Oh, and it helps you stop smoking. Seriously, just be a grumpy jackass for a couple weeks and cold turkey smoking. The FDA is changing the warnings on the popular smoking drug to include seizure warnings, and lowering your tolerance to alcohol.
“Until patients know how Chantix affects their ability to tolerate alcohol, they should decrease the amount of alcohol they drink. Patients who have a seizure while taking Chantix should stop the medicine and seek medical attention immediately,” the FDA warns in a news release.
Yeah, because if you are vowing to quit smoking, you should consume more alcohol. I’m sure that makes sense if you don’t think about it. Some people who consumed alcohol while on Chantix reported increased drunkenness or aggressive behavior, or had increased memory loss.
The seizure risk was reviewed by the FDA from a database of literature for cases of seizures on Chantix. Either the user had no history of seizures, or the disorder was well-controlled prior to being prescribed Chantix.
“In most of these cases, the seizures occurred within the first month of starting Chantix. Information about these risks has been added to the Warnings and Precautions section of the drug label and to the patient Medication Guide,” the FDA says.
Reports of increased suicidal thoughts were not in the recent FDA warning (the drug has been black boxed for the behaviours already). The agency said in the release “not all types of neuropsychiatric side effects were examined, and the studies had limitations that prevented the FDA from drawing reliable conclusions.”
Well, that should make you feel comfortable.
Back in 2009, the FDA began requiring a ‘black box warning’ on Chantix for behavioral changes including “hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions.”
Pfizer is expected to complete a long-term safety study on the smoking drug this year. All the risk factors outlined above are being investigated.
Easily one of the hardest habits to kick, quitting smoking has immediate health benefits. Within 20 minutes, your heart and blood pressure drop. Two to three weeks after you quit your lung function increases. One to nine months after you quit the coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
Long-term, the health benefits are stark. Within a year, the excess risk of coronary disease is half that of smokers.
Five years? Risk of mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder cancer are cut in half. At the 10 year mark, your risk of lung cancer is half of a continuing smoker.
Why quit smoking today? It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a lifetime smoker or just started. You will benefit from tossing the packs in the trash.
- Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. These benefits apply to people who already have smoking-related diseases and those who don’t.
- Ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking.
- Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.
- Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
- The health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than any risks from the small weight gain (usually less than 10 pounds) or any emotional or psychological problems that may follow quitting.
What do the warnings mean for Chantix? Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking. Before starting any medications, have a full workup done and then discuss options. Everything ranging from support groups to over-the-counter drugs to prescriptions.