I had posted the following on my Quit Smoking Rx blog on January 31, 2009 03:15 (yes that is 3:15am – what can I say I am an owl).
What I fear most is that someone might read what I wrote regarding Chantix and decided to give-up on trying to quit smoking.
Chantix works 70% of the time. I know this. I have interviewed patients who took the drug and doctors who prescribe the drug and the 70% figure is a constant.
There is a lot of good science in the development of Chantix. Good people at Pfizer have sweated tears and blood to birng this drug to market and as such is the closes thing to a cure to lung cancer in a pill form.
Follow my reasoning. Lung cancer is universally fatal. You could probably count the number of people who survive lung cancer and die of old age with the fingers of one hand. However, the number one cause of lung cancer is smoking. So if you could get 70 out of 100 people to quit smoking with a pill. You have essentially cured 70% of the risk of death from lung cancer.
But what about the 30% for whom Chantix doesn’t work. For you there exist other options. Such as the patch, buproprion, and other quit smoking programs that use the power of suggestion to rid yourself of the urge to smoke. But whatever you do please continue on your quest to quit smoking because it is the number one thing anybody can do to become more healthy.
And nasti’s rebuttal to me:
In response to your note, please consider the following when opinionating on
the advantages of Chantix/Champix – Firstly – By Pfizer’s own statements the
percentage of success I believe is closer to 24% not 70%.
What of the hundreds who have committed suicide? The thousands that have
suffered aggressive behavior and severe clinical depression? The FDA’s
restrictions regarding air traffic controllers, airline pilots and truck
drivers? Heath Canada’s consistent and repeated warnings of the side
effects? All these are matters of fact and public record.
Remember as well that the drug was fast tracked to be approved by the FDA in
If this is an acceptable way to treat an addiction, why not make it illegal
to smoke, or better yet, have a smokers lottery where the “winner” is
incarcerated or better yet shot. Is that what we do for other addicts?
I would implore you to rethink your logic regarding the “Good Science”
(Pfizer stated that they did not know how Chantix/Champix actually worked)
Pfizer by their own admission did not perform complete testing of the drug,
ignoring persons with existing or predisposition to mental issues. That
could seem to be irresponsible for a drug which acts on the
neuro-receptors/transmitters in the brain. And then properly warn the
medical profession and the patients as to the potential side effects only
when forced to by the health agencies of several governments?
Pfizer has only created two drugs themselves – research what the track
record of the first one was.
What of the number of Multiple District Litigations in the US, the Class
Action Claim(s) in Canada and the ongoing investigations in The EEC?
You can not honestly expect us to believe your implication that smoking is
the only cause of lung cancer.
What I fear most is that profit has overtaken ethics and is such a siren of
desire that even professions that are bound by oath are compromising their
My answer to nasti is,
Thanks for your letter. It takes courage to disagree and state what one thinks.
Actually the number of people whom I have seen quit with Chantix is still around 70-80%. As I physician I can tell you what I have seen in my practice. But you may choose to believe it or not. And since I am not offering anything but my word. It is reasonable that someone may disagree.
As to my claim that lung cancer is caused by smoking you can read a third-party report by the National Cancer Institute on Trends in Lung Cancer, Tobacco Use and Tobacco Control. (#10-18) http://1.usa.gov/mNXtBR . The conclusion of this report agrees with my statement that lung cancer is caused by smoking. In this report you can see the intimate connection between smoking a lung cancer and the fact that as more and more people quit smoking you see lung cancer rates decreasing also. It doesn’t get any clearer than this in the field of medicine.
Again thanks for the letter. (Creative Commons License photo credit: xlordashx)