Chantix: R&D Chief MacKay’s Personal Opinion

Pfizer Research Chief’s Personal Take on Chantix
Posted by Scott Hensley
With questions about the safety of anti-smoking pill Chantix hurting sales, Pfizer’s head of R&D took to the opinion pages of the local paper in support of the medicine over the weekend.

Martin Mackay

Martin Mackay

Martin Mackay (pictured) wrote in the Day of New London, Conn., about his firsthand experience with the health toll of “cigarette addiction, having watched both of my parents smoke for most of their adult lives and my mother die of lung disease.”

His basic message was in keeping with points the company hit last week in a roundtable meeting with journalists. Quitting smoking is important, but hard. Chantix, despite some risks, remains a safe and effective option, in Pfizer’s view.

The drugmaker has upgraded the cautions on Chantix’s instructions to advise patients to stop taking Chantix in case of agitation, depression, or unusual behavior. Thoughts of suicide are a particular worry. A heightened concern about risk from Chantix led the FAA to ban the use of the drug by pilots and air-traffic controllers last month.

In his Chantix defense, Mackay couldn’t stop with data alone. He invoked some hometown pride in Chantix, one of Pfizer’s “homegrown” medicines.

The active ingredient in Chantix was invented by scientists in labs in Groton, Conn., on the eastern bank of the Thames River. On the opposite shore, in New London, other Pfizer workers designed and ran the clinical tests that led to the FDA’s approval of Chantix in May 2006. Pfizer employs 6,000 people in the area.

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Smoke Free 90 Days!

Smoke Free 90 Days!

Wow! Now that’s a new record for me. It’s a miracle that’s for sure, one day at a time. Never underestimate the power of prayer. And I can’t forget the Chantix. I know I couldn’t have made it this far without it.

I have not been going to the gym. I miss going because it is such a great reminder that I no longer smoke. I tend to take it for granted that I am not smoking anymore. Can you imagine? As desperate as I was to stop and all those times I tried, I have now become complacent. When I go work out every step on that treadmill reminds me how lucky I am that I can breathe and still have the oxygen and stamina to walk two or three miles at a pretty good pace. Now if it gives me such a great feeling, why don’t I go? I have a million reasons. I forget to bring my shoes/clothes in the morning, my son works at 5:00 and needs my car most nights during the week, I never think about going in the morning before work, and I never think about going home changing shoes/clothes and then heading for the gym. Okay, no more excuses. I just figured out how I can overcome the minor obstacles I have thrown in my path. After all, I am paying for it every month, I might as well use it, right?

Well, our KU Jayhawks have made it to the Final Four once again. I am so excited. Those kids have worked hard and I hope they go all the way! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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A Post from my Son on Smoking

Smoke Free 80 Days!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

Nicotine is a drug used for relaxation, no? Nicotine is a drug used as sustenance due to frequent situations where one is expected to behave well beyond the so-called ‘rational’ task, to deal with the more than the expected……and only to those addicted. To others such a task is normal and easy without any chemical help. To those addicted, it is a staple of life.

I want to see Nicotine as a ‘drug of relief’ instead of a ‘drug of sustenance’ (AKA ‘BECAUSE I HAVE TO’ ). Thus, due to my stubbornness and my expectations of being perfect, I will only be smoking one pack per day from this day on, down from two packs per day. I got off work at 9:30 PM. It is 12:26 AM now, and I’ve had three smokes since then, the normal sum is around 15 smokes, amazing?….and it doesn’t bug me. Thus, why should the force of habit make me smoke when my natural dependence to nicotine doesn’t even WANT it? Answer: I shouldn’t. I should only ‘use’ such a ‘drug’ when I ‘need’ to.

I may never ‘need’ to….but it’s a step towards a future smoke-free life. I should never ‘need’ anything besides myself and those close to me, but the word ‘need’ is almost synonymous with the word ‘want’……Do I want what I need, or do I need what I want? One way to tell, and I’m trying to figure out that question by literally cutting my smoking in half.

This work is released to the public domain. I hold no copyrights, and no rights reserved.

After 5 Days-Back on the Chantix

Smoke Free 76 Days!

Wow! It seems like forever! I took Chantix for 6-weeks and thought I would try to get off of it because of bad things I am hearing in the news. I have not had any of the side effects-depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.-that they are discussing about Chantix. Anyway, I went off of it last Monday. It has a 5-day half life, sort of a self tapering system. So, by day 5, it is completely out of your system. Well, Thursday, day 4, I was kind of depressed and weepy,(which is exactly the way I am without my cigarettes.) Then Friday, I had a fully blown depression episode of crying and not being able to stop. That usually happens to me when I get off nicotine. When I would go to a lower dose nicotine patch is usually when I when get like that and smoke, hence I never got past 60 days before Chantix. When I am on Chantix I am fine, without it I could smoke just to make me quit crying. Anyway, I filled my Rx and got another six-week supply, (I only take one 1mg Chantix in the morning. I do not take two 1mg doses.) The one at night was just too much and I couldn’t get to sleep and when I finally did I didn’t want to get up. So one Chantix has been working for me for 6 weeks now.

So, I am back on the Chantix. Big deal! I did not smoke and I could of. There are plenty of people at work that would give me one. My son gave me a good idea on how to look at going back on the Chantix. He said, “Look at it like you do your anti-depressant. It is medicine, that helps you, not a drug.” Well, that helped me so much. As a matter of fact, my Doctor told me I could stay on it a year if that is what it takes for me not to smoke. I am not going to try and rush this thing.

It is a bigger risk to my life for me to smoke than it is to keep taking the Chantix.

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