Flint, MI: Posted on the Chantix website is a litany of side effects: one of the most common is abnormal dreams. But scroll down and in smaller print the popular smoking cessation drug also lists "nightmares". Harriet didn't read the small print and neither did anyone tell her that she would have nightmares so bad she would be afraid to go to sleep, and she would sink into depression.
"I only heard about the positive side of Chantix," says Harriet (not her real name). "It was helping a few people at work to quit smoking so I asked my doctor to try it out." First, her doctor gave Harriet a smoking cessation test—a quick physical that checked her blood pressure and heart etc. and he talked about quitting smoking. But he negelected to tell Harriet of the psychological effects to look out for: they range from abnormal dreams to thoughts of suicide and in some cases, violent tendencies. "He gave me 3 packs of Chantix and I still have 2 packs in the closet," she says, adding that she is fortunate not to have taken all 3 packs.
"Soon as I started the Chantix I asked people at work who had taken the drug if they noticed any weird things happening. They had experienced mood swings, but I had nightmares. And I was more depressed than anything. I went back to my doctor—I even dreamed that I hurt one of my kids! 'I've given Chantix to several people and nobody has complained,' my doctor said. So I took it for another week but my moods got worse…
I am an outgoing person but I became reclusive and didn't want to do anything. I don't think it had anything to do with not smoking because as soon as I stopped taking Chantix my nightmares stopped and my depression lifted. And I had actually quit smoking temporarily—Chantix helped me to quit but this drug affected me mentally. Then I saw ads on TV talking about all these psychological side effects.
I saw a family interviewed on a morning talk show; they were talking about Chantix and their grandfather had committed suicide. His wife suspected it was this drug: at first he complained about nightmares. This drug takes you into a bad place. Lucky for me I didn't go down that far.
Last year sometime I started smoking again, probably a few weeks later. One girl at work stopped taking Chantix because of the psychological side effects and she also went back to smoking. When I found out the damage this drug could cause and there was a possible class action lawsuit, I wondered how the hell the drug company could make me take a drug like that and not tell me of the side effects. This stuff is crazy—the drug company should have done more research on this one. I know that nightmares are now listed on the label, but that doesn't mean people are going to read through all that fine print.
And it's a good thing I didn't listen to my doctor—he should listen to me! If I listened to him and stayed on this Chantix I might also be dead.
This is crazy—the drug company should have done more research on this one."
Chantix is already linked to suicidal behavior and terrifying nightmares, and it is once more being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, this time for causing blackouts, vision problems, and other serious side effects. During its premarketing development of Chantix, Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer, listed abnormal dreams as one of the most common adverse events and noted nightmares in some patients.
On its website, Pfizer lists the psychiatric disorders of Chantix as the following: Frequent: Anxiety, Depression, Emotional disorder, Irritability, Restlessness. Infrequent: Aggression, Agitation, Disorientation, Dissociation, Libido decreased, Mood swings, Thinking abnormal. Rare: Bradyphrenia, Euphoric mood, Hallucination, Psychotic disorder, Suicidal ideation.
According to the number of Chantix users LawyersandSettlements has interviewed, the rare disorders may not be so rare…
I have been taking chantix for 8 days now. I have no urge to smoke on it, and for the first time in a long time didn't even think about smoking. I had one bad nightmare about 4 days ago, but nothing I couldn't deal with. Today I'm picking up my kids from their grandmas and my wife from the airport then going on a road trip. I just awoke from the most vivid dream I've ever had. It all seemed so real, and actually started out quite pleasant. I drove to work with some girl in my Ferrari (I don't own a Ferrari, and don't work at the place I went to). I then realized in the dream that I was supposed to do all the things I'm actually doing today. That's when it turned bad. First I couldn't find my car I just drove to work. Then I found the car I actually do own but could not get my GPS to work. I then found my self in my house (which wasn't really my house) with people I didn't know looking for the bag I packed the night before (really) and not being able to find it. I was freaking out in my dream because it was way past the time I was supposed to pick my wife up, I realized I had her phone, I couldn't find the bag and my GPS wouldn't work so I couldn't find the airport. Then, somehow. I realized I was dreaming. So I started bashing myself in the head with anything I could find to wake myself up. I knew the position I was sleeping in when I feel asleep so I tried to do the same in the dream to wake myself up. Then more extreme bashing and cutting myself with glass. I didn't feel any pain, but at this point I was not sure if it was a dream or not. I finally awoke and it took me a good 5 minutes of looking through messages on my phone to convince myself that it was just a dream. Even now I'm worried that this is a dream and the dream was real. I think I need a cigarette more than ever know and that's where I'm heading next.
Posted by Big Quitter
I've been taking this drug for a week now & have experienced the nightmares & vivid dreams. It's worth it to me because the withdrawals from "cold turkey" are worse than Chantix.
Posted by anna maria
no crazy dreams, just vivid ones. in fact they are almost enjoyable- like any medication there are side effects and if it does not work for you- don't take it.
worked for me.
Posted by Eric
I don't know anything about getting any nightmares, however when I was taking chantix I had very vivid "x rated" dreams. The urge to want to have a cig started to go away after about ten days of use. I believe in this product, but if there are people having as vivid nightmares than my "good dreams", then maybe it IS something to consider.
Posted by Dustin
I've been taking it for 10 days now. It's amazing how easily it makes you want to put cigarettes down but I'm not so certain the pros outweigh the cons....at least not for me. My wife has cheated on me 8 out of those 10 nights in my dreams. These dreams are so realistic & vivid, I have woke up in tears a couple times. One of the two nights I was "lucky" enough to get away from the bad dreams, it was nightmares. Again....so realistic & vivid. Somebody had broken into my apartment & was choking me in my bed....my body was paralyzed so I couldn't fight back. Wife had to wake me up because I was flailing violently trying to fight back. The last night, I was "lucky" enough to not get choked in my sleep while paralyzed, somebody broke into my apartment & was stabbing my pregnant wife to death while she was lying in bed next to me.....& AGAIN I was paralyzed & could do nothing to stop it. She was crying & screaming my name while choking on her own blood....and I couldn't do anything about it. The bad dreams about infidelity tend to stick with me all day. They wake me up in the worst mood imaginable & have started causing paranoia & unwarranted relationship problems. The nightmares/sleep paralization are absolutely terrifying. So here I am at 3:15am scared to go back to sleep. I can't & won't bash the drug when it comes to quitting cigarettes because it has done exactly what is supposed to do & made it easy to put down the cigarettes, but personally I'd rather smoke than deal with these dreams & the moods they cause.
Posted by amber
Sorry it didn't work for you but...it has worked for many, so stop ruining trying to ruin it for everyone. I have experianced some bad dreams but expected to have a little of that. Every time I feel tired and lazy from takeing it I'm aware it's just a side effect of the drug i'm takeing to quit smoking. I'm sad that I only have one months worth of this stuff. My insurance won't cover it and I don't have 300$ for the next one. This has gotten me through the worst part of quitting. I will never go back! Thank-you chantix!
Posted by John Thomas
My friend took Chantix to quit smoking and he related the following dream to me. In this dream, he and 4 of his co-workers were running from flesh eating zombies thru a city. The whole day people had been turning into zombies, and killing the citizens around them. He and his band of friends finally found a warehouse that they sealed off from the zombies, and they all sat down to finally eat some food. All were scared, and he said they could hear the zombies trying to break into the warehouse and get them. In his dream, which he said was so vivid and so detailed and so three dimensional that it was beyond horrifying, one of his friends began spitting out his food and saying it was not very good to eat. And as he was talking with this friend, he began to realize that this guy was turning into a zombie right there in front of him. My friend woke up, completely soaked in sweat, stumbled to the bedroom light switch and turned it on. He said it took him about 4 minutes to realize that it was only a dream, and he said he had never been more terrified in his entire life. He never took Chantix again.
Posted by John Thomas
This drug gave my best friend nightmares that were in full colour and beyond terrifying. In one of his dreams, he was driving down the road with me and we were coming home from a fishing trip. He said that I told him casually that I was now dating his mom. We are the same age and his mom is way older, and also married, and I have never expressed any interest in her. So there was no background to support this strange dream in any possible way. He said that in his dream he took a filet knife and cut my throat as he was driving, pulled over and dumped my body, and drove to his house. He actually called me at 5 AM to see if I was OK! In his dreams, he BECAME a psycho killer, and in his dream it was fully justified each time in his mind. It was like doing anything you do every day-- like going fishing, or shopping. In his mind, killing was absolutely normal and even cool, he stated. This drug is SERIOUSLY MESSED UP!
Posted by heather
I just started Chantix on wednesday and last night I woke up at my moms after only sleeping for an hour because of a very bad nightmare that i almost started crying during it. I need to quit because I am having a hard time breathing. But after reading your article I might be stopping it and just have to keep using an inhaler to help me breathe.
Posted by Debbie
I just read your story and it sounds just like mine, I woke up screaming and crying this morning, called my doctors office and he called me right back (surprise) I started taking chantix Feb 14 of this year, I immediately had sever stomach cramping, but this worse part is the horribly vivid nightmaries and also I am very outgoing but have not wanted to go anywhere and I have been very depressed and have also had high anxiety, I will never take Chantix again ever and your post did help me to know that Im not the only person that Chantix affected this way Thanks so much Debbie
Posted by Ben
I took this stuff for a month, I can say this: I'd rather live a normal life with a dirty smoking habit than feel like I did when on this stuff. I have NEVER felt more odd, crazy, scared, or like I was about to freak out at any minute when on this stupid drug, it was like being in a horror movie 24 hours a day. This company should be sued for even letting this thing on the market.
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