video here that talks about my first encounter with a person using NRT in the form of nicotine gum in the early 1980's. From numerous emails and from observing comments written on different boards, I am starting to get a sense that people's experience with Chantix is often the same as it is with NRT, that the drug is simply postponing the readjustments that a person often goes through when they first quit smoking.


Video Title
Dial-Up
HS/BB
Audio
Length
Added
My first encounter with NRT 3.99mb 16.1mb 2.13mb 14:37 11/16/06


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starbirder.ffn
starbirder.ffn

October 6th, 2007, 10:07 pm #21

THE ONLY WONDER "PILL" THAT WILL
CURE
SMOKING IS USING YOUR BRIAN TO NTAP
Thank you-thank you-thankyou-thank-you Joel...
Star 83 free of smoking by never taking another puff, yesssssssssssssssssssssss
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

November 18th, 2007, 11:35 am #22

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Joel
Joel

November 18th, 2007, 11:36 pm #23

Latest video addressing issues regarding Chantix. In reality, this information is not important for members of our board, considering they are all cold turkey quitters. There are likely readers we get at the board who may be using Chantix, or people who are going to ask our members what their thoughts are on the drug. The video explains what our concerns are with the medication, but also explains how we want people who are on Chantix to feel free to use www.whyquit.com resources to help secure their quits over the long-term.

Video Title: WhyQuit's Candid View About Chantix

Dial Up Version
http://www.whyquit.com/videos/chantix2.wmv
17.78 mb

High Speed Version
53.33 MB
http://www.whyquit.com/videos/chantix2_bb.wmv

Audio version
7.11 MB
http://www.whyquit.com/videos/chantix_audio.wmv


Total length: 48 minutes, 16 seconds

The video is a bit lengthy, but considering that people are asking us for our opinion on an issue that is regarding their health and safety, we believe that it is worth the time of any individual who wants to understand our in-depth views of the potential value and the potential risks of this and any other quitting product.

Joel
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Joel
Joel

November 25th, 2007, 12:25 am #24

In the 20th post in this string we referred to the following link, which now seems to be inactive: http://cbs11tv.com/local/local_story_267233942.html

I am going to attach what was in the original article at that site. Unfortunately, with the story down the comments board associated with that article also came down. In many ways, the original story isn't what causes us the most concern--as much as the responses that come from many many people who, when they see such stories, then report similar reactions. There are those who will write off this kind of negative response as a fringe element, people who by reading one story or one person's account of a reaction and then have the reaction because of a self fulfilling prophecy kind of effect. The truth is that this kind of reaction is fully plausible for some people. The reason that we don't accept this belief though for all such reports is that both John and I had been getting feedback from people, listing numerous problems, including but in nom way limited to the profound anxiety reactions long before this story ever broke or the event ever occurred.

Sep 24, 2007 4:29 pm US/Central

Chantix: Miracle Drug Or Dangerous Problem? Click here to read responses to this story. (CBS 11 News) DALLAS

It's called Varenicline. Smokers know it as Chantix. The pill is hailed as a wonder drug to help people quit smoking. But many are coming forward reporting bone-chilling side effects.

It was Labor Day when Carter Albrecht, a local musician, had a few drinks and swallowed his first 1 milligram tablet of Chantix to help him quit smoking. His girlfriend, Ryann Rathbone, met him at a club and they both drove home. Ryann says during the car ride, Carter didnt seem himself. He became abusive and later, delusional. By the time they arrived at the house, Ryann says Carters behavior had become aggressive. She says he hit her several times. She remembers being curled up on the floor in a fetal position to protect herself when Carter asked, who did this to you and why are you crying?

Ryann says he ran out of the house. Moments later, a shot rang out.

Carter was shot and killed while breaking into a neighbors house.

Family and friends say Carter was never a violent man. Both Ryann and Carters father feel that Chantix played some role in his death.

This isnt the only incident of people expressing concern about Chantix. Some of the bizarre stories people are reporting:

Deborah in Oregon felt suicidal.

Candace from Arizona felt aggression.

Karen from Maryland says she also had feelings of suicide.

Scott and Monica Mullins used Chantix to stop smoking and after taking the pill, Monica says she had terrible bouts of nausea and vomited all the time. Her husband Scott says he began to have bad dreams and horrible thoughts about ending his life. They stopped taking Chantix.

Chantix is manufactured by Pfizer. CBS 11 accessed the Food and Drug Administration's database of adverse side effects and found thousands of similar and very serious reactions to Chantix. Pfizer's patient information insert for Chantix lists only five "common" side effects. But in a separate insert meant for doctors, some rare and frightening adverse reactions appear listed in 1-millimeter size print. The list includes things like suicidal thoughts, aggression, and neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Chantix went on the market in August 2006. Pfizer tested it on fewer than five thousand people, which is considered normal.

In Europe, the drug is known as Champix. CBS 11 discovered the United Kingdoms Commission on Human Medicines, similar to the FDA, lists Champix on its new drugs under intensive surveillance and discussed a potential signal of a risk of "suicidal thoughts and behaviors" associated with this pill.

But the United Kingdoms Committee also states there is no evidence to suggest the pill increases those risks. Pfizer states the drug is safe and told us our analysis to date does not suggest a causal association between Chantix and violence. The FDA told us that Chantix is safe and effective when used according to the product's label.

This month Public Citizen, a political watchdog group in Washington D.C., put Chantix on its worst pill list.

The reasoning, according to Public Citizen, is that half of all drug problems arise in the first seven years on the market.

Dallas psychiatrist Bryon Adinoff specializes in addiction. He says he has no problems prescribing the drug and points out that using Chantix or other medicines with alcohol, like Carter Albrecht did, could lead to unpredictable results.

There's no warning to avoid alcohol while taking Chantix, and the pill remains popular among smokers trying to quit. According to Pfizer, patients on Chantix were 44% more likely to quit smoking at the end of 12 weeks.

There are three million people on Chantix in the United States. Ryann Rathbone used to be one of them. She copes with the pain of her loss by wearing Carter's ring around her neck. The inscription written in Italian says remember. Im convinced - Chantix played a big role," she said. "Nothing else makes sense.

In July, Carter asked Ryann to marry him.

You can report an adverse reaction to this or any other drug by calling the FDA at 1-888-INFO-FDA.
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