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Linda Savage Will Be Pissed

from the San Jose Mercury News

Anti-addiction pills set back

Risk of depression dims enthusiasm

By Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press 

CHICAGO – Two years ago, scientists had high hopes for new pills that would help people quit smoking, lose weight and maybe kick other tough addictions like alcohol and cocaine.

from an unknown artist - found at The Jist blog

The pills worked in a novel way, by blocking pleasure centers in the brain that provide the feel-good response from smoking or eating. Now it seems the drugs may block pleasure too well, possibly raising the risk of depression and suicide.

Margaret Bastian of suburban Rochester, N.Y., was among patients who reported problems with Chantix, a highly touted quit-smoking pill from Pfizer that has been linked to dozens of reports of suicides and hundreds of suicidal behaviors.

“I started to get severely depressed and just going down into that hole . . . the one you can’t crawl out of,” said Bastian, whose doctor took her off Chantix after she swallowed too many sleeping pills and other medicines one night.

It may be possible to improve the drugs so they act more precisely. Chantix targets a different pathway – nicotine pleasure switches – and in a different way than the obesity drugs, which aim at the same pathway that gives pot smokers the munchies. That is one reason many doctors are optimistic that any risks about Chantix will prove manageable.

But doctors are no longer talking about so-called “super pills” for a host of addictions.

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Posted on April 24, 2008 by Editor

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