Chantix Lawsuit and Litigation News

Chantix Lawsuits Abound

Chantix has been a popular smoking cessation aid for years, but has recently been called the most dangerous brand name drug on the market today due to its high risk of serious psychological side effects. Depression is one of the most common reasons for a Chantix lawsuit, and can get severe enough in some patients that they begin to consider or attempt suicide. In some cases, patients can start experiencing rapidly escalating depression symptoms within two days of starting treatment with Chantix. On the other hand, though, Chantix-related depression can sometimes stop once the drug stops being consumed by the patient. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and some symptoms can remain after the drug is no longer being taken.

Although studies have not yet found the scientific cause of Chantix-related depression, there are some theories as to why it could occur. Some postulate that patients who already have a chemical imbalance might experience worsening of it or a manifestation of it that has not happened before due to Chantix blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. Others suggest that smoking and psychiatric disorders could be linked, meaning that Chantix has little or nothing to do with the psychological symptoms patients are experiencing. Scientists are still pursuing the actual cause of these conditions and will hopefully soon come forward with an answer.

Over 10,000 Chantix patients have reported psychological side effects related to Chantix, leading to over 1,200 patients coming forward to file suit against the drug. The Food and Drug Administration has required strict amounts of warnings to be provided on Chantix packaging and prescription inserts due to the high risk of psychological side effects in Chantix patients, as well as other side effects such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and diabetes, both of which have a tentative link to Chantix.

Chantix Lawsuits: Who Should File?

Eligible individuals that can safely consider filing a Chantix lawsuit are any who underwent Chantix treatment for any amount of time and as a result experienced Chantix side effects. Chantix lawsuits are filed against Pfizer, the manufacturer of the smoking cessation drug.

The Chantix side effects vary widely and include: sudden aggressive behavior, depression, and suicide ideation. The smoking cessation drug has also been known to cause “physical” side effects including: blackout and diabetes.
Individuals who experienced or are experiencing Chantix side effects as a result of treatment should seek a Chantix lawyer. A thorough case evaluation can determine if the individual should seriously consider filing a Chantix lawsuit that could potentially result in millions of dollars in compensation for injuries and/or damages.

Chantix Lawsuits Consolidated in Multidistrict Litigation

Over 1,000 Chantix lawsuits have currently been filed (both federally and on a state level) in the United States. Federally filed claims have been consolidated in Alabama court. This process is referred to as multidistrict litigation (MDL).
MDL litigation has some similarities to a class action; mainly that pretrial workups are “shared” for the consolidated lawsuits. The main difference that sets multidistrict litigation apart from a class action is in multidistrict litigation individual suits are returned to the courts in which they were originally filed if settlement or other resolution is not reached. The defendant is welcome to settle with the various plaintiffs at any point during the multidistrict litigation process.

The first Chantix multidistrict litigation cases should go to trial in 2012.

Common Allegations in Chantix Lawsuits

Some individuals may be especially susceptible to serious Chantix side effects. Some pre-existing conditions that can increase the risks of experiencing Chantix side effects include existing psychiatric conditions such as: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or major depressive disorder. Individuals that fall into this category may also have a stronger case to wage against Pfizer due to the admitted failure on behalf of the drug manufacturers to test the drug’s effect on patients with serious psychiatric disorders prior to releasing it to the public.

While the drug was never tested or studied in relation to individuals with serious psychiatric disorders…it was very quickly prescribed to large numbers of people with previous experience with serious mental disorders or current issues with mental illness.

Some have lost loved ones as a result of Chantix treatment and the resulting side effects. These individuals may find that they are eligible to file a lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one against Pfizer, the Chantix manufacturer. The family of Carter Albrecht (who was shot dead by a neighbor in 2007 after Carter experienced a Chantix exacerbated mental breakdown) is filing suit on his behalf. Carter was the keyboardist for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. He was 34 years old.

Whether you are thinking about filing a Chantix lawsuit in your own behalf or on behalf of a loved one, the first step is to consult a professional. In this case the “professional” to be consulted should be a lawyer experienced in dealing with Chantix multidistrict litigation. Obtaining a thorough case evaluation will ensure that the process reaches its final outcome in the most expedient manner possible.

Chantix Diabetes: Risking Health while Preserving Health

Chantix, the prescription smoking cessation aid, has recently been criticized for its harmful and serious side effects – and is considered by doctors to be one of the most dangerous drugs on the American market. Psychological side effects including increased aggression as well as depression and suicidal thoughts have been linked to the drug, and a lesser-known side effect, diabetes, is more recently coming into the public eye.

Thousands of lawsuits have already been filed due to the psychological side effects associated with Chantix, but diabetes is a lesser-known side effect of the medication. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices conducted a study in 2008 that showed 544 complaints of Chantix-related diabetes between May 2006 and December 2007 – not a negligible number of cases, made more serious by the fact that only a small number of side effects patients experience are ever reported to the Food and Drug Administration. The real number of Chantix diabetes cases could be much higher. Diabetes as a potential side effect was never warned about on the drug’s label.

It is not exactly clear how Chantix diabetes develops, but it manipulates dopamine in such a way that doctors believe that this is what contributes to Chantix diabetes – the behavior of the dopamine results in a loss of glycemic control, leading to Chantix diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include sudden weight loss or weight gain, hunger, thirst, elevated blood glucose, and frequent urination. Diabetes related to Chantix can be permanent and eventually in many cases will be lethal.

The link between Chantix and the development of diabetes is still unclear, because medical researchers do not yet know whether Chantix or the act of quitting smoking itself is to blame for the disproportionate number of former Chantix users with diabetes. However, evidence is indicating Chantix is to blame, and as more and more reports of Chantix diabetes come in, the number of lawsuits is on the rise.

Chantix Side Effects Affect Sales

Chantix side effects are having a very negative affect on sales of the stop-smoking drug in the United States, although sales overseas are soaring.

A medical journal titled PloS ONE conducted a study in 2010 that connected Chantix to greater numbers of violent acts than any other prescription drug currently on shelves. The antidepressant Paxil is considered to be the second most dangerous drug in terms of violent side effects, and instances of violent behavior were found twice as often among Chantix users compared to Paxil users.

Some indicators of violent Chantix side effects can include unprovoked assault, inappropriately aggressive behavior, and suicide.

Chantix in Japan

Despite the widespread, highly publicized, and sometimes fatal Chantix side effects, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet issued a recall for the drug. Chantix has thus far been connected to dozens of deaths, and at this time there are more than 1,200 Chantix lawsuits underway in the United States.

While U.S. Chantix sales dwindle, the drug has taken off like a rocket in Japan. The New York Times recently reported that the stop smoking medicine became popular following an October 2010 tax hike on cigarettes in Japan. Now Japanese smokers are seeking Chantix prescriptions in droves.

Japan is known to be home to many cigarette smokers, and this fact was underscored when Chantix actually sold out completely for a time. Manufacturer Pfizer sells Chantix under the name “Champix” in Japan, and the company is now busy producing more of the drug to meet this overseas demand.

Chantix Black Box Warning Deflates Domestic Sales

Between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, U.S. Chantix sales fell a staggering 36 percent, owing in large part to the new “black box” warning which specified the risk of Chantix side effects such as thoughts of suicide and violent, aggressive behavior. As reported in the New York Times, domestic Chantix sales continued to fall another 16.8 percent in the first three quarters of 2010.

An announcement in late 2008 sparked this disastrous drop in sales, when it was made public that Chantix was the most dangerous brand name pharmaceutical in the country. ISMP, a not-for-profit consumer watchdog organization, conducted a study in 2008 that showed the FDA received more injury reports related to Chantix use than from the top ten best-selling brand name medicines put together.

No one is arguing that Chantix isn’t dangerous, and this fact is underscored by numerous Chantix deaths and Chantix lawsuits. And no one can argue that Japan doesn’t have a very serious smoking issue on its hands. The article in the New York Times reported that 36.6 percent of Japanese men are smokers, as compared to 24 percent in the U.S. Each year, approximately 130,000 Japanese individuals die from a tobacco-related illness.

Now people are watching to see whether these tobacco-related deaths in Japan will go up or down after this boom in Chantix consumption. It is also unknown whether there will be a spike in Chantix side effects, or whether Chantix deaths in Japan will be included in the statistics. Japan already has one of the highest suicide rates on the planet, and only time will tell if Chantix side effects will exacerbate this serious problem.

Dangerous Side Effects: Chantix Blackouts

The smoking cessation aid Chantix is an effective medication that can help many smokers let go of a deadly addiction. It has likely saved many people from a habit that is dangerous and unhealthy. Unfortunately, it also comes with many side effects – making consumers question why a pill that was touted as an effective stop-smoking aid and intended to improve their health and lifestyle was now plaguing them with serious side effects including depression, increased aggression, and suicidal thoughts. Some experts have even called Chantix the most dangerous brand name drug in the country.

One of the more serious side effects of Chantix is the Chantix blackout. Chantix works by increasing the dopamine release in the brain temporarily, which dampens cigarette cravings by making the user feel satisfied, as though he or she had just smoked a cigarette. This artificial rise and fall of dopamine, however, can throw off the normal pattern of vital nervous functions, causing temporary blackouts and vision problems such as temporary blindness. This can be especially dangerous in patients who are unaware of the potential side effects of Chantix, and are engaged in activities where vision and consciousness are crucial – such as driving a car or operating machinery. Between 2007 and 2008, Chantix was linked to 28 road traffic accidents and 77 falls.

Chantix has been linked to more than 8,500 reports of serious injury, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. This total probably represents a much lower number than what is the reality for the drug, since many Chantix-related injuries are believed to go unreported, especially if the patient does not know the possible side effects of Chantix and its impact on their possible injury.

Due to the issues surrounding Chantix, it has been banned in several more sensitive environments such as airplane cockpits and air traffic control towers, among other places.

Chantix Settlement Amount Could be Significant

Over a thousand Chantix-related lawsuits have been assigned to a multidistrict litigation court, which will likely speed the judicial process and result in a faster payout for victims of some of the more serious side effects of the drug. Chantix, which is a smoking-cessation aid manufactured by Pfizer, has several serious psychological side effects such as depression, increased aggression, suicidal thoughts, and rage. These lawsuits allege that Pfizer marketed the drug without an adequate warning of the potential side effects and with insufficient testing of the product on people with a history of psychological problems. It has also been alleged that Chantix is associated with physical problems such as seizures, vision disturbances, heart rhythm disturbances, and muscle disorders, among other concerns.

The Multidistrict Litigation Judicial Panel decided to consolidate Chantix cases into a multidistrict lawsuit due to common factors in the lawsuits. As of this week, there are approximately 1,200 Chantix-related cases in this multidistrict litigation suit, and the number will likely continue to rise. The multidistrict litigation proceedings will take place in the Northern District of Alabama under Judge Inge P. Johnson. This process will handle pretrial matters and will likely transfer cases back to the district in which they were originally filed for the remainder of the legal proceedings, as is often the case in multidistrict litigation.

Although it is not yet known what kind of settlement plaintiffs can expect, the number of cases filed and comparison to similar suits against large pharmaceutical companies have resulted in substantial settlements for plaintiffs and victims of side effects from an improperly-tested product. If no settlement is reached before trials get underway, the first cases will likely start trial sometime in 2012 – however, in multidistrict cases, it is common for the defendants to settle with many plaintiffs before the suit goes to trial.

Chantix Depression More Than a Side Effect

The list of common Chantix side effects listed in the product insert does not include Chantix depression or Chantix suicide. Rather, these conditions are allocated to a separate list of “potential severe side effects” that require immediate attention from a qualified professional if or when they manifest. This modified warning has been criticized for not being strongly worded enough, because even Chantix consumers without any past record or incident of a mental disorder have been found to experience a rapid onset of very intense feelings of depression and suicidal tendencies while taking the drug.

Chantix Suicide Identified Shortly After Drug’s Approval

The FDA approved Chantix for use as a medical aid for cigarette smokers who wish to quit. Pfizer, Inc. is the maker of Chantix, and the company continues to declare that the drug is an important and effective treatment that helps would-be quitters by preventing neural receptors in the brain from being stimulated by nicotine. This means that any pleasure smokers derive from cigarettes will be markedly reduced.

However, soon after Chantix was approved by the FDA a series of unfortunate events gave rise to an investigation in which experts linked Chantix to a slew of serious psychological side effects such as mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts, and aggressive acts.

Chantix Lawsuits Claim Insufficient Warning of Side Effects

In 2008, a man with no past record of mental disturbances killed himself after having taken Chantix for a few months. His widow filed a Chantix suicide lawsuit in July of that year, becoming the first plaintiff to take legal action against Pfizer, Inc. More lawsuits with similar allegations quickly followed, and as a result all Chantix lawsuits filed in federal courts have been consolidated under multidistrict litigation.

Many of these lawsuits allege that Pfizer failed to provide sufficient information about the true risks associated with Chantix. Furthermore, the suits claim, this misrepresentation was done intentionally and constitutes a reckless act on the part of the manufacturer. In addition, many Chantix lawsuits allege that Pfizer failed in its duty to perform adequate research on the medication, as well as failing to advise physicians and patients of the potential severe psychological side effects.

Early Chantix Trials and Warnings Flawed

The first Chantix drug trials excluded all people with a history of psychiatric disturbances and/or a present psychiatric condition. Because of this, the results of these early Chantix trials did not apply to anyone with a relatively commonplace disorder for example bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia. It has been determined that approximately two thirds of all current smokers have suffered in the past or are currently suffering from some type of mood-related psychological problem, whether mild or severe. Because such individuals were not included in the drug trials, and because such individuals make up a significant percentage of the potential population of Chantix users, this omission by the manufacturer does seem to be negligent.

In the original Chantix insert, the warning information specified a range of possible side effects including nausea and thoughts of suicide. Since 2006 when the FDA first approved the drug, the manufacturer has rephrased the warning information several times. In the end, the FDA obliged the manufacturer (Pfizer) to include specific information in Chantix’s black box warning so that consumers would be alerted to the side effects that could be potentially life threatening. This type of black box warning label is the strongest possible advisory that a prescription drug can carry.

Chantix Induced Diabetes: Unforeseen Complications

Pfizer, maker of anti-smoking drug Chantix, has been hit with a series of lawsuits surrounding the highly publicized psychological side effects of the drug. What not everyone is aware of, however, is the possible link between Chantix and a permanent, life-threatening condition – diabetes. Chantix was approved in 2006 by the Food and Drug Administration after only six months of review – normal reviews last ten months. The drug initially appeared to be safe – and certainly effective: it helped 23 percent of users quit smoking for a year, more than twice the effectiveness of a placebo. Clinical trials didn’t seem to show any risk of physical and psychological side effects associated with the medication.

However, the Food and Drug Administration announced only a year later that numerous reports of psychological side effects, such as suicide ideation, aggression, and depression, were noted in patients who had been prescribed the drug. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Pfizer to increase the warnings on the medication’s label – and in 2009 added a “black box” warning, which is the strongest warning the agency can place on a drug. It was now clear that Chantix was the cause of many psychological side effects – and now evidence is suggesting that it may contribute to physical side effects as well.

Between May 2006 and December 2007, the Food and Drug Administration received 544 reports that linked Chantix to new onset diabetes caused by loss of glycemic control. In other cases the drug has been linked to increased glucose levels, leading doctors to recommend against the drug for patients at risk of diabetes. Medical experts and Chantix lawyers are continuing to monitor the possible link between Chantix and diabetes, meaning that Pfizer could be at risk for flossing over the possible risk of diabetes posed by the drug. Lawsuits related to psychological side effects are currently pending – diabetes lawsuits may soon follow.

Pfizer Sued by Former Employee for Chantix Side Effects

Randall Sloan, one of the over 1,200 people who have filed lawsuits against the Pfizer corporation in regards to their smoking cessation drug Chantix, is a former employee of the company who claims that the drug has caused anxiety, depression, and aggression, among other symptoms – and even caused him to be hospitalized in March of 2008. He is not alone in his claims – hundreds of lawsuits claim almost exactly this, all because of one thing: Pfizer, even admittedly, did not test its product on people with a history of psychological disorders.

This is especially concerning because a large number of smokers are people with such psychological conditions as depression and anxiety – Dr. Daniel Seidman, director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University, says that “two out of three” smokers who come to his clinic suffer from some sort of psychiatric problem. Despite this, the drug was prescribed to patients who had suffered from these kinds of illnesses, Randall Sloan among them. Pfizer admitted in a news report in 2008 that hypotheses were correct and that they did not, in fact, test the drug on people with “serious psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder”.

Sloan filed his lawsuit in March of 2010 through the multidistrict litigation setup, which has helped to consolidate Chantix lawsuits and is similar to a class action suit. Multidistrict litigation helps streamline the process while steering the cases through the justice system. Sloan was prescribed the drug in December of 2007, which was a full year and a half before the Food and Drug Administration required Chantix to include a “black box” warning – the highest the FDA can mandate – to inform customers about the serious risks of psychological side effects. Although Chantix is meant to be a vehicle to help maintain a healthier lifestyle, the lawsuits prove that it seems to be doing just the opposite.

Chantix Tops Drugs for Violent Behavior

At least, when it comes to being a violence inducing and suicidal thought provoking drug. In a list of dangerous drugs published by The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Chantix was the clear winner. The list outlined at least 31 drugs that have been linked to aggression towards others. Chantix has been linked to suicidal ideations and aggressive behaviors since it hit the market. It works by targeting and blocking neuro-receptors in the brain that create and release dopamine. Without dopamine, there are no feelings of pleasure, and without those feelings, users become aggressive and suicidal.

The Reach of Chantix

Thousands of people have used Chantix since it was released. This drug is popular because of what it claims to do. It is a drug that helps people to stop smoking, and quitting smoking seems to be a hot topic these days. Unfortunately, the popularity of the drug also means that those same thousands of people have also been exposed to the side effects of the drug.

Chantix Side Effects out of Hand

Researchers put on the case of Chantix uncovered two particularly gruesome stories involving Chantix and suicidal behavior. In the first case, a 47 year old woman yelled at and physically beat her daughters just before killing herself with a gun. In the second case a husband who had only been on Chantix for a week hung himself after choking his wife.

FDA Forces Pfizer to Make Changes

Because of the serious risk for harmful side effects when taking Chantix, the FDA forced all packages of Chantix to be outfitted with a black box warning. The warning, which was added in June of 2009, outlined most of the harmful effects which might be picked up from the drug like aggression and suicide. The FDA also forced Pfizer to fund trials that would provide more data on Chantix and its side effects.

The researchers put on the Chantix case found that the side effects could effect anyone at any time. They also found that Chantix users targeted anyone near them and that there were no warning signs to help researchers determine who would develop what kind of behavior. The good news was that stopping the use of Chantix completely fixed all abnormalities.

Chantix Needs More Negative Attention

For all of the terrible side effects that this drug has, it doesn’t get quite the negative coverage that it deserves. Researchers all agree that more attention needs to be focused on the fact that Chantix can cause suicide or aggression.