Chantix suicide warning strengthened by Pfizer

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted January 25, 2008


Pfizer indicated late last week that they are going to update the Chantix warning label. Information will be placed more prominently which suggests that doctors should monitor users of the drug for signs of suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential Chantix lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have committed suicide or suffered serious injury as a result of unusual behavior caused by the antismoking medication.

>>INFORMATION: Chantix Suicide Problems

Although the exact language of the warning has not yet been confirmed by the FDA, it does not appear from Pfizer’s statement that they are intending to place the information in a “black box” warning. A “black box” warning is the strongest type of warning that can be placed on a prescription drug. Many believe that the serious risk of injury or death which could be caused by the medication’s side effects justify a prominent “black box” to ensure that users and the medical community are properly informed of the dangers.

In November 2007, Pfizer added some information to the drug’s label about possible Chantix suicide risks, but that information was vague and placed in a less prominent section of the drug’s label.  The update was only made after the FDA indicated that they were going to review reports received about suicides associated with the drug, and many believe that Pfizer has been hesitant to provide adequate Chantix warnings since they are relying on the continued growth of sales for their new drug.

Chantix has been prescribed to more than 5 million people since it was introduced in May 2006. It has become one of the best selling drugs for Pfizer, and it is one of the few bright spots in their drug pipeline. Despite their knowledge about the increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts, Pfizer has heavily marketed the drug without placing adequate warnings about the possible side effects.

It is important for individuals to be fully advised of all side effects associated with a drug so that they can make an informed decision about whether they are willing to accept those risks in exchange for the potential benefits the drug may offer. If the Chantix suicide warning had been prominently offered earlier, many serious and fatal injuries could have been prevented by doctors monitoring for signs of unusual or suicidal behavior.


Last month we posted information about the Chantix suicide side effects on our Legal News and Updates Blog. Over the past thirty days, we have been contacted by many people who are interested in pursuing a Chantix lawsuit as a result of an injury or death which could be related to use of the drug. In addition, many Chantix users who have not suffered a physical injury have posted comments about their experiences with suicidal thoughts and unusual behavior.

If you, a friend or family member have suffered a serious physical injury or death as a result of unusual behavior or suicide while taking Chantix, request a free consultation and claim evaluation

22 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Lisa says:

    I may have not caused physical harm to myself, but my experience has not ended. While taking the Chantix (which worked on helping me quit smoking going on 5months) I have had massive bouts of anger, to the point I went to the doctor for a prescription. I do not take any prescribed medications, I believe in healthy alternative healing unless it is something major, then I go to the doctors. I am far from being a violent person, but to this day I have what I call “Sybil” moments. The prescription medication didn’t work. I cannot stand myself and the constant annoyance I feel with everyone around me. My children are begging me to go back to smoking, it has been mentally stressful for them. I have quit in the past several times and have never experienced such anger before. I don’t want to go back to smoking, yet I need to know how long this is going to take before the anger subsides, or if it subsides. I only took the Chantix for 3weeks before I started feeling this way and it hasn’t stopped. I hope someone can help.

    Posted on February 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

  • Dana says:

    Lisa, I feel your pain. I too also took chantix and am still cigarette free (almost 7 months) but I have never been a worse mother, woman or human being. I have hated myself since quitting, I hate everyone around me, I am mean, hateful, angry and volitile. This is very unnerving to my family and loved ones. I was always the uppity one. Now, I have no one. I have had several suicidal moments, several self-mutilating moments. Someone help me. I was never like this before. I am on a anti-depressant and a mood stabilizer, I was told I have harbored these feelings my whole life, you have to be kidding me!!! I have never felt like this, ever in my whole life. I would strongly advise against taking this medication, although I did quit smoking, I would never wish these side effects on my worst enemy. Someone please help me, I need justice.

    Posted on February 19, 2008 at 11:20 pm

  • Kris says:

    Lisa, you and I it seems are nearly identical. I started Chantix the end of October, took thru November. I “successfully” quit smoking as of November 16th, but my anger control is out out of control. My husband is a dear, and I rip his head off at any given momement. Most people annoy me to no end now. I have road rage that is of an unbelieveable scale – I am seconds away most days from actually ramming the IDIOT in front of me with my car. I am worried and don’t know where to turn. I tried Zyban on my doctor’s advice, it didn’t help.

    Posted on February 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm

  • J says:

    My Wife took Chantix for 3 months and quit smoking successfully. However 3 days after she stopped taking Chantix, she turned into a totally different person. She crys saying that she has no purpose in life. She screams at me and our son. She doesn’t sleep. The last few days, when I look at her and ask her what’s wrong her eyes fill up with tears and she says she’s scared and doesn’t know why she’s feeling this way. She stopped taking Chantix 1 month ago, do these side effects go away???? We have an appointment to see her Dr this week regarding her side effects. The thing is, when she received the perscription her doctor didn’t mention anything about what, it seems, alot of people are experiencing after taking Chantix. How can this be??

    Posted on February 25, 2008 at 6:19 pm

  • Jessica Brown says:

    I took Chantix and successfully quit smoking. The only side effect I ever had was nasea. I don’t think that the problems have anything to do with the drug. These can simply be problems because they quit smoking. Many people develop the same symptoms from quitting without any drugs. I could be wrong but I had been smoking for over ten years and never even tried to quit. Chantix worked for me after though and I had no problems.

    Posted on March 10, 2008 at 3:01 am

  • Michelle says:

    The problems DO have everything to do with the drug and NOT nicotine withdrawal. Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain. This drug acts on the release of dopamine, which is responsible for our moods. This is why there are so many warnings by Pfizer and the FDA. I am a normal individual working in the legal arena. I have been a closet smoker for nearly 20 years. I took Chantix for a week. Upon taking the drug, I immediately noticed I didn’t like the way it made me feel. About the third day of taking the drug as prescribed, the violent tendencies and outbursts started with fits of rage. I am a rather calm person. These rages took over me to where I was yelling and cussing and screaming at my family as well as being truly undoubtedly rude to strangers for no reason. My daughter was doing a research paper for school on the FDA website and crossed Chantix. She alerted me to the warning. I finally correlated the two. I just couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. After the fits of rage, I found myself lying in my office floor crying uncontrollably. After my daughter alerted me to the warning, I knew I had better stop the drug, stop smoking or continue smoking without the drug. I stopped smoking completely by Day 4 and discontinued the medication. It took a couple of days to return to a normal state of mind, but I have returned. Rather than see someone display what kind of rage I displayed to family, friends and strangers, I would rather tolerate the smoke and enjoy what years a person has left. I am by far not suggesting this will happen to everyone. I’m just warning you that “normal” everyday working individuals with no history of emotional breakdowns or depression, this medication can deliver one hell of a punch. Anyone who uses this medication needs to be monitored heavily by a physician, and the family needs to be fully aware of what symptoms to look for. I have known several people to quit smoking “cold turkey” to never exhibit these behaviors. I am very concerned that if an individual with an aggressive behavior or tendencies were to take this medication that it might lead to a heinous violent crime. PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE CONTRAINDICATIONS OF CHANTIX.

    Posted on April 9, 2008 at 10:24 pm

  • Peggy says:

    It is a relieve to see that I’m not alone in this situation. I took Chantix and quit for 15 weeks. I was so proud of myself. I had finally quit and I felt great. I didn’t crave it anymore. It was a miracle so I thought. Then I stopped taking the drug and it almost cost me my 17 year marriage. I’m the mother of two wonderful children and even my eight year old noticed something was wrong. It hurt so much when my child would look at me with fear in his eyes. I had turned in to a psycho. I would scream and yell at the drop of a hat. I said the most hateful things to my husband and worst I hurt my child’s feelings. I wasn’t sleeping, I felt so angry, so hateful. The day I throw a fit in the kitchen with the pots and pans because I couldn’t make supper fast enough to my liking. Mind you my husband and children watched as this happened. I knew I had to go and buy a pack. I felt like the biggest failure when I lit up again, but I knew if I didn’t that my loving and suppotive family wouldn’t last much longer. Since I have started again we have had some stressful days in our house, but at least I don’t lose it like I did before. I’m back to my calm self. Do I wish to quit again? Yes but I think I’ll do it a different way, no drugs thank you!
    To those of you that have quit and not lit up again my hats off to you and I hope things get better for you!!!

    Posted on May 8, 2008 at 10:42 pm

  • Cindy says:

    OMG…I thought I was all alone in feeling the way I do. I took Chantix for four weeks. I quit smoking in my 3rd week. It is now 83 days without a cigarette, and I HATE myself and my life. I wish I had never come across this dangerous drug. I thought that my side effects were a combination of the chantix over-riding my prozac (depression) and vicodine (back injury). But, as I have read, I am having the same side effects of everyone who has posted. I am just not myself any more. I can’t think straight, I go into rages especially while driving ( I even chased another driver down for cutting me off), I want to be left alone, I can’t stand being around people, I don’t want to be touched. I ended a relationship because all of a sudden I couldn’t stand being around my boyfriend or him touching me. I have no libido anymore. I hate the smell of coffee, and I used to drink at least 5 cups a day. Perfumes & shampoos are killing me. It’s like I have a bionic sense of smell now & it’s not for the better. I want to punch holes in walls and break things. I could keep going on & on with side effects…BUT, my question really is….WHEN DOES IT END?????? My doctor said this stuff could continue affecting me for up to a year. I won’t make it that long. Either I will be dead or God forbid…someone else will be. Can someone please help me….please

    Posted on May 30, 2008 at 11:53 am

  • Todd says:

    WOW, where do I begin?? I took chantix for 16 days total. My dad had just passed away from cancer “prostate,bone and finally brain” after a fourteen yr battle. I caught a bad case of upper respatory and went to my doc for a antibiotic. While I was there I told her that I wasn’t sleeping well due to my dads death and she prescribed some zanax to take before bed. I asked her what the greatest latest option for quiting smoking was and she said chantix. As I said I took it for 16 days , but what I haven’t said is that my rage grew so out of control that it landed me in jail on a domestic violence , resisting arrest, destruction of property,and malicisious use of a phone. My bond was $10,000.00 and my attorney is another $10,000.00. Thanks alot phfizer and i’ll see you in court. I went back to my doctor and she had no idea of what is out here happening to people and boy did I educate her. I wrote this because I here alot about rage and aggression but has anyone acted upon it ??? I’ve been with my wife for 11yrs and married for four and I love her with all my heart and would never lay a finger on her but I cant really say that I remember doing so either. My last 3 days on chantix were a blur at best . Please respond if you have or know someone who has been violent. Thank You

    Posted on June 6, 2008 at 7:28 am

  • Trent says:

    I can understand what everyone here has said, I took chantix for about 45 days and I quit smoking after abour 15 days. After the first week I was constantly depressed and had angry violent outbursts that is entirely not like me. I have screamed at my wife who is the sweetest person in the world and i had not so much as even raised my voice in the 3 years before taking chantix. I have punched walls, thrown items randomly and felt out of control of my actions…I quit taking chantix simply because of how i felt out of control and angry all the time…I wouldnt wish these side effects on anyone.

    Posted on August 6, 2008 at 11:40 am

  • brenda says:

    My significant other of 17 years is taking Chantix, on it for 2 weeks now and driving us all nuts. He is angry, has no patience with anyone and we hate to be around him. If he is not complaining, making horrible comments or just plain being mean, he is asleep, which he is doing a lot more now, too. He was always very laid back, easy to get along with, never yelled or complained. He is a totally different person. I am a smoker and not quitting at this time, but have sympathy for him. I smoke outside and not anywhere near him. How are we suposed to deal with this? So far we are ignorning it and trying not be home. We have 2 kids, 7 and 6, they dont understand that “daddy is grumpy” ALL of the time and are still going to act like kids.

    Posted on August 29, 2008 at 3:52 pm

  • Betty says:

    Well I agree with all of you except the jessica i guess you were the lucky one!!!!!!!!! I quit smoking in the 1990″s with Gods help for 5 years yeah it took a while to get through the nicotine thing BUT I NEVER GOT ANGRY. I loved people ia WAS a people person i have been my whole life i enjoyed everything life had to offer. then i started smoking again after a mother died. anyway in the summer of 2007 after months os hearing my doctor tell me i needed to quit, unknowing to her she perscribed me chantix i cut back on my smoking as recommended i thought this is wonderful i am going to quit smoking again. well it didnt happen that way i cut back alot was fairly happy for my success. but then one afternoon when my husband was taking a nap, before he took his nap i was in the back yard listening to Gods music and enjoing the i thought soon to be new freedom of nicotine well what happened next was a whirlwind i went from feeling happy about life to marching straight through the house past where my dear husband was napping and took every pill i could get my hands on. completely hated everything and everyone and obviously myself. the last thing i remember i woke up in a hospital after a thank God failed suicide attempt. im not the same person anymore i hate life i hate people im a loner i have no desire to do anything nothing makes me happy and by the way i smoke more now then ever i just dont care my poor husband a wonderful man is retired now and has to put up with my misserable self we thought when he retired we would just have the time of our lives not so i rarely get dressed anymore and i dont want to be around anyone so jessica you were the LUCKY one i hope it dosent hit you someday i never saw it coming the unlucky one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on November 14, 2008 at 1:05 pm

  • Heather says:

    I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 years now, he is the most laid back, easy to get a long with kind of guy. Nothing ever bothers him and he was always so good to me. Well he smokes, so he tried Chantix. He became the angriest person, I could not even be around him!!! Our landlord called one day and I told them he would call them back, he gladly agreed. When he got home I asked him to call and he said he would in a minute, a few hours went by, I completely forgot about it, so I was like oh I forgot you need to call the landlord. He was like oh yes and literally like flipping a switch started flipping out on me which is not like him at all. Now I am mad and I was trying to reason with him and he starts hysterically laughing at me like he was mental. This is just one situation, I was very close to labeling him bipolar! He noticed he didn’t feel right and stopped taking it. This was in October and he is just starting to act like his old self. He went back to smoking but I’d rather see him smoking then so miserable. Good luck to all you people out there, that drug is definately not something you want to mess with. I’m shocked it’s legal.

    Posted on May 2, 2009 at 1:26 pm

  • jerri says:

    This is insane I can’t believe there are so many others after taking chantix for 3 months or so I couldn’t stop crying I went to my doctor and he said I was under alot of stress and perscribed me an anti depressant, that seemed to make it worse I have thoughts of suicide, and I really feel worthless. I had a black out and apperantly took my friends car and wrecked it. I went to jail with a 5thousand dollar bond and had to pay an attorney 3thousand. The charges have been dropped but I lost my friend. People don’t understand. My husband of 19 years is at his wits end. It seems like there is no end in sight. I just hope and pray that this stuff hassn’t changed me forever

    Posted on July 1, 2009 at 4:46 pm

  • Polly says:

    I have been on Chantix now for 8 days. The first day it made my stomach really miserable and gassy, the 2nd and 3rd day it made me have horrible headaches. Now I just started on the 1 mg twice a day and it has made me feel tonight tired, things are slightly blurry, some strange but not nighmare dreams. I haven’t had any emotional issues at all. I am still smoking, but have cut down from like 10-15 cigarettes a day to maybe like 5 or something? It has helped me with not thinking about smoking as much. It is not that I just don’t want one, I don’t think about having one half as much! This is weird I have never felt so positive I could quit. So far this drug is a miracle drug for me. I also take Prozac for anxiety and lorazepam for anxiety. I have taken these drugs for a couple of years, so it is not new. I wish this would work well for everyone and sorry to you all that have experienced negative emotional rages and anger and such. I tried Zyban first and that one made me moody, my husband complained when I was on that. Chantix is working for me, and I am so sorry to you guys that have had problems with it, but a lot of people do just fine on it too. My Aunt currently takes it and has NO problems, and I know others and it is the same thing. Keep your head up, things will get better. 🙂

    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 1:58 am

  • elizabeth says:

    My husband has smoked for 35 years started when he was about 7ish anyway he just had a bad heart attack and the doc said he must stop smoking doc started him on chantix in the hospital and when he got out 4 days later he never smoked until a week later he was a little stressed and said he needed to smoke he took one puff and could not inhale it it was so awful tasting…. I was so happy it has been 5 weeks and into the 3rd week on the medication he started to become crazy angry and just hating life worry over little things – rage I took him to the dr.s and the doc gave him xanax and said to just take them when he needed them he is now taking 2 and 3 at a time drinks liquor with them. We do not take pills and nor do we drink ever. you would think that this would knock him out well it doesnt it just makes him loopy and awake and still nasty. I dont know what to do i call our dr. and he said just take him off the chantix so i didnt give him the pill this morning. I am just at my wits end I hate to be here and I want to get a divorce we have been married for 17 years. I just stay up all night and cry.

    Posted on December 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm

  • Beckie says:

    it’s nice to know I am not alone. I keep asking myself, when will this rage go away. I have been ‘smoke free’ for almost 8 months, but the rage still hasn’t gone away. I took chantix for three months. my husband told me that he wanted the sweet girl he had married back.

    Posted on January 9, 2010 at 1:38 am

  • carissa says:

    My husband took chantix over 2 years ago for about 3 months. Since he started taking it it had become so hateful to all of us (mostly me) we thought at first it was cigarette withdrawl so we excused it. After 2 years he is still hateful and mean. He says he knows hes doing it and and he cant help it. He says he has had terrible thoughts and feels like when hes around people he loses it. Could chantix be responsible for this also. I have begged him to go get pills to relieve his feelings and thoughts but he doesnt want the doctor to think hes lost it. Again its been 2 years and hes not the same person before chantix.

    Posted on April 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

  • Chris says:

    Hi I took Chantex for 2 months that was 8 months ago I still can’t stand being around people they just make me enraged with anger. I have always been very laid back and easy going no history of any type of mental illness or my family. Now I’m just down right mean but I can’t control it. Like I said its been 8 months now when will it end. I don’t even like being around my family anymore and just want to be alone that way I won’t have anyone to verbally abuse anymore. My wife and I have been together for 21 years and I’m afraid be ause of this behavior it will end. Does anyone know how long this anger will last? Please letme know i’m at the end of my rope here!

    Posted on April 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

  • Lairda says:

    I was prescribed Chantix in which I took for three months, and it did help me stop smoking (nearly a year now). But my suicide thoughts, my mood swings, my anger is so out of control. And the more I think about it these thoughts, out of control anger, mood swings didn’t get worse tell after I stopped taken Chantix. I’ve had mood swings before but nothing to what I’m experiencing now one minute I’m just fine next minute I’m crying for no reason. My anger is so out of control that I just hope that I don’t hurt myself or someone else because of it. My suicide thoughts, sadly to say my daughter has realized that I have them. Luckily she continues to check on me daily. I just want to feel somewhat normal again. I hope this behavior, these thoughts, etc. doesn’t continue for years (that truly scares me). If anyone has some ideas to help please help, I really don’t want to take any more medications.

    Posted on July 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

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