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"A Nurse Warned Me Not to Take Chantix"

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Richmond, VA"I went from being an active, social person to someone who thought everyone was against me and I thought they would be better off without me," says Stacey. "By the third week of taking Chantix, I had suicidal thoughts."

Stacey started taking Chantix in May 2007 to quit smoking and it almost worked; she decreased her smoking but she hadn't bargained for the side effects that started on the second day. "I was feeling really unhappy but never contributed it to Chantix," she says. "I thought it was because my son moved out--he went off to college. Then I started arguing a lot with my husband and he said my behavior was 'different'. I started sleeping until 11 in the morning—I normally get up at 6am and walk the dogs. Instead I got up at 5.30 and just let them out—they would run around the yard—and I would go back to bed. Even my mum tried to get me up but I stayed in bed. I was arguing with everyone; I argued with my son about stupid stuff.

Chantix DepressionI didn't think I was doing anything wrong—everyone just needed to leave me alone. I didn't want anything to do with anyone. I also thought I was slightly irritable because I quit smoking. But now I am no longer on Chantix, I can see what was going on.

I remember thinking that I would make everyone else happy if I wasn't around. (For the record, I'm adopted so I don't know if there is any depression in my family but I have never been depressed—in fact I am very extroverted. I will talk to a brick wall if it's in front of me.)

I just stayed in my room all day. When my husband got home, I would go outside just to show him that I was doing something—so he would leave me alone and not have a discussion about it. I am a freelance writer and I couldn't get my work done, I basically stopped writing—but the little that I did write was totally dark.

One day was really bad—I had an argument with my son who decided he would never speak to me again—that would upset any mother. But my son didn't know my emotional state; I told my husband and he became angry but once everything settled down I asked him to go to the store to pick up some groceries and over-the-counter sleeping pills. I went into my room and took the whole bottle of sleeping pills. And I was drinking lots of wine.

My husband is a city firefighter and he knew something was wrong - he found me and the empty bottle about one hour later. He took me to ER and they made me throw up. I don't remember much about it because I was so out of it and drunk.

The next day was so hard to deal with—looking at the disappointment on my husband's face. I asked him never to mention it again but he said we had to talk about why I did it. I promised I would never do it again.

I never blamed it on Chantix until two weeks ago when my mum had to get some tests done at the hospital. While we waited for her test results, a nurse was taking her vital signs and I mentioned to my mum that I was going to try to quit smoking again.

'How are you going to quit?' my mum asked.

'I'll try Chantix again because it almost worked last time,' I replied.

'Whatever you do, please don't take Chantix because it makes people have suicidal thoughts, and some even commit suicide,' the nurse said!

'That is why you attempted suicide,' my mum said.

I am so glad the nurse warned me not to take Chantix; I was going to get the prescription this week. That nurse could have saved my life.

Then I came home and did some research on the internet - that is when I found out how dangerous Chantix really is. Actually, I'm relieved knowing it wasn't me--it was Chantix and I wasn't just going crazy. I am going to quit smoking the safe way and go cold turkey. If I am going to be a bitch, I will do it on my own and not let any drug do it for me.

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