May 11 2006 Chantix (varenicline) was approved by FDA. The promise of the drug was simple take this pill and you can quit smoking. A very unique and appealing proposition that sent shock waves through the medical community. Why? Because every doctor knows that smoking is the number one cause of preventable death. And quitting smoking is the single most important thing anybody can do to improve their health.
Pfizer the makers of Chantix claimed that after three months of treatment, 44% of patients using Chantix (varenicline tartrate) had given up smoking compared with 30 percent who were taking Zyban, the previous gold standard non-nicotine based anti-smoking drug.
Initially the drug appeared to be an huge success.
But problems arose with the drug, secondarily to people who were committing suicide linked to this drug. Now Pfizer has submitted a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for Chantix in essence acknowledging that there is a problem with this drug.
Chantix should not be used as a first line drug to quit smoking. As a matter of fact it probably should not be used at all.