Archive for November, 2007

Chantix and Side Effects Lawsuit

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Chantix is a drug used to help people kick their smoking addiction. It differs from other cessation drugs such as zyban or the nicotine patches and gum in that it is a nicotine receptor partial agonist, the first approved by the FDA. It’s purpose is two-fold: it not only reduces the craving for nicotine, but it also decreases the pleasurable effects derived from cigarettes and other tobacco products. It was approved for sale in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2006. However, there have recently been lawsuits filed by those that used Chantix and suffered severe side effects.

The most common side effects of Chantix are nausea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, abnormal dreams, flatulence, and dysgeusia (an altercation in taste). However, some patients who used Chantix had more severe side effects such as thoughts of suicide and suicidal or otherwise erratic behavior. Because the drug is so new, it is unknown whether these side effects are the result of withdrawal from nicotine or due to the drug itself. The FDA has since released a notice advising health care professionals to observe patients for change in behavior when taking Chantrix.

One of the most high profile cases of the severe effects that may be caused by Chantix is that of Carter Albrecht. Albrecht was a guitarist and keyboardist with the band Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians. He died September 3, 2007 after being shot in the head by a neighbor as he tried to kick in his door.

Earlier that day, Albrecht had been having drinks with his girlfriend Ryann Rathbone at a local Dallas bar. After he become intoxicated, Rathbone drove Albrecht to their home where they both took their dose of Chantix. After that, Albrecht became incoherent and violent, breaking a glass and hitting Rathbone. When Rathbone left the house, Albrecht followed and she locked him out. He pounded on the door then went next door and began pounding on the neighbor’s door. The neighbor warned Albrecht to stop and fired a warning shot through the door, which hit Albrecht. Family and friends say that this type of violent behavior was atypical of Albrecht and believe that the use of Chantix caused the events.

Albrecht’s case is not the only one of normally calm people reacting violently and erratically after taking Chantix. If you or someone you know has had behavioral changes since taking Chantix, you may want to contact a lawyer about a lawsuit against Pfizer.