Can Champix (Chantix) Cause Seizures/Epilepsy?

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

N.B. Please read the comments after this post, as it now transpires that no-one should be prescribed Champix without having a particular gene test FIRST, or it could trigger epilepsy in people with no previous history of epilepsy.


*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.*

Check this out Widow Sues Pfizer

There is a link in that story to the actual lawsuit, and in that there is mention of evidence that Chantix not only triggers suicides, but many other nasty side effects including seizures. Recently I was contacted by a very distressed person who started having severe epileptic fits only two months after starting on the drug, and it has ruined that person’s life.

If anyone else has had seizures or developed epilepsy after taking this drug – or knows of anyone who has – with no previous history of either condition before taking it, please let us know.

The manufacturers of Champix/Chantix, Pfizer, have an impressive criminal record according to this article by Neil Byrne from 2009:

This week Pfizer settled with the Department of Justice for $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the DOJ. It resolved their criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products. Pfizer “off labeled” drugs for uses the FDA didn’t previously approve of. $1 billion was allocated to resolve allegations under the civil False Claims Act that Pfizer illegally promoted the drugs Bextra, Geodon an anti-psychotic drug, Zyvox, an antibiotic, and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug. What is worse is that Pfizer is a habitual criminal company since they have been found guilty before in a similar case.

Tony West the DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division was quoted by news releases, “Illegal conduct and fraud by pharmaceutical companies puts the public health at risk, corrupts medical decisions by health care providers, and costs the government billions of dollars”. Perhaps this massive fine will curtail Pfizer to some degree, but they will likely need at least three strikes. We think this is the beginning of more and more lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for cross labeling, inadequate tests and warnings, and drugs that create suicidal thoughts, and aggressive behavior. Consumers need to fully perform their due diligence before taking drugs which have clear controversial effects. Chantix and Zyban have a new warning that the drug can produce suicidal thoughts and behavior. Do you want to stop smoking or stop life?

Full article here.

If you live in the U.S. and are connected to a Chantix suicide case, this may be helpful to you.

If you just want to stop smoking safely and easily, more info here.

*Update, 27.02.12.  In EVERY SMOKER a gene test is required before Champix can be prescribed to make sure you do not have any genetic mutations that would make Champix trigger seizures.  Failure to do this in each and every smokers is “playing poker with peoples’ lives”.

Samantha Dearnaley has sent in this rather technical update from her own research… note the P.S. at the end:

Hi Chris,
just thought I would send you this:  Mutations in either a4 or b2 subunits can cause autosomal nocturnal epilepsy. There is evidence that
ADNFLE can be due to dysfunction of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAchR). The responsible mutation was subsequently identified as a missense mutation which replaces a serine into phenylalanine (ser248phe) in the a4 subunit gene (CHRNA4) of the neuronal nAchR. This mutation affects the second transmembrane domain (M2) which has been shown to form the wall of the ion channel. This has been the first, and to date only, mutation described in an idiopathic epilepsy. Mutations in mitochondrial DNA, cystatin B and defects causing abnormal neuronal storage, all resulting in neuronal destruction.
Varenicline an a4b2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, as you can see it works by binding to the same receptors a4b2. I have got this info from Oxford journals, Human molecular genetics.
Kind Regards
Samantha Dearnaley.
PS. I have had another person got in touch yesterday with similar thing, again after Champix. People who want to take this drug should have a gene test done, to see if they have any mutations before they take it, to stop this happening to other people. Its like playing poker with peoples lives. Would this drug still end up costing the NHS less that NRT if they had to do a gene test on everyone?  I don’t think so.
[Chris says:  Not sure it costs less than NRT anyway, though that may have been the hype.  Latest research from Harvard proves NRT doesn’t work at all in the long run – no better than willpower, anyway – didn’t someone say that years ago, though?  Oh yes, it was ME!  Thanks Harvard!  But they’re still prescribing it, aren’t they?  “Evidence-Based-Medicine”, folks!  Evidence is all that’s required to make it bona fide – any evidence will do – even hard evidence that it doesn’t work at all!]


Spanish Nicotine Costa Packet!

by Chris Holmes

I was interested to hear from a British ex-pat who has resided in Spain for most of the last ten years that the cost of Nicotine Replacement Poisoning in Spain has shot up during the time they were living out there. Apparently a packet of 105 pieces of delicious poison gum had gone from 16.35 Euros in the late 1990s to 27.70 Euros roundabout now.

She also told me that you cannot buy NRT just anywhere in Spain, like you can here. As I said in an earlier post on this blog, I’ve seen NRT on sale in the UK in Pound shops (where everything on sale only costs one pound), which suggests that it is not in great demand! The wasteful U.K. government ‘initiative’ of providing free patches for a week (courtesy of the UK taxpayer) that ran at the start of 2011 also suggests that the sale of NRT is seriously flagging here, and I sincerely hope that the Truth Will Out Campaign has played a part in that over the last 3 years!

In Spain, however, you can only buy NRT from the Pharmacies, which pretty much makes it a racket. Don’t bother, people, it doesn’t work anyway! 94% failure (see home page). Hypnotherapy, acupuncture, Allen Carr method – all far more successful if you want to quit smoking.

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam 

more about hypnotherapy option