Chantix and Stroke Side Effects

Recent FDA warnings and Chantix side effect studies have suggested that the use of the smoking cessation drug may be linked to significant side effects, including stroke. Chantix is currently manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. and has been on the market since it garnered FDA approval in 2006. Chantix was approved by the FDA via a "priority review," which means the drug was only subjected to a six-month review, instead of the typical ten months. Since its introduction, Chantix (varenicline) has been used to help addicted smokers quit smoking by reducing nicotine cravings and decreasing the pleasurable effects of cigarettes. The FDA initially approved Chantix based on the drug's demonstrated effectiveness in clinical trials and its perceived lack of safety issues. Unfortunately, researchers have indicated that Chantix may no longer be considered safe in helping consumers quit smoking, due to information about possible life-threatening Chantix side effects, including stroke. If you took Chantix to quit smoking and have since suffered from a major side effects like stroke, contact a Chantix attorney for legal help.

Stroke Symptoms

A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to a part of the brain is interrupted, preventing the brain from receiving the blood and oxygen it needs to function. If blood flow is stopped for a long period of time, brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. There are two types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, and a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain. Symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Trouble speaking
  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm or leg
  • Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Changes personality or mood

Stroke Treatment and Prognosis

A stroke is a medical emergency, and immediate treatment can save lives and prevent permanent disability. If the stroke was caused by a blood clot, clot-busting drugs may be administered to break up blood clots and restore blood flow to the damaged area of the brain. Other stroke treatments may include surgery on the carotid artery, angiography to find the clogged blood vessel and open it up, or surgery to remove blood from around the brain and fix damaged blood vessels. The main goals of stroke treatment are to help the patient recover as much function as possible and to prevent future strokes. The prognosis for victims of stroke depends on the type of stroke, how much brain tissue is damaged, what bodily functions have been affected, and how quickly the victim receives treatment.

FDA Warnings for Chantix Side Effects

In June 2011, the FDA issued a safety announcement warning the public that the smoking cessation drug Chantix may be associated with an increased risk of certain cardiovascular side effects in patients with heart disease. This FDA action was based on the results of a clinical trial, in which serious cardiovascular events were more common in patients treated with Chantix than in patients who received a placebo. However, a study published in July 2011 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicated that Chantix may increase the risk of severe cardiovascular side effects, including heart attack and stroke, by 72% even in patients without heart disease.

The year after Chantix was approved by the FDA, the agency's Adverse Events Reporting System indicated that Chantix was associated with more occurrences of serious side effects than any other drug. Among these possible Chantix side effects were irregular heartbeat, seizures, and blackouts, as well as abnormal aggression and suicidal tendencies. In 2008, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) published a compilation of its findings regarding Chantix side effects, which prompted the FDA to ban Chantix use in all pilots with the Federal Aviation Administration. Shortly afterward, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, which oversees the bus and trucking industry, prohibited its commercial drivers from using Chantix, and the the Department of Defense prohibited Chantix use in certain aircraft and weapons personnel.

Contact a Chantix Attorney for Help

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing over 140,000 deaths each year. If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke which you believe to be associated with Chantix, contact a Chantix attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Chantix lawsuit against Pfizer, Inc. The main goal of Chantix attorneys is to help injured victims seek financial compensation for their injuries, the medical cost of treating their injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by victims and their families. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. Drug companies like Pfizer are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held liable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies intentionally conceal the more serious side effects of their medications, in an attempt to make their products more appealing to the public. This deceptive practice exposes millions of consumers to unnecessary harm and possibly even death. With the help of a qualified Chantix lawyer, victims of potential Chantix side effects can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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