Chantix may increase risk of suicide in New York smokers trying to quit
Giving up cigarette smoking is one of the hardest things a person can do. Smokers will try just about anything that may help them break the nicotine addiction, but only 3 percent manage to quit for six months or more. Unfortunately, one smoking cessation aid may be more harmful to a smoker’s health than smoking, and some New York physicians have suggested that a cessation pharmaceutical may be adangerous product.
One research study has shown that the smoking cessation drug Chantix raises the risk of suicide and depression eight times higher than products such as the nicotine patch. Researchers recommended that smokers only try Chantix when it is clear that other treatments had failed. Even then, only 10 percent of smokers who take Chantix quit smoking for at least a year.
The new study contrasts with findings from two studies that the Food and Drug Administration released last month. The research results announced by the FDA showed that Chantix did not increase the risk of hospitalization for psychiatric problems. However, the FDA noted that those studies involved samples too small to take rare events such as suicide, assault, depression and aggression into account. Moreover, the only cases that those studies mentioned were ones that were severe enough to merit hospitalization.
The new study reviewed 2,925 cases that involved suicidal behavior or depression from 1998 through 2010. Chantix was only approved for four years of the study; however, 90 percent of the reported cases were related to Chantix. Only 229 cases were related to bupropion, the active ingredient in Zyban, a competing drug from GlaxoSmithKline. A mere 95 cases were related to nicotine replacement remedies.
Source: Reuters, “New study says Chantix raises suicide risks,” Julie Steenhuysen, Nov. 2, 2011