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Health news:
June 2010 - Dec 2013

Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0?

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution


December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects


November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet


October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women


September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?


August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?


July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives


June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's


May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains


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January 2008

Smoking meds: The Chantix story

The Chantix story - Chantix safety - Chantix efficacy: studies and the real world

Considering medications to quit smoking? Many are trying to find their way out of the hard-to-brake habit with the help of drugs supposedly fighting nicotine addiction. As usual, benefits - if any - do come with a price tag in the form of adverse health effects. Often time, drug users are not even aware of their health problems being drug-related. Once in a while, random events bring specific drug-adverse-effect connection into the public spotlight, resulting in a flood of complaints - and lawsuits - from newly educated users.

Such is a story of the Chantix, a novel nicotine drug designed to help smokers quit smoking.

What makes this story more important than just making Chantix users aware of potential risks associated with it, is that it once again brings to attention dangerous, profit-morphed marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies, with the FDA all too often acting as an accomplice as long as (in)humanly possible. Hopefully, it will ultimately generate public outrage sufficient to enforce long due changes in how the U.S. drug market operates.

A detailed analysis of the facts surrounding Chantix is given at WhyQuit.com, by John R. Polito. Here are the main highlights.

It all started after Ryann Rathbone went public with her suspicion that the aggressive behavior of her musician boyfriend, Carter Albrecht, ultimately resulting in his violent death, was caused by his use of this smoking-cessation medication (Dallas Morning News, September 18, 2007). Within a week, over 5,000 complaints related to Chantix were filed with the FDA, including 55 suicide reports.

Why so many, all of a sudden? Didn't these Chantix users know before that there are specific Chantix' adverse effects possible? Turns out - they did not.

Chantix side effects

When the FDA approved Chantix (varenicline) for the treatment of smoking addiction, on May 11th 2006, the manufacturer, Pfizer, Inc., only listed 5 common side effects for this drug: nausea, abnormal(?) dreams, constipation, gas, and vomiting. The rest of 160 adverse health effects reported in pre-marketing trials were buried in Chantix' "Full Prescription Information sheet". Only those categorized as "frequent" - which is not specifically defined but seems to imply greater than 1% incidence - number in at 28:

Diarrhea...Gingivitis...Chest pain...Influenza like illness...Edema, Thirst...Liver function test abnormal...Weight increase...Arthralgia... Back pain...Muscle cramp...Musculoskeletal pain...Myalgia...Disturbance in attention...Dizziness...Sensory disturbance...Anxiety, Depression...Emotional disorder...Irritability... Restlessness...Polyuria...Menstrual disorder...Epistaxis...Respiratory disorders...Hyperhidrosis...Hot flushes and Hypertension.

"Infrequent" adverse effects of Chantix - again, not specified, but according to Pfizer's related writings, likely to be in the 0.1% to 1% incidence range - include Anemia, Angina pectoris, Arrhythmia, Myocardial infarction, Tachycardia, Thyroid gland disorders, Conjunctivitis, Eye irritation, Visual disturbance, Eye pain, Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, Mouth ulceration, Esophagitis, Gall bladder disorder, Diabetes mellitus, Hyperlipidemia, Hypokalemia, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Amnesia, Migraine, Psychomotor hyperactivity, Restless legs syndrome, Tremor, Aggression, Agitation, Disorientation, Libido decreased, Mood swings, Thinking abnormal, Nephrolithiasis, Nocturia, Urine abnormality, Erectile dysfunction, Asthma, Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Urticaria, Hypotension, Peripheral ischemia and Thrombosis.

"Rare" adverse effects include renal failure, pulmonary embolism, psychotic disorder, suicidal ideation (thoughts), Cerebrovascular accident (?), Convulsion, Mental impairment, Multiple sclerosis, Psychomotor skills impaired, Transient ischemic attack, Blindness transient, Deafness and Meniere's disease.

Now, this is a completely different pictures of Chantix' "safety" emerging, isn't it?

CONTINUES: Chantix' safety