St Charles, IL: Karen's husband was trying to quit smoking and his doctor prescribed Chantix. "Then the doctor asked if I was a smoker—it would be too hard for him to quit if I didn't quit at the same time," says Karen. "We asked him if there were any side effects and he assured us there were none—how wrong he was."
"My husband Ken is on blood pressure meds and two years ago I had been hospitalized because of heart palpitations. We told the doctor about our medical conditions and he said not to worry, he didn't even check my heart. He just assured us that Chantix tells your brain not to smoke and doesn't affect your body except maybe some dizziness and nausea.
"We took it last February. The first dose is 0.5 mg and lasts a week; I got really dizzy and nauseous but I was expecting this and it was no big deal if it meant quitting smoking. Then in the second week the dosage doubled to 1 mg. That week was hell.
I almost lost my job as a volunteer because of my erratic behavior: I yelled at my boss and she is so kind to me. I was short tempered with everyone and I didn't care—I just started yelling. I attributed my temper to PMS or menopause because it didn't even occur to me that Chantix could be to blame.
One night my husband and I got into this horrific argument about food—he didn't want something for dinner. He threw a pair of scissors at me and I threw an ashtray in his direction. We have been married 27 years and never fight like this. Even if we disagreed, we would simply walk away. And I yelled at our 17-year-old son for no reason.
Thank god we talk at the dinner table. Luckily, my son knew we were on Chantix and we started talking about it. He went to the cupboard and got a list of side effects the pharmacist gave us when we picked up the drug. The side effects were listed on a separate paper, not from the Chantix maker. Anyway, my son read a litany of side effects. 'Ohmigod, why would you take this drug?' he asked. We quit, right then and there.
But we both had these doom and gloom feelings—I had never felt so low. I am healthy, I exercise and have a positive outlook. But to this day I still have nightmares. For the most part, the mood swings have leveled off but something is still not right. I talk about it with my husband but he says 'Whatever'—he'll work with a broken arm. And we are both still smoking. In fact I smoked more when I took Chantix.
You don't even realize mood swings at the time. And you wonder about the long term effects. I got my heart palpitations back. There were so many side effects listed such as suicidal thoughts and behavior—it could lead anywhere. What other harm could this drug cause?
After we stopped taking Chantix my husband was listening to a radio show about people who had actually committed suicide while on this drug. We went online and read more about all these poor people. I guess a lot depends on your frame of mind but neither of us had a history of depression, nor in either family. I emailed Pfizer, the manufacturer, and asked if side effects could be long term or permanent but I didn't get a reply.
I just want to let people know that Chantix is a terrible thing and that people are really suffering. It makes me sick to think that some have committed suicide—if you are already depressed, why take this? Why isn't the manufacturer talking to the medical community about the side effects? I already know the answer: they won't make any money.
I Have read most all the same stories and have had the many of the exact same type of side effects from using Chantix. i had been a smoker for 42 years and tried Chantix several times to quit as I found it can workI somehow it blocks the part of the brain that gives you the desire to smoke and It does say that it can increase anxiety or add a feeling of agitation ect. I am realizing after 20 something years that I am very sensitive to most ALL medications, mostly anti-phycotics or anti-depressants. And also suffer from a lifetime of GAD,But figured if I could somehow get through those terrible sid effects maybe this couldn't be any worse and knew beforehand that I was probaly going to have to deal with issues from this also, but I had to try! My life was at stake! I was willing to take the risk after I was diagnosed with COPD already and also had 2 family members who had died from throat cancer. I had tried many other stop smoking aids such as the patch, gums and including hypnotherapy, to no avail. I was also fortunate to have a physician at the time who was willing to prescribe me anti-anxiety to help me tempraily get me through the process and it did help quite a bit to counteract the effects of the extreme anxiety and agitation I was havingl. I started on the .5 mg and on the first evening of taking the 1mg dose ended up having a terrible nightmare, but had already been on my quite day and just reduced the chantix back to .5 again and stayed on that dose for another 2 weeks afterwards I had quit for 6 months before my natural anxiety had returned or the chantix had never completely left my system after i quit.
I found through my experience while on this, is to use a non nicotine e-cig (Not inhaling it) to help ease the habit of putting something into my mouth and had stayed on the anti anxiety until the drowsiness of it was more than I could bear. When my natural anxiety started returning a few months later, (or maybe the ongoing effects of the chantix continued or returned), I became anxious and tempted by friends that smoked and i made it ok to smoke just one cigarette which tasted awful, but eventually cheated a few more puffs here and there, and before I knew it I was hooked once again. After 2 more attempts with Chantix for short periods again, I had quite those 2 times yet again, but only for short periods (1 to 3 months) as long as I used the anti anxiety meds for a certain amount of time while trying. I am also sensitive to those as well (severe drowsiness with even a minimul and occasional dose).
The final attempt, I tried it the same way, using the anti anxieties to get me through the agitation part as best they could (in very small doses) and then found the doctor already told me he would not help with the anti-anxiety meds any more after this. Drs are too lazy to supervise you're medication intake I'm finding!
So shortly after my sisters death, i stopped smoking again the same way (after my first full dose and reduced to .5 for a week or so, i got off the chantax asap and stayed a non smoker for 1.5 years.
Unfortunatly I am not allowed to use any more anti anxiety meds now and went back to smoking after putting myself in an unsure and bad situation that included a one week stay with new found friends in another state for one week and I weakened and felt surrounded by many smokers and no non smokers and ended up back as a full time smoker. The only reason I had lasted so long was due to a good support system of friends who did not smoke that I had in place prior to that situation, but did not think to call them while in this very tempting situation.
I was desperate to continue to try yet again and without something to take to keep me calm through those terrible side effects, i of course failed. And now will not risk the amount of anxiety and agitation that can occur with this Chantix again!
My suggestion is to take it to full dose and expect a nightmare or vivd dreams, also be prepared for extreme agitation or anxiety and possibly heart arhythmia in some cases, Have a good support system in place and hope you're doctor can give you something to counter act that anxious/agitated feeling that is often associated with Chantix. Youre life may depend on it! My anxiety continues and cannot get relief, I am still so tense that i cannot swallow food well and am down to 100lbs, but so far no throat cancer!
If i had a question to ask, it is how long should I expect this extreme anxiety to continue after I've stopped taking it now?
Posted by Ryan
HI my name is Ryan I'm 33 I smoked for 19 years. I had a hard time trying to quit cold turkey but having asthma it was getting harder to breathe so I cut back. Went in to see a doctor about getting an inhaler again and she said it wasnt my asthma and gave me a ventilin puffer as well as prescribed me champix and warned me about suicidal thoughts. They were kinda regular I usto to think about suicide alot but it did from time to time my mood swings we're horrible everybody left me alone and when they did try talking to me I would just snap on them and I know it was wrong but I would get so posed off with anything they would say. I only took champix for a two week trial and almost a year later I still have my mood swings just not as bad I never had problems with sleeping either but since taking champix I just toss and turn all night with sleeping pills I get anywhere from 2 to 6 hours of sleep but I wake up feeling more tired then the day before I find myself dozing while standing at work doze on the bus I'm kinda scared to get my drivers liscense I'm lucky that my boss understands what I'm going through he's told me quit a few times that I can call in sick from time to time so that I might be able to some rest so I'm good to go the next day. I ruined a week off from work went on a vacation and it was awesome I enjoyed the time off and spent it with my girlfriend but I wasn't sleeping much at all so I came back into work the next week and called in sick after the second day to see if I could get some sleep. I've gone to a different doctor to see if they can figure it out and right now I'm waiting on some results to come back from the respiratory sleep specialist and if they don't have any explanation I'll be going to a sleep clinic so the doctors can monitor my sleep all night. I haven't had a smoke or a puff of a smoke since champix my breathing is awesome I'm not wheezing and coughing like I used to with my asthma but I just want to be able to sleep have every night a restful nights sleep.
Posted by Deb
My husband started taking Chantix quite a few years ago. He was on it or at least 3 years while smoking. There were a few stops during that 3+ year period. My concern how he is now. The last time he took Chantix was 4 years ago and he did stop smoking. I stopped cold turkey. How will the constant taking of Chantix over a 3+ year period effect him? I know how he is now and he has really changed. Does anyone know?
Posted by jacob
i took chantix for 3 weeks, and while on it to now 2 months later ive become horrible. i get furious with anyone who dares to talk to me, or even ask me simple questions like what time is it? my response is always negative and extremely rude. no cause for me to treat people like this but i do. i havent had the vivid dreams but i dont sleep anymore. ive missed so much work and become completely unreliable, i cant keep my train of thought when working or cooking, the only time i feel focused is when in a rage. i no longer read books, my body feels like its just slowly coming to a stop, every joint hurts and just standing is a living nightmare. i had a minor case of anti social disorder before chantix, and now i cant stand the people in my own inner circle. i feel so closed off and that in the end their just gonna screw me so why wait. nip it right in the ass now and just not deal with any of it. im not suicidal but i do have some startling thoughts of how to "deal with" random people i have never even met and done nothing more than give me a look i didnt like, or even just said hi. im losing my mind and my family and my career. chantix is evil in a pill. you will lose everything inside of you that makes you, you. and my poor poor wife, i feel even worse when i see her having to watch me fall appart. i want the jerks that make this garbage to take it and see if they feel human after.
Posted by Janelle Garner
I stopped smoking on October 4, 2014 using Chantix. The only side effects that I had were very nice dreams, I really didn't want to wake up until I had to. I haven't really desired a cigarette since stopping, it worked great, and I had been a smoker for over 40 years. That being said, what brought me to this site was looking to see if anyone else had reported COPD symptoms such as sudden shortness of breath. When I quit smoking, the doctor advised the beginnings of emphysema that wouldn't be corrected with quitting smoking, but made no mention of COPD. Now my oldest son is exhibiting these same symptoms after using Chantix to quit smoking. In many ways I feel worse than before I quit smoking, but wondered if I was only in denial or that smoking had covered up these symptoms. Now I wonder because of his same symptoms.
Posted by beverly Kearney
Kevin k..........have ur symptoms gotten any
Better........I hope they have for your sake and for mine?
Posted by beverly Kearney
Has anyone suffering with dizziness came back to normal I've been suffering with this for 2 monthes.......worst 2monthes of my life!
Posted by Jen
I took Chantix for 60 days (April/may 2014). I was successful in quitting after smoking for 24 years. I am a very active,fit, petite woman. I am an avid crossfitter and eat very healthy. Since I quit chantix, my personality has changed dramatically. I have no desire to be around people, I gained 45 lbs in 4 months and I have zero energy! I am the complete opposite of what I was less than a year ago. I have an appt with an endocrinologist this month..... I am hoping to get some answers. Other doctors have tested my thyroid and it came back normal. Has anyone else had these kind of symptoms ?? I am so frustrated!!! Mostly with the lack of energy and the weight gain .
Posted by Kevin k
My name is Kevin I took Chantix about three years ago . Immediately it affected my mental state and my anger increased and my irritability with people increased as well. With Chantix I was able to quit smoking and about within a week or two of quitting the drug and cigarettes I started becoming dizzy and my memory was poor. I also walked out of my job . I walked in one day and just quit which is something I would never of done ever. I was out of work for a year and a half to two years because I was so dizzy all the time and miserable I couldn't function. I've had heart palpitations dizziness exhaustion and all kinds of cardiovascular issues since I took Chantix. Prior to Chantix even though I smoked I was perfectly fine and able to exercise successfully. Of course my cardiologist and doctors can never find anything wrong with me and all of them just nod and say hmmmmm when I told them I've had problems since I took Chantix. I don't think any of them would ever admit the Chantix causes any problems in peoples lives. Anyways anybody have any suggestions on what to do or any similar experiences.. Kevin k
Posted by J M
Unfortunately, with the exception of nausea, the side effects of quitting smoking can be as damaging as the side effects of Chantix. I've quit both ways, and to be honest, for me, trying to quit cold turkey was much worse in terms of mental health. The cold turkey approach for me didn't really work, after about five days I was as close to psychotic, or manic, as I think I could've been without being committed to an institution. If I hadn't started again I believe I would have ended up in some kind treatment or trouble.
This is my second Chantix quit. The first occurred about a year ago. I had just turned 40, and as a physically active person I could feel the effects of smoking limiting me. It took me a while to stay quit last time, and I gained a pound a day for the first 2 months. From 160 lbs. to 215 lbs., my doctor actually commented that quitting may kill me faster than smoking. The weight gain caused blood pressure and blood sugar problems which self resolved after the drugs (Chantix and Nicotine) were out of my system.
Part of the weight gain was due to eating more frequently because have a full belly was the only thing that kept me from want to vomit, but by my calculations the increase in calories wasn't quite enough to account for the weight gain. Since stopping Chantix I have lost about 15 to 20 lbs., but it has required some additional activity (which is much more difficult now) and severely limiting my diet.
I also had the most intense dreams last time, and it resulted in me getting no more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep at a time. I could attribute most of the emotional issues to lack of sleep, but that is by no means a certainty.
So right before Hurricane Iselle I was in Hawaii and had a ton of work to do. My deadline was days away, but power was due to go out by the end of the next day. I knew I had to spend every waking minute with my face in a computer, and smoking always helped me get through those marathon sessions, and that was in almost two months ago.
I'm back on the Chantix again and most of the symptoms are not as bad. The nausea is still awful, but the dreams aren't as disturbing and I have been sleeping through the night. I have had an almost omnipresent headache though and have experienced some trouble with concentration and memory (I can never remember if I took the damn pill or not - right after I take it). I've also been cranky, but not as depressed as last time.
Given that I'd only been smoking a few weeks, instead of 25 years, (and not nearly as much) I would imagine that the reduction in symptoms may be due to a lowered addiction response. There have been some studies recently correlating smoking with mental illness and quitting with both psychosis and suicide. Ther have also been some studies that suggest children whose parent smoke have a higher incidence of behavioral problems at school and risk of 'getting in trouble' increases the longer they are at home. (This study included fighting, insubordination, disconnectedness, and over time diagnosis of learning or mental health issues, etc. - it was fairly comprehensive) One suggestion was that the children of smokers are going through Nicotine withdrawal daily and that for many of the students their behaviors may be linked to having a nocotine addiction. To be clear, certain ethical considerations, like giving Nicorette gum to a nine year old, prevented this study from drawing and hard conclusions but it does make one wonder how dangerous cigarettes are apart from their physical side effects.
For many of us, smokers and former smokers, I think we could agree that it is the cigarettes that need to be taken off the market as much as the Chantix.
I hope this helps some of you. Best of luck with quitting, and please support either removing nicotine from cigarettes (slowly so the world doesn't fall into total chaos) and/or tighter restrictions on the sale and promotion of cigarettes so future generation may be free from this scourge.
Posted by Michael
I've taken Chantix twice now (once in 2010 and again Jan. 2014, both times for a 3 week duration). The first time taken, I had increased dream vividness and the common dragging feeling that a lot of people experience but nothing intolerable. The second time was very similar; however, after discontinuing, my head felt very strange. The sensations I felt in my head were so bad that I started to panic that I had done permanent brain damage with Chantix. It's difficult to describe in words, but it felt like my brain was regaining circulation, similar to the tingliness of a limb after blood flow has been pinched off for a long time. I've occasionally described it to other people as a feeling that my brain either took an acid-bath or had been microwaved for a few seconds. It was a very intense head agitation that was accompanied by frequent headaches. It is milder today then the days following my Chantix discontinuation, but I've been off of Chantix for 5 months today and my head still feels a bit strange. It affects my concentration noticeably and generally overwhelms me with an uneasy feeling, to the point that I feel like I should just lay down and sleep it off.
As far as this being permanent or not, I certainly hope it isn't. You won't read much about people saying it gets better because only the current sufferers are the one's motivated to post anything about it. However, I've done my own research and have heard both good and bad stories. Some people say they went back to their familiar selves after a year or so, and for others much longer. Obviously some people are still battling with lingering Chantix effects like an unfamiliar style of depression or brain agitation. With all my sincerity, I hope it gets better for everyone. It's a terrible ride when you're one of the few that is affected this way.
Posted by Tim Pack
I had great results from Chantix, I took it 6 years ago and have not thought about smoking since. The medicine worked great for me and I was a 25 year smoker. Side effects were bearable for me just some nausea. I would and do recommend Chantix to others.
Posted by Heather M
I am sorry you had such a bad experience with Chantix. I however cant say enough great things about it. Not only did i quit smoking it actuallly improved my life. I became a happier person and much more friemdly while taking this marvelous drug. I even requested to stay on it because it made me feel so great. I think that eveyr drug affects people differently and before taking any medication you should research the side effects and see if the benifits out way the risk.
Posted by Sue
I think Chantix is a wonder drug. I've never been able to even consider quitting smoking before. I've smoked for 50 years,started as a young kid. I liked being able to smoke when I first started the Chantix, and it took me almost 3 weeks for the urges to smoke, to ease up. I also switched to a brand of cigarettes I hated, as my last brand to smoke.
I found I was not sleeping well, because the Chantix kept me too jazzed up. As I became tired day by day, I became really cranky. I stopped my nighttime dose, and started sleeping really well. My mood improved 110%.
I started Chantix mid October 2013, and by mid November 2013 I thought I'd quit smoking. Well, sometimes, once a week, I would take 5 puffs off a cigarette. In January 2014, it got to be once a day. So last week, I stopped even taking puffs. My urges would only last maybe 20 minutes, if I'd just hang tough, they'd pass. My 2nd refill ran out, and I thought I was good to go- 5th day off Chantix. NOOOOOO, I gave in and puffed a cigarette this morning. The urges last longer than 20 minutes now. So, I don't know but the Chantix works for me.
Those it made nauseous, are you taking it after a meal like the directions say?
Posted by Julie Palatinus
Five and half years ago I took Chantix and gave up in 10 days after 39 years of smoking. There were minor side effects but I had not choice I had to give up . I had noticeable fogginess of the mind not able to concentrate and slight memory issues . I still have the same fogginess now and then but the memory seems to be worse. I don't believe it returned to what it was at the time of taking Chantix
Posted by Sherry
My husband and I decided to quit smoking together. We both took chantix and the beginning side affects were nasty. Dizzy, light headed,stomach upset all the time. We both stayed on it for 2 months and decided to quit taking chantix. We both are not smoking still, but the side affects for me has been a lot worse than my husbands. He is still a little dizzy, really has to try hard to focus. It's been hard for him. I went to my doctor the other day and totally broke down to the medical assistance when she asked me why I was here today. I told her I didn't know what was wrong with me, I can't snap out of it. My heads in a thick fog, I can't remember anything, I have to write it down. I break down and cry really hard all the time. I don't even know why. I feel terrible about myself like I shouldn't be here anymore,no body really needs me, I have never felt this way before. I did not tell anyone that I have thoughts of ending my life some way and it wouldn't really matter. I need help now, and my doctor said that I am not getting enough sleep and that I am over weight and if I lost weight I would feel better. He said that chantix is out of my system and that's not my problem. He's wrong.. I have been married for 31 years and I was very happy. I love my husband, but keep having to say i am sorry for being so mean. its not me. I have 3 grown kids and 6 grandkids and one on the way. I love my family so much. I see my youngest daughter the most and she sees how messed up I am, she feels so bad for me.she doesn't know what to do. I feel like I am still taking chantix but it has been two months that I have been off of that terrible medication. Is there help for me? You could ask anyone who loves me that I use to be funny,fun, loving caring giving, energetic ,full of life. I scare myself now. I dont want to go anywhere talk to anyone, or even answer my phone. its a hazard for me to drive, its so hard to consentrate . I could keep going and I bet you could too if you have taken chantix..please don't take it. Take my word for what it is worth....you will never be the same.
Posted by angie Pe
i took chantix for 2 weeks,after one week of taking chantix makes me deezzy and vomit,i tried to handle the side effect because i want to quit smoking,i never had weird dreams,only vomit,but after i vomit i felt better..now im happy because i dont smoke no more,my husband is trying to take chantix now,goodluck to him..
Posted by Linda Allen
I'm with "Jason". I took Chantix twice, started back smoking each time. My husband says I haven't been the same since. It's gotten worse, anger, indifference, depression, defeated, rage, and MY HAIR IS FALLING OUT!!!
I tried to kill myself, I can't keep a job, and I'm sick of it.
Posted by mlee
I tried Chantix starter kit twice. The first time I quit due to terrible side effects. As time passed I started to think maybe it wasn't the drug, as it was still on the market. Then tried it again a couple years later, and I'm so sorry I did that. I've never been the same person and my sleep has been disturbed ever since. I've been seeing a Dr. and taking prozac, just trying to get back to who I was and sleep normally again. As of yet, to no avail. If you are considering taking chantix, document your reactions and save all your packaging. I didn't and now have no recourse.
Posted by Kris warren
My wife has taking this drug and and this was two weeks ago to she stop taking it because it made her sick, after she stopped she got paranoid thinks people talk about her at her work yelling at us shaking .... It's like she turn into another person as of today 5/22/13 not as bad but still paranoid this drug is bad
Posted by Jackie
My husband took chantix in 2010 for one month. He never was the same after. He recently committed suicide and my attempts to find answers as to why have led me back to his use of this drug. Have other people had lasting side effects with only limited use of this drug.
Posted by Jane
5 years ago I quit smoking by taking Chantix. My doctor recommended it after I recovered from a blood clot in my colon, near death experience. I had taken the birth control pill and smoked for nearly 30 years. The doctor knew I smoked and she still prescribed me "the pill" suggesting that I should quit. At any rate, my quitting was essential to living. I tried everything else on the market and resorted to Chantix. It did work and I feel like I've never smoked in my life. However, I'm not sure the side effects were worth it. I actually thought the side effects would eventually leave. I still occasionally have total blackouts. Sometimes I have episodes of mania that I don't remember especially if I had some alcohol. Never had any problems in my past with depression or blackouts or manic episodes. I'm now 55 years old and I really need to know if there is any retribution I can recover for this terrible drug and what it's done to my quality of life.
Posted by ron morris
I started Chantix in jan 2012 ,I have progressively become sicker to a point of inability to work. I haven't worked but one full day in 5 months. As I type this I am suffering Migraines, dizziness, nausea and weakness in muscles. I have the feeling I will be this way for the rest of my life as I have been dealing with it for so long now. I have spent many hours in DR.s offices , given enough blood to feed Dracula for a lifetime, been xrayed, and biopsies and still there's no answer for my ailment. It is strange my issues started with the use of Chantix..........
Posted by Mary Dean
I took chantix in 2007. I had an accident a couple of months before and had a traumatic brain injury, broke a rib and collapsed a lung. I was trying to quit because of lung problem.
Immediately I felt nauseated and dizzy. I never was able to up the dose. I remained on the same dose but continued to be sick. I became very depressed. I have never suffered a depressive episode-I have never fully recovered.
They need to investigate this drug further. I think it is very bad and would not recomend it.
Posted by Gail
I had been smoking for 50 years, took Chantix and haven't smoked in 6 months. Just weird dreams at first, no other side effects. Everyone is different.
Posted by Jason
Researching on my own lead me to this story.
I took Chantix in 2010 for about four weeks. I was so sick that I had to stop. I haven't been right since.
My moods are divided between rage and indifference. I no longer wants kids, or to be married. I just want to be alone. I have battled depression before, but it's different now. I am either angry or I don't care.
Am I going to be this way for the rest of my life?
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