The Surgeon General of the United States makes many warnings about cigarette smoking, including the risk of cancer and heart disease. But today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns about the potential for deadly side effects of nicotine suppression drugs. The side effects are not physical like smoking, but rather mental. The drugs used to assist smokers, called Chantix and Zyban, are studied and theorized to cause “bizarre behavior” in its users.
Bizarre behavior isn’t the half of it. The aforementioned drugs are suspected to induce suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and hostility. The FDA warns users of these prescription products to be monitored closely by their physicians.
Certainly, those who aspire to quit smoking should understand that smoking is a great health risk. Therefore, doctors caution that quitting smoking is a significant health benefit. However it is recommended that those using prescription drugs to achieve that goal, be warned about reporting any changes in behavior.
Some smokers who are trying to quit smoking have asked if “cold turkey” is a safer means of stopping, meaning without any medication. According to some doctors, the act of quitting smoking itself will cause withdrawal symptoms that can cause moodiness and other behavioral changes and the cold turkey method is not highly successful.
Based on the FDA findings, it appears that the drug Chantix is the riskier or the two. Zyban has a study result of 14 suicides compared to Chantix with 98. Though these studies have not been fully completed, the FDA takes early precautions in warning the public and applying a “black box” warning on the products identifying the risk to its users.
Pfizer, the maker of the drug Chantix, explains that it will continue to conduct clinical tests on its own with respect to the dangers of the drug, but contends that the, “drug remains an important tool for people who want to quit smoking”.
This safety news is bad news for many people who seek help to quit smoking. According to a study by the American Cancer Society, deaths attributed to nicotine and tobacco use has caused nearly 20 percent of the deaths in America. Since about 43 million Americans smoke, the deaths associated with cancer and smoking will far outweigh any side effects from nicotine prevention drugs. The death and taxes argument is doubled in the case of smoking. Based on studies by several American agencies, smoking can cause death. However, the financial impact of smoking has also become a good reason to quit now. The federal government as well as the individual states has imposed additional tobacco taxes that have caused certain hardship to Americans during this economic crisis.