Sunday, November 7, 2010

Anti-Smoking Medication Is A Literal Killer

healthy lifestyle
If you really a want a healthy life, then stop smoking. Living a healthy lifestyle is difficult when you cant stop smoking. It is usually a good thing for someone to quit smoking. There are countless campaigns being run to help convince smokers to kick the habit, usually citing benefits for their own long-term health. However, there are also a few problems with quitting. Aside from the fact that it can be very difficult to go through, there is always a high risk of someone relapsing. There are medications that can help a person slowly withdraw from smoking, but a recent suicide case has brought to light the dangerous side effects of anti-smoking medication. You see, Omer Jama, a perfectly normal, well-adjusted father and husband, killed himself shortly after going off smoking and going on the anti-smoking medication Champix.

Champix, which Jama had been taking for a period of about two months, has long been a cause of concern for some groups. The list of side effects of anti-smoking medication like Champix is not very long, but very dangerous. Depression and suicide attempts related to the drug are nothing new, but most have been dismissed as coincidences in the past due to the victim’s previous psychiatric history. The reason that Jama’s case is different from previous cases is because, unlike many others, he did not have any signs of depression or anxiety. He also did not, according to the coroner who examined his body, appear to have any concrete idea of what he was doing at the time he died. From all indications of the people that knew him and spent time with him, Omer Jama was not acting any differently than normal on the day he died.

Jama’s family had no known history of depression or any other mood or behavioral disorders. While he was experiencing a trial separation from his wife, both his wife and children did not see any noticeable changes in his behavior. The couple also met regularly and was largely on good terms with one another around the time he died. From all angles, there was no indication that he was suicidal, that he was contemplating such a course of action, or that he was in any way depressed. Had this been the first case, it likely would have been ignored. However, I the UK alone, there have been five suicides and four failed attempts that have all been similar to Jama’s case – no prior history of depression and nothing that would drive them to kill themselves. The only common factor was the drug Champix.

The side effects of anti-smoking medication have never really been too prominent in the public eye until this case. Nausea was listed as the most common side effect of the drug, but any pharmaceutical product that affects the central nervous system’s chemical balance can cause worse problems. That, in essence, is what Champix was designed to do. It was designed to stimulate the same receptors in the brain that nicotine does, making the brain think that the person was smoking. Julie Evans, a forensic toxicologist, worked with the coroner and found that it was likely Jama had killed himself under the influence of the drug’s side effects and was not effectively in control of his actions – with some doubt on whether or not he was even fully aware of what he was doing.

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