I’ve been writing an article for another website on the best way to quit smoking (the Allen Carr method wins) and started looking up statistics for Chantix/Champix.
A search quickly throws About.com’s page on Chantix, which seems impressive.
According to Terry Martin’s article on the subject users achieved a 22% abstinence rate. Terry didn’t mention the dangers of Chantix, which seems irresponsible. (A 22% success rate would probably outweigh the dangers of the drugs, but people should at least have the all the information necessary to make an informed decision.)
Being aware of the fraud surrounding nicotine cessation aids (short term success acclaimed, long term failure ignored) I was a little bit suspicious.
Was the cessation rate successful after 1 week, three months or one year? It is relatively easy to give up smoking for a short time, much harder to stay off cigarettes in the long term. Indeed, a second reading revealed that only 2 out of 5 studies showed a 22% success rate.
As far as I can tell, the cessation rates were at one year.
What some digging did reveal was that the trials were conducted by the manufacturer, that the candidates were handpicked, and that intensive counseling was provided to the people on the trial.
According to WhyQuit, counselling alone can provide cessation rates of above 25%. There’s also a history of clinical trials proving to be more effective than actual usage. As Healthknot.com points out, trials conducted by manufacturers of nicotine gum produced success rates of 23-43%. However, when the same gum was sold over the counter, only a 7% cessation rate was achieved.
I’m also worried about the side-effects.
Doctors promoting the product assure us there are inconsequential. However, with side effects including nausea, vomiting, depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide, I’d like to know exactly what percent of people using the drug experience side effects. I am also very worried by the comments in this (pro-chantix) article, where several people claimed that the depression and suicidal thoughts did not go away – even after usage of Chantix had stopped!
Update: See here for an update on Chantix.