"Basically, I noticed that depression was setting in very strong," Barbara says. "I cut down on the dosage myself and then quit it [Chantix] altogether. I couldn't even get out of bed. I've had past experiences with depression, but nothing like this. I think it's still affecting me to this day and it's been about a year, now."
Barbara says that she first noticed the depression within 2 weeks of starting Chantix. However, she thought that because the holidays were approaching, it was a normal depression that would sort itself out. As time went on, the depression got worse, to the point where she felt she could not function. Barbara saw her nurse practitioner, who told her that the depression was not because of Chantix, but because of quitting smoking. Barbara did not believe her.
"I had quit smoking before without pills and I hadn't had the same depression," Barbara says. "This was like nothing I'd ever experienced. I can't say that I had suicidal thoughts, but I can say I was very depressed. I didn't think about taking my own life, but I had someone here who supported me and that helped me a lot. I don't know what would have happened if there wasn't support here.
"Hopeless is a good word for how I felt. I didn't get out of bed except to use the bathroom. I didn't care about self-care—I would go for long times without a shower. I just had no energy or gumption to get up and take a shower. I would lie in bed and hope I could sleep. I would just let the day and the world pass me by and hope for no interruptions—just hope for the day to pass.
Four weeks after starting Chantix, Barbara ignored medical advice and took herself off the anti-smoking medication. She says she is feeling better now, but believes she still suffers the effects from having taken Chantix.
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"I recommend not taking it [Chantix], based on my own personal experience. It's a nasty, nasty pill."