Kurt Niland

5299 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.

Chantix played role in traffic accidents

By now we know that Chantix is dangerous for some people who use the drug, but mounting evidence suggests that people who don’t use it may also be harmed. Since Chantix became available for smoking cessation in August of 2006, the FDA has received a steady influx of reports connecting the drug to traffic accidents. Moreover, while the medical community and the media are focused on the negative psychiatric effects that some Chantix users experience, researchers now believe that the non-psychiatric effects may be worse. Thomas J. Moore, an independent researcher who analyzed the safety of Chantix for the FDA, told ... Read More

FDA broadens investigation of drugs and suicide

Many medical researchers find little surprise that Chantix has been linked to higher than normal rates of depression and suicide. Varenicline (the chemical name of Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug) goes to work directly in the brain by targeting certain receptors and simulating that feeling of having already smoked – that “full” feeling smokers feel after they’ve lit up one or two. Other pharmaceuticals that go to work directly in the brain include antidepressants, some of which have also been linked to behavioral problems and suicide. Now the FDA is paying closer attention to the potential psychiatric effects of non-psychiatric drugs. ... Read More

Vytorin, Zetia squeeze manufacturers

The cholesterol-fighting drugs Zetia and Vytorin, blockbuster drugs that once represented multi-billion dollar sales for Schering-Plough and Merck, now seem to be squeezing the pharmaceutical giants. One recent clinical study revealed that Vytorin and Zetia are no more effective than generic statins, which cost about half as much. Another trial suggested a link between Vytorin and increased risk of developing and dying from cancer. Prescriptions plummeted and along with them, company revenues. Government inquiries about the release and apparent manipulation of clinical data are amounting to a public relations debacle. Today, Schering-Plough announced that it will eliminate 1,000 positions from ... Read More

Chantix ads back on television

Next week, Pfizer will once again be running Chantix ads on television. Pfizer stopped running Chantix ads last year amid increasing concern over the drug’s side effects. The familiar tortoise and the hare ads will resume on Sunday, September 14, with lengthened warnings about potential side effects. The extended warnings will occupy 41 seconds of the ad, which will run for 90 seconds – 30 seconds longer than the old ads. According to an article in Forbes magazine, Chantix is in line to become Pfizer’s vital cash cow as patent protection for some of the company’s successful older medications expires. ... Read More

SEAS study may link Vytorin, cancer

Today in Munich, Germany, researchers presented all of the data from the SEAS (Simvastatin and Ezetimibe in Aortic Stenosis) study to the European Society of Cardiology. The SEAS study roused concern back in July when researchers revealed a possible link between cancer and the Zetia half of Vytorin. The study, which monitored the progress of 1,873 subjects, found that 37 of the subjects taking Vytorin died of cancer, compared to 20 subjects who died of cancer while receiving a placebo. The data is rightfully alarming, but the study’s leaders maintain that it is a fluke. To support their claim, they ... Read More

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