Kurt Niland

5204 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

Is Chantix better than nicotine replacement?

Smoking cessation today isn’t as simple as it used to be. Years ago, smokers had a couple of choices: cold turkey or hypnotherapy. Then, as awareness about the dangers of smoking grew, thanks to efforts by the government and independent health groups, so too did the number of smoking cessation aids. First came prescription-only nicotine gum, which was quickly succeeded by a procession-soon-to-be-explosion of over-the-counter therapeutic nicotine — gum, patches, lozenges. In 1997, the FDA approved bupropion (a.k.a. Zyban/Wellbutrin) for use in smoking cessation. Meanwhile, all sorts of gadgets and gimmicks flooded the market. And then came Chantix. Heralded by ... Read More

Suffolk County NY sues for return of Vytorin money

Suffolk County, New York, officials are seeking to recover public funds spent on Vytorin prescriptions for its employees. The county contends that defendants Merck and Schering-Plough delayed releasing the results of the ENHANCE trial, which indicated Vytorin to be ineffective and in some cases inferior in reducing the growth of fatty arterial plaque than generic statins alone. From April 2006 to mid-January of 2008, Merck and Schering-Plough withheld the ENHANCE trial results while they continued to aggressively advertise Vytorin. Suffolk County joins Congress and a growing number of individuals and municipalities in claiming it had been ripped off by the ... Read More

More veterans enrolled in Chantix study than originally revealed

George J. Lisicki, a Vietnam combat veteran and national commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), had harsh words for the Veterans Administration (VA) today. “Those in the VA who failed to properly notify America’s veterans that their medication could produce fatal side effects must resign their positions,” Lisicki said. “If not, then the VA secretary must take decisive action to terminate their employment.” Lisicki issued the off-with-their-heads statement in response to reports (link) that the VA may have acted irresponsibly in its study of Chantix using veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The VA originally said that ... Read More

VA warns veterans about the dangers of Chantix

Responding to widespread pressure from many congressmen, veteran’s organizations, and the general public, the Veterans Administration announced today that it would directly notify all of its veterans currently using Pfizer’s new smoking cessation drug Chantix. The number of veterans on Chantix is approximately 32,000. Chantix is known to create or worsen several neuropsychiatric conditions including suicidal thought and actions. All of the 940 veterans in the VA study had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 143 of those veterans were selected to receive Chantix. Those veterans were given the drug and $30 monthly payments. The FDA published its first Chantix ... Read More

Veterans groups react to VA Chantix tests

This week has seen a snowballing reaction to the joint ABC/Washington Times news report about the Veterans Administration testing Chantix on soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That snowball appears to be gaining speed and momentum. At least five congressman have queried the VA over the Chantix tests, and now a number of veteran’s groups are adding their voice to the chorus of anger. The VA study proceeded without interruption even after FDA warnings surfaced announcing a strong link between Chantix, depression and suicide, and other adverse side effects. Since the story broke, the VA has been trying to brush ... Read More

Outcry grows over VA Chantix tests

On Monday ABC News and The Washington Times broke a report on the Veterans Administration testing Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug Chantix on 140 veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The VA administered the drug to the soldiers without warning them about months-old discoveries linking Chantix to a range of neuropsychiatric behavior and illness, including depression, loss of sleep, vivid dreams, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal actions. Yesterday, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Barack Obama (D-IL) rebuked the VA and demanded an investigation. Both the White House and VA officials dismissed the criticism, with White House deputy press secretary Tony ... Read More

Senators Obama and Cornyn question VA over Chantix tests

Yesterday, ABC News and The Washington Times broke a story about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) receiving Chantix as part of a study conducted by the Veterans Administration. Today ABC reports that Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are demanding an investigation. In the study, the VA gave 140 US soldiers with PTSD Chantix, not revealing to them that the drug had been linked to a number of physical and psychological side effects, including anxiety, nervousness, tension, depression, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, and actualized suicide. The Food and Drug Administration issued Chantix warnings ... Read More

VA testing Chantix on veterans with Post Traumatic Stress

Today, ABC News and The Washington Times uncovered a story that, if proven true, exposes some enormously unethical conduct in our nation’s leadership. According to the news organizations, the Veterans Administration chose to administer Chantix to 140 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ignoring Food and Drug Administration warnings that the drug has been linked to vivid dreams, psychiatric illnesses, and suicide, to name just a handful of the drug’s potential adverse effects. The VA waited more than three months before it began notifying the veterans of the dangers of Chantix. Even then, ... Read More

One in fifty Trasylol patients dies

A conclusive study of Bayer AG’s aprotinin injection Trasylol uncovered a grim fact: one out of every 50 Trasylol recipients dies. The study was conducted in Canada and involved monitoring the health of 2,331 high-risk heart patients. Known as BART, the study randomly administered one of three drugs to the patients: Trasylol, Cyklokapron (tranexamic acid) and Amicar (aminocaproic acid). BART sought to answer questions about Trasylol’s safety and efficacy, despite the fact that the drug has been in use for over twenty years. Was Trasylol more effective than alternative drugs in controlling bleeding during cardiac surgery? And, how did rates ... Read More

FDA announces withdrawal of remaining Trasylol

The FDA announced today that Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp. will begin removing all remaining supplies of the drug Trasylol (aprotinin) from warehouses and other medical stock. The decision comes following the preliminary results of a test that showed the drug greatly increased the risk of death. Trasylol is administered to patients undergoing heart surgery to slow bleeding and reduce or eliminate the need for blood transfusions. Beginning immediately, Trasylol will belong to a class of drugs that require a special protocol for use. Patients who are at a high risk for blood loss during coronary artery bypass graft surgery may receive ... Read More