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This is going to be a long post so bare with me....

Please do not misconstrue this as NHS bashing because it isn't. I am a proud NHS worker.

Prior to my father's death in 2015 he had been taking champix as a stop smoking aid. Now let me make it clear, my dad as much as I loved him, had a long standing psychiatric history of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia and alcoholism to name a few.

My father sought help to quit smoking. He attended a stop smoking clinic. He filled in a questionare in regards to his physical and mental health, my father ensured that on this questionare he informed them of his psychiatric history and he also gave them information in regards to his current medication. Including Fluoextine, which he took for anxiety and depression.

My father and his wife (who attended all appointments with him) were never warned of the potential side effects of taking the medication Champix to stop smoking. They never once discussed his psychiatric history and they never once in his follow up appointments discussed his mood or any side effects or unusual symptoms he may have been having. My father had been a member of his GP surgery for over 20 years so they were well aware of his psychiatric history prior to prescription.

You see champix was trialed as an anti depressant, however many patients struggled with psychotic episodes and suicidal ideation. Resulting in many deaths and various other incidents. Yet it is being used as a stop smoking aid?! 

Symptoms from taking champix that my dad experienced included severe mood swings, paranoia, suicidal ideations, aggression, hallucinations and severe panic attacks. They exacerbated a lot of the things my father was already dealing with. And magnified them to a point that it lead to a sequence of events in which ended in his death.

What's even worse is many patients that take champix, even those without any psychiatric background have experienced similar to what my father did. And with no warning they did not all understand that it was champix causing these symptoms and side effects.

I am making it my mission to ensure proper procedures and policies are in place throughout every trust to ensure patients are screened properly prior to being prescribed champix. That they are warned of the potential side effects to their mental health and that they are monitored efficiently whilst taking it.

As a direct result of my complaint and the investigation from the PHSO and NHS England; NHS Northumberland have put in new policies and procedures. THIS NEEDS TO BE NATIONWIDE not just restricted to NHS Northumberland.

My father's death could not be prevented. But I would like to prevent further people having to go through his suffering. His pain and his mental torture.

Proper screening and policies and procedures are needed for this medication! I have written to NICE to see where they stand on the issue...

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