Chantix Attempted Suicide & Depression Claimed in Hundreds of Lawsuits
By Matt O'Donnell
When the FDA approved Chantix in May 2006 to help people stop smoking cigarettes, many people didn't think twice about taking the drug. Only a few months after Chantix went on the market, however, reports started surfacing about users suffering from severe Chantix side effects such as depression, aggression and attempted suicide. Many of these patients had no history of psychological problems before taking Chantix, prompting the first Chantix suicide lawsuit to be filed in July 2008. Since then, hundreds of Chantix lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer for failing to warn the public about the risk of Chantix suicide and depression.
The Link Between Chantix and Suicide, Suicidal Thoughts & Depression
The link between Chantix and psychological problems like depression and suicide has been well-documented.
The proliferation of reported Chantix side effects in users across the country prompted the FDA to issue a safety communication for the drug a little more than a year after it was approved. In the November 2007 communication, the FDA stated it was evaluating postmarketing reports of Chantix suicidal thoughts, and recommended that healthcare providers monitor patients taking Chantix for behavior and mood problems. Nearly a year later, in November 2008, the FDA required new safety warnings on the product label, stating in a press release: "It appears increasingly likely that there may be an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms." These symptoms include Chantix depression, behavioral changes, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide.
Despite the FDA warnings, thousands of people across the country continued to take Chantix, many of them unaware of the warnings about Chantix side effects. In early 2008, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) claimed that Chantix, known generically as varenicline, accounted for more reports of serious injuries than the 10 best-selling brand name prescription drugs combined. According to the ISMP report, the FDA received over 1,000 reports of serious Chantix side effects, including 50 deaths, in the first quarter of 2008. In the previous quarter, the agency received 998 reports of Chantix self injury, with 78 Chantix deaths reported.
Not surprisingly, the first Chantix suicide lawsuit was filed soon after the report was released.
Chantix Side Effects Study Confirms Link to Depression & Suicidal Thoughts
A 2011 study published in the scientific journal PLoS One found 3,249 reports between 1998 and 2010 involving Chantix attempted suicide, suicide or depression -- significantly more than the number of adverse event reports associated with other smoking-cessation drugs. The Chantix side effects study found that Chantix was eight times more likely to be linked with a reported case of suicidal behavior or depression than other nicotine replacement products. Researchers concluded the study by saying, "The findings for varenicline (Chantix), combined with other problems with its safety profile, render it unsuitable for first-line use in smoking cessation."
The Chantix side effects study was published just two years after the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated hundreds of Chantix suicide lawsuits in a single court on Alabama. Plaintiffs involved in the Chantix lawsuit MDL want Pfizer to be held liable for injuries caused by Chantix, such as suicide, aggressive behavior, Chantix depression, Chantix heart problems, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
Chantix Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
The Chantix lawsuit MDL allows hundreds of Chantix suicide and Chantix depression victims to file lawsuits under the jurisdiction of one judge, but still allows each Chantix Plaintiff to retain his or her own attorney and receive an individual award if the case is won or settled. The award they would receive is typically much larger than any individual award expected in a Chantix suicide class action lawsuit. In a Chantix suicide class action lawsuit, hundreds of thousands of Chantix users are joined together. Once, or if, a Chantix class action settlement is reached, the class members would typically share the award, which could be in the range of thousands of dollars per claimant, rather than tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in some cases for individual Chantix depression lawsuits.
On the other hand, if the MDL settles, everyone who joined the Chantix lawsuit MDL would receive any financial award individually, unlike in a class action lawsuit. The Chantix lawsuit MDL lawyers will determine exactly what each Plaintiff will receive depending on the injury suffered. This may mean that those who suffered more serious Chantix side effects such as suicide will receive more than those who suffered less serious complications, such as changes in behavior. The Chantix suicide law firms litigating the MDL will determine this as the case progresses.
Chantix Lawsuits List Severe Side Effects