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Stop-Smoking Drug Chantix Linked to Suicidal Thoughts

Chantix can help people stop smoking, but it has a higher rate of suicidal and homicidal thoughts as a side effect than any other drug.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices monitors the reports of adverse drug events that FDA receives each quarter. In its most recent Quarter Watch report, patient safety analysts noted that the stop-smoking drug Chantix has a higher likelihood of triggering suicidal or homicidal thoughts than any other medication.

Comparing Chantix to drugs like Singulair, Paxil or Seroquel revealed that Chantix outnumbered the others nearly 3 to 1 when it came to suicidal or self-injurious thoughts. There was a five fold difference between Chantix and other drugs with respect to homicidal plans.

The authors of the report call for stronger, clearer warnings about the potential risks of this stop smoking drug, especially its tendency to trigger aggression and violence. The drug has also been linked to blackouts and impaired vision and probably poses risks for people such as pilots, air traffic controllers, fire fighters and other first responders.

[ISMP Quarter Watch, Sept. 24, 2014]


Although quitting smoking is one of the most powerful actions one can take to promote health, people with a history of emotional outbursts, depression or violence might want to consider a different approach to stopping tobacco. There are many others. Chantix has helped many people quit, but others have found out too late that the drug can have disastrous side effects.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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