86% Failure Rate for Champix

“In a multicenter, randomized, double-blind phase II clinical trial, 638 men and women aged 18-65 who smoked an average of 10 cigarettes per day during the previous year, without a period of abstinence of more than 3 months, where put on placebo, bupropion (another drug used as a smoking cessation aid, brand name Zyban®), or different treatment schedules of varenicline for 7 weeks. Subjects were tested for continuous quitting by measuring exhaled carbon monoxide. After one year, the success rates were 14.4%, 6.3% and 4.9% for varenicline, bupropion and placebo, respectively.”

That was from WikiNews, August 15 2006. Link to this article at the end of this post.

This is interesting because it demonstrates what we can expect in long-term results from new medications (boosted by hype and fresh expectations) compared to old ones which no longer are. Elsewhere on this site I have quoted results for willpower alone from various studies giving us figures of anywhere between 4% to 8% when the results are reviewed at one year. So the placebo (dummy medication) figure given above, 4.9%, is entirely consistent with that. But look how Zyban (bupropion) had also fallen within the normal placebo or willpower range by 2006, whereas earlier reports had suggested it had long-term outcomes of around 13% to 14% – same as the new varenicline (champix, chantix) scores here. So will Champix too fall back within the expected range for willpower or dummy pills once all the hype has passed?

It seems likely. We have certainly seen that with Nicotine Replacement products which were credited with 10% to 20% success rates when the University of Iowa study was carried out in 1992, but we now know from several different independent studies that the current outcomes at one year are a miserable 5% to 6%, once again well within the willpower range.

So this indicates that even in 2006, the long-term outcomes of this so-called “new wonder drug” were no better than the previous “wonder drug” Zyban, which is no longer even managing a miserable 14% success rate now that it isn’t regarded by anyone as a wonder drug any more. Clearly, the difference is entirely accounted for by suggestion and heightened expectation.

That’s not science. That’s marketing. And a complete waste of precious NHS resources.

WikiNews August 15 2006

Hypnotherapy works best, according to the study by the University of Iowa. Find out more in the Evidence section of this site, and here.

Meanwhile, the reports of bad reactions are piling up just as I predicted last year (link).


13 thoughts on “86% Failure Rate for Champix”

  1. Yeah, that’s a good one. The key phrase being: “Although Champix wasn’t used in this study…”

    …which might continue “…we do sell pills that are supposed to help people stop smoking so we thought we could make this advert here look a bit like medical research, and hope no-one notices that this is just another bloody internet pharmacy (on-line drug dealer) that tries to cut out the middleman (doctor) and sell you any chemical concoctions you feel like buying.”

    But this site is not just any on-line drug dealer, oh no! If you click on “About Us” at the top, then click on the “Prices” tab to the left, you will learn just how ethical this bunch are! Here’s a flavour of it:

    “We do not underestimate the benefits of having a face to face consultation with a doctor. However with the advent of the internet and with people’s lives being busier than ever before, we act as a complementary aid in improving the lives of the many millions of people who want treatment for impotence, obesity and male pattern baldness in the UK.”

    Really? You’re a Godsend! But what is your vision, oh you angels?

    “Our vision is to deliver the unquestioned, publicly acknowledged best customer service in the internet healthcare industry in the World. With the help of our highly trained staff and with the use of the latest web technology, we are the first truely online clinic which conforms to MHRA guidelines. [“truely?”] We have achieved our recognised status by:

    •Not directly advertising Prescription only Medicines
    •Providing information on conditions and possible treatments
    •Allowing free online medical consultations…”

    Blah blah blah. By “not directly advertising” they mean disguising their advert to look like a news story on medical research whilst suggesting you might want to buy a product that they have to admit somewhere along the line (but not in the headline, of course, which begins with the word Champix for on-line seach purposes) wasn’t even involved at all.

    Way to “improve the lives of millions of people”, guys. How do you sleep at night? Do the Mob have a course you can go on, or something? Is there a pill? “Buy new Amoral Guiltaway, and sleep like a baby! As recommended by Dr Harold Shipman..”

    But who are “Health Express”, anyway? This looks for all the world like a medical site.

    “HealthExpress.co.uk is part of Hexpress Limited a company of the British Virgin Islands.”

    Ah. More about this sort of caper here. And here.

  2. How should we know that this is not a propoganda of tobacco companies who try to stop effective drug from helping people stop smoking?

  3. Let me help you out there, Angelian! Belinda is a non-smoker who nevertheless does some work for the organisation Freedom2Choose, which campaigns for smokers’ rights against increasing legislation, such as the attempt to stop mental health in-patients and people in prison from having smoking facilities. Freedom2Choose have no connection to tobacco companies whatsoever.

    I am a professional hypnotherapist and the author of a book on smoking which blows the whistle on government funding for quit products which they know perfectly well do not work. I have spent a decade helping smokers quit, so the tobacco companies would have no reason to like me. I am not a member of Freedom2Choose, but I have some sympathy with many of the things they object to, and do not believe that any further smoking restrictions should be brought in.

    Unlike Freedom2Choose, I personally do not think the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces should be repealed.

  4. this has been my second time on Champix, first time I had quit for 8 mths, and started smoking after my dad
    passed away. two yrs later I started taking it again
    it’s been almost 4 wks , and my side affects are totally
    different then the first time. My dose is one pill @
    morning. I found myself to be very agitated, Agressive
    and overly assertive. I am now a non smoker with no
    family or friends…lol But seriously, I am not liking this nasty person that I have become!! I am afraid to go off
    Champix,in fear I may start smoking again. My question is will this behavior,ever pass with time?

  5. @franca
    Read the instructions : you have to stop taking Champix IMMEDIATELY. Then ask your doctor.

    May I add that Champix is not useful to stop smoking, it does not prevent relapse… And that is the problem as you know now. Ask advice to a true professional (Chris why not!).
    Your life is probably worth a call.

    Randall (from Paris, France), quit smoking consultant

  6. @randall:

    using the word “relapse” you do contribute to medikalize life style…

    and this leads us to forced vaccines:

    the cholera shot NicVax ist 10 times more dangerous than Chmapix: you schall be able to stop the eefect dureing one monthj.. and they want to shoot you 6 times a year with the cholera virus.

    The idea of medicalizing smoking iS a PHARMARKETING STRATEGY.

    read more:

    so in ny case, if YOU SPEAK publicly about quitting smoking you make ads for Big Pharma: life style is a private matter which has nothing to do in the public space.

    Nobody would make so much noise about stopping eating potatoes or drinking coffee.

    you see what i mean?

  7. This is an interesting point tho’ we’re not at odds with each others’ aims here… I made a parallel point in a hypnotherapy session yesterday when I pointed out to a client that although we are often told that nicotine is “more addictive than heroin” (ha ha ha!) – problem drinkers are often told that they have to attend AA meetings for the rest of their lives, but no-one suggests ex-smokers (such as myself) would have great difficulty remaining smoke-free if they didn’t attend Smokers Anonymous for the rest of our lives!

    Why the anomaly, Doc? You really do need to STOP TAKING THE TABLETS and get your brains back in gear!

  8. AUSTRIA SMOKERS RIGHTS sent me another message through the Contact Us facility, but when I replied it was undeliverable so I will post my reply here:

    “C, have you read any of the Truth Will Out site in detail? I’m a hypnotherapist, but I’m not against smokers. I only work with individual smokers who tell me they want to quit. My site is NOT anti-tobacco, it is
    anti Pharma, entirely. I strongly believe that if governments are going to put public money into helping smokers quit IF THEY CHOOSE TO, then it should go into therapies like hypnotherapy and acupuncture because they are both
    effective AND safe.

    I also believe nicotine is useless but I don’t aim to stop anyone from smoking if they like doing that. Alcohol is bloody dangerous but I’m not suggesting drinking should be stopped! I think people should make their own decisions about it.

  9. Wow….I quit on Champix with no issues at all except for taking it once on an empty stomach. Made me feel nauseated. I smoked a pack a day for 23 years. Champix worked for me….three years ago. Plain and simple….#1- this guy is promoting a book….for money…for himself. #2- If you do not WANT to quit then you won`t, and if you start smoking again then it is because you WANTED TO. Enough with analyzing and blaming. And the title of that book is too ridiculous to even address.

  10. Thank you, Dan! Good to know I completely wasted my time for four years writing that (and for eleven years shutting down smoking HABITS in a single session with hypnotherapy) just because YOU say so!

    And then there’s this: Dr Reuven Dar’s study last year at the University of Tel Aviv that came to the same conclusion several years after I published the book: habit, not addiction.

    By the way, I smoked for longer than you did.

    You didn’t answer point 10. A gambler is a gambler whether they gamble or not, and have to go to GA every week to stay free of their “addiction”. The drinker remains “an alcoholic”, and has to attend AA meetings, according to the people who run twelve-step programmes. Nicotine is supposed to be “the most addictive drug in the world”, but no-one needs to attend Smokers Anonymous. “Too ridiculous even to address”, Dan? Sounds like you’ve never really thought about these things, you’ve just swallowed the ‘addiction’ message whole, just because compulsive habits like smoking are often hard to break with willpower alone.

    Finally: I’m just out to make money, am I? So I shouldn’t be trusted, is that what you’re suggesting? Pfizer have made hundreds of millions out of Champix, and people have died. They covered up 150 suicides – and many other bad reactions – in the drug trials. If they had not submitted that information to the FDA “through the wrong channels” so that they were missed in a crucial safety review, the drug you took would not have been on the market. If YOU had died, Dan, I’m damn sure your loved ones would not be so rude to me.

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