Some users of the anti-smoking drug Chantix are taking legal action against Pfizer, the drug maker. They allege the company manufactured the drug knowing it contained substances linked to cancer development. The following is a closer look at the lawsuit, as well as what you may be able to do if you’ve suffered harm.
Baptiste v. Pfizer Inc.
Baptiste v. Pfizer Inc. is a class action lawsuit filed in 2022 against the pharmaceutical company over its smoking cessation drug, Chantix. The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer knew or should have known the drug became contaminated with a known human carcinogen, n-nitroso varenicline.
The lawsuit claims the pharmaceutical company ignored warnings about its manufacturing standards and knowingly continued to manufacture Chantix and distribute the drug even though it contained the carcinogen.
In September 2021, Pfizer announced it had recalled all lots of Chantix distributed in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. between May 2019 and September 2021 due to concerns the drug contained n-nitroso varenicline.
What is Chantix?
Chantix, also known by its generic name varenicline, is a prescription medication used to help people quit smoking. It works by reducing the pleasure and satisfaction of smoking and reducing withdrawal symptoms when a person stops smoking. Chantix is taken in pill form, usually for 12 weeks, with the dose gradually increasing over the first week of treatment.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Chantix in 2006, which has proven very popular as a smoking cessation aid. Chantix can cause serious side effects, including nausea, insomnia, vivid dreams, and changes in behavior, mood, and mental health issues. The FDA has issued several warnings about the potential risks of Chantix, particularly regarding its effects on mental health and the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Despite these concerns, many people have found Chantix to be an effective aid in quitting smoking. Patients often use the drug, along with counseling and other support, to help them overcome their addiction to smoking. However, it’s essential for patients and healthcare providers to carefully consider the risks and benefits of Chantix before starting treatment and to closely monitor any potential side effects or changes in mood or behavior.
New Reports State the Risks Associated with Chantix Use
According to a report in the Feb. 16, 2023 issue of USA Today, Chantix isn’t the only drug recalled due to contamination. The blood pressure drugs losartan and valsartan, as well as the diabetes drug metformin, were also recalled. According to some estimates, people taking the highest dose of valsartan could have as much as a 1-in-3,000 chance of developing cancer. The acceptable limit, according to the FDA, is a 1-in-100,000 chance.
Side Effects of Using Anti-Smoking Drug Chantix
Some of the most common side effects associated with Chantix use include:
- Nausea: Many individuals experience nausea while taking Chantix, which can be mild to severe.
- Insomnia: Chantix may cause difficulty sleeping, insomnia, or changes in sleep patterns.
- Changes in behavior or mood: Some individuals may experience changes in behavior or mood while taking Chantix, including agitation, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
- Headache: Headaches are a common side effect of Chantix.
- Digestive issues: Chantix can cause digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea.
- Dizziness: Some individuals may experience dizziness while taking Chantix.
- Dry mouth: Chantix can cause a dry mouth, which may lead to other oral health issues.
Reports of Suicide After Using the Anti-Smoking Drug
The FDA issued a warning in 2009 about the potential risks of the anti-smoking drug, including the risk of severe psychiatric side effects. The warning was based on reports of suicidal thoughts, behavior, and completed suicides among individuals taking anti-smoking drugs. The FDA required Pfizer to include a boxed warning, the agency’s strongest warning, on the drug’s label regarding the risk of neuropsychiatric events.
It’s important to note that not everyone who takes Chantix will experience these side effects, and many individuals have successfully quit smoking with the help of the medication. However, people taking Chantix should be aware of the potential risks and seek medical attention if they experience any concerning changes in mood or behavior.
What Steps Can You Take if You’re Affected by the Anti-Smoking Drug?
If the side effects of Chantix affect you, take immediate action to protect your health. It’s also important to seek justice for any harm you suffer. Here are some of the steps you can take:
- Contact a healthcare provider: If you’re experiencing any concerning symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms and provide appropriate treatment and support.
- Report your side effects to the FDA: You should report any side effects or events to the FDA. This helps the FDA monitor the safety of drugs on the market and take action if necessary.
- Consult with an attorney: If this drug harms you, you may receive compensation. Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in product liability cases to learn about your legal options.
- Join a class-action lawsuit: There are ongoing class-action lawsuits against Pfizer related to the drug’s potential risks and side effects. Joining a class-action lawsuit can help you seek justice and hold the manufacturer accountable.
- Seek support: Dealing with these side effects can be difficult and traumatic. Seek support from loved ones, a therapist, or a support group. They can help you cope with any emotional or psychological challenges you may be experiencing.
If Chantix affects you, take immediate action. You can protect your health and seek justice for any harm you have suffered by seeking compensation for your damages.
McEwen Law Firm is a multigenerational defective drug and product liability law firm. We have been working to uphold the rights of everyday people across the country for over 30 years.