Chantix and Heart Attack Side Effects

A number of recent studies have suggested that the smoking cessation drug Chantix may be linked to significant and potentially life-threatening side effects, including heart attack. Chantix (varenicline) is commonly used to help addicted smokers quit smoking by reducing nicotine cravings and decreasing the pleasurable effects of cigarettes. Chantix is currently manufactured by Pfizer, Inc., and has been available in the United States since 2006, when it was approved by the FDA via a "priority review." This means the drug was subjected to only a six-month review period, as opposed to the typical ten months. The FDA approved the smoking cessation drug based on the drug's demonstrated effectiveness in clinical trials and its perceived lack of safety issues. Unfortunately, an emerging body of research has indicated that Chantix may actually be associated with severe side effects, including heart attack. If you took Chantix to quit smoking and have since suffered from one or more major side effects, contact a Chantix attorney to discuss your legal options.

Heart Attack Symptoms

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked for a period of time, causing the heart muscle to become damaged or die. Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries, which carry blood and oxygen to the heart. The most common heart attack symptom is chest pain, which may remain in the chest, or may move from the chest to the shoulders, arms, neck, abdomen, back, teeth or jaw. Other symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Fainting
  • Cough
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

Heart Attack Treatment and Prognosis

A heart attack is a medical emergency requiring immediate care. Heart attack treatment may include administering oxygen so the heart doesn't have to work as hard, placing an intravenous line to deliver medicine and fluids, or administering medication to reduce chest pain. Victims of heart attack may benefit from an angioplasty, a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. A small metal tube called a stent is often placed after an angioplasty to prevent the artery from closing up again. Living a healthy lifestyle is extremely important for heart attack victims to prevent another heart attack, which may include getting plenty of exercise, keeping blood pressure under control, limiting alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight. The prognosis for victims of heart attack depends on the extent of damage to the heart and where the damage is located.

FDA Warnings for Chantix Side Effects

In 2007, only a year after the drug was approved, the FDA indicated that the smoking cessation drug Chantix was associated with more occurrences of serious side effects than any other drug. Among these potential Chantix side effects were blackouts, irregular heartbeat, and seizures, as well as suicidal tendencies and abnormal aggression. The following year, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) published a compilation of its Chantix side effect findings, which prompted the FDA to order all pilots with the Federal Aviation Administration to stop taking Chantix. Shortly afterward, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, which oversees the bus and trucking industry, prohibited its commercial drivers from using Chantix. The Department of Defense also issued a similar Chantix ban for certain aircraft and weapons personnel.

The FDA issued a safety announcement in June 2011, warning patients and healthcare professionals that the smoking cessation drug Chantix may be linked to an increased risk of certain cardiovascular side effects in patients with heart disease. This FDA warning was influenced by the results of a clinical trial, in which researchers found that serious cardiovascular side effects were more common in patients treated with Chantix compared to patients treated with a placebo. According to a July 2011 Canadian Medical Association Journal study however, Chantix may increase the risk of severe cardiovascular side effects, including heart attack and stroke, by 72%, even in patients without heart disease.

Chantix Attorneys for Heart Attack Side Effects

Consumers who take Chantix expect the drug to help them quit smoking without causing them any unnecessary harm. Unfortunately, the heart attack side effect potentially associated with Chantix puts consumers at an unreasonable risk of serious injury and possibly even death. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack, and you believe Chantix to be the cause, contact a Chantix attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Chantix lawsuit against Pfizer, Inc. The main goal of Chantix attorneys is to help injured victims protect their rights and hold the allegedly negligent drug company liable for their injuries. You are not at fault for any side effects resulting from a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. By hiring a qualified Chantix lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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