Killer Chantix Champix Isn’t Magic

by Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

The weird and wonderful internet just threw up another amusing splinter of craziness in the form of an email message, sent through the Truth Will Out Contact Form facility, from a website called ChampixMagic.  It purported to be from a person called Jay, and it said:

Jay wrote:
Dear sir/webmaster,
I am the responsible person for link exchange at chantixmagic.com  I visited your site and feel, it’s a quality one and relevant to my site theme. So I hope that you would consider link exchange with us. If you determine that a link to our site is appropriate, Please let me know whether you are interested or not. If yes please provide your site info.

I find it very hard to believe that Jay has ever visited the Truth Will Out site.  I think it is much more probable that this message is sent out automatically to any site that mentions Champix a lot.  There follows here an excerpt from one of my earlier posts that mentioned it under the heading CHANTIX CHAMPIX KILLS, BUT A.S.H. WON’T TELL THE SMOKERS, and it also mentions the ChampixMagic site:

Now look at this, which purports to be a “Trusted Information Bank” about Champix (Chantix).  At the base of the page, a disclaimer states “We don’t encourage the buying and selling of Chantix without prescription”, which is a weird thing to claim when you can buy it right there, via the site!  It mentions nothing about any dangers, but says:

“Chantix is the latest blockbuster drug approved by the FDA on May 11, 2006 that is indicated as an aid to quit smoking. Manufactured by Pfizer Inc., Chantix offers a new approach, different from the existing smoking cessation therapies to quit smoking.”

It does not mention that the drug is now under investigation by the FDA for serious side effects.   Instead it uses crude scare-tactics in the first two, very badly written paragraphs about the dangers of smoking to suggest that Chantix is your ‘only hope’, if you are a smoker, to escape ‘certain death’. The site is called ChantixMagic and it is dangerously devoid of any serious warnings about how this medication could wreck your life or even end it.

In reality, Champix is a pretty faint hope because it doesn’t work for at least 80% of smokers even with all that hype.  In contrast, expert hypnotherapy has a 60% success rate in first sessions alone.  If you include the successes that took more than one session (some do, it’s inevitable, people are not all the same) then the overall success rate is well over 80% PROVIDED the therapist is a smoking cessation specialist with plenty of experience.

I should also qualify the above statement by saying that I’m talking about success rates in countries in which tobacco use is in general decline.  I work in the U.K. where only about 26% of adults still smoke, so smoking is not the norm.  In countries like Greece and China where there is a much greater proportion of smokers, the long-term success-rate of hypnotherapy would not be as high because the influence of other people smoking has a bearing on relapse rates for all quitting methods, including hypnotherapy – as does the general social perception of what is “the norm”.

So you see, ChampixMagic, I already have a link to your site but I don’t think it was quite what you had in mind.  Since all you want to do is sell more prescription medications without prescriptions or proper warnings regardless of whether it harms or kills people, I suggest you go throw yourself off a cliff.

safer alternative

 

Corruption at the Department of Health

by Chris Holmes

President Barack Obama said today: “Where there is inefficiency, where there is corruption, we expect those people to be held accountable.”

That is a fine democratic principle.  Well said, Mr President.  Of course he was talking about the government of Afghanistan, warning those people that they could not expect continued support from Western governments if they did not root out corruption wherever it is identified.

I take it, then, that President Obama would recommend the same remedial action to be taken within the U.S. administration and indeed their counterparts in the UK government, wherever it can be clearly shown that inefficiency and corruption are wasting valuable resources and attempts are made to conceal this, rather than rectify it.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy doesn’t work at all in the long term according to the government’s own research.  Already, following the press release in July this year from the smokers’ rights group Freedom2Choose which cited my research demonstrating clearly that the NHS advertising claim that smokers are “four times more likely to succeed” by using those services was actually false, we note that in the latest TV campaign promoting those services, the bogus claim has been quietly dropped!

This is not enough. Let me just remind you what the Borland report found when that group investigated the long term results of the NHS approach to smoking cessation at the 12 month interval:

What they found, at 12 month follow up, was that the in-practice treatment scored only 2.6% success at one year, whereas the Stop Smoking Services delivered a staggering 6.5%.  And then they actually had the temerity to officially conclude thus: “Where suitable services exist, we recommend that referral become the normal strategy for management of smoking cessation in general practice”.

Seriously folks, I ask you: is it possible to believe that anyone – any collective group of people – could be so unutterably stupid as to recommend the continuation of either of those approaches to smoking cessation, at the taxpayer’s expense, based on failure rates of 93.5% and 97.4% respectively?  Also, what happened to the supposed 15% success rate claimed by the Ferguson report?  Gone – reduced to 6.5% at best. This proves that the report was flawed and misleading and should never again be cited to market NRT products or NHS services.  No wonder they buried it.

Finally, if the 1992 University of Iowa report found 6% for willpower over very large sample numbers, as did Cohen (4%), then how is 6.5% “up to four times more likely to succeed”?

The fact is that it is not.

At the start of the Truth Will Out Campaign, I reported that smokers were being lied to about the effectiveness of these services and drug company products, and reproduced in the Evidence section of this site published NHS and DoH documents that claimed up to 90% success rates for short-term results (4 weeks), but did not report at all on long-term outcomes.  When they finally did, they claimed 15% success at one year, which I have now proved is also very misleading.

I said, right from the very beginning, that it was 94% failure.  Thank you Borland et al, you just officially confirmed it. (Reproduced from the blogpost Dept of Stealth 6)

These results do not indicate that smokers should be directed to the Smoking Cessation Services.  In fact they make it blindingly obvious that the whole sorry, stupid failure should be scrapped before any more valuable resources are wasted on it.  Any fool can see that, so before we start lecturing the Afghan government about corruption, we should take that fine democratic sentiment and use it to investigate the corruption at the heart of the British government, and the role of the global drug companies that are bleeding the NHS to death.

If you agree, link up – spread the word.  Let’s end it!  Where are the bloody investigative journalists these days?  Wake up, Health Editors!  THIS IS A SCANDAL!

*Update 15.01.10
Apparently in some NRT promotions this New Year the ‘Four Times More Likely To Succeed’ claim is still being used. This is not “evidence-based medicine”, unless of course the DoH and the MHRA are going to cynically attach that label to any officially approved medicines REGARDLESS of what the evidence actually is.

Hear that trickling sound, Doc? That’s the sound of your credibility steadily draining away. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.

**Update, January 2012: Harvard University report that NRT does not help smokers quit in any way.  August 2011 Tel Aviv University study confirms that smokers’ cravings have nothing to do with nicotine and that smoking is a habit, not a drug addiction – exactly what I said four years earlier when I first published:

Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was

Central Hypnotherapy