The FDA today announced ongoing safety reviews of the drug varenicline, marketed as Chantix and designed to help smokers quit smoking. You may remember the drug’s commercials with the rabbit and the turtle / tortoise in a race.
The early communication by the FDA about this ongoing safety review has to do with the possibility of increased suicidal and aggressive thoughts while taking Chantix.
Ostensibly, the FDA is going to try to determine whether the anecdotal evidence (at this point) regarding suicidal and aggressive behavior has to do with the drug Chantix, or the fact that those taking it are experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms – or both.
So far Pfizer, the makers of Chantix, are cooperating and have provided the FDA with cases that may be similar, according to an FDA statement.
For what it’s worth, I tried every quick-smoking gimmick in the book for about a decade: Patches, Pills, slowly going off, sudden cold turkey… Most of them worked temporarily, but none of them made me a “non-smoker”. I would still think about smoking and feel like I was missing out on something. Like I was denying myself something. Then I read a book called The Easy Way to Stop Smoking and it changed my whole outlook. I continued to smoke while reading the book, as instructed, but by the time I got to the end I really, honestly, truly did not want a cigarette anymore. The best thing about it was I didn’t miss them one bit. It really WAS easy. Just thought I’d throw that in there for what it’s worth, since I see a lot of people commenting about the Chantix recall are having trouble with quiting. I wish you all the best of luck. I know it can be hard, but stick with it because being a non-smoker is wonderful.