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Vets: Beware This Anti-Smoking Drug
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finally realized that it might not be such a good idea for returning soldiers, who already likely suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to take the quitting-smoking drug Chantix. Since the beginning of this year, Chantix has been linked to suicidal thoughts in people, and some reports claim its use has even led to violent, psychotic behavior. The VA is now mailing about 33,000 veterans a little note to let them know of the connection.
However, VA Secretary James Peake said the agency will continue to prescribe Chantix to those veterans who wish to quit smoking because there haven’t been any “serious problems” with its use. Only 2% of the 143 veterans with PTSD who took Chantix to quit smoking experienced suicidal thoughts, while 4.4% of vets who weren't taking Chantix experienced these symptoms.
The VA argues that the point of the study was to see if it is easier to quit smoking when smoking cessation treatment is combined with PTSD therapy or if the therapies are more effective separately. But is it irresponsible to withhold this information from study participants in the name of science?
We want to hear from you. Have you tried Chantix? Did you experience any side effects from it? [Associated Press]