Chantix ruined my life! – Have you ever heard this before and wondered how this drug can ruin a person’s life?
Are you or your loved one(s) smoking incessantly, but you are looking for what to do to help you or him/her quit smoking, and Chantix has been prescribed but you are not sure whether to use this drug because you have heard negative reviews about the medication and people have described the drug as being awful for them?
Well, don’t worry, we will clarify your doubt and answer all the questions you might have concerning the topic – “Chantix ruined my life”.
This article shows some reviews from past and present Chantix users, how the drug affected them and how they coped with it to become hale and hearty again.
My article covers how this smoking cessation medicine can ruin your life, how to fight its side effects and how to recuperate optimally.
Chantix – What is it and How Does it Work?
Chantix, also known as Varenicline, is a drug used along with education and counseling to help people stop smoking. Chantix is in a class of medications called smoking cessation aids. It works by blocking the pleasant effects of nicotine (from smoking) on the brain.
Chantix (Pfizer’s branded name for varenicline) works by stimulating nicotine receptors in the brain, thus curbing cravings for cigs.
Chantix Ruined My Life! – How Can This Smoking Cessation Aid Ruin Your Life?
To answer this, I will drop verified reviews of this drug from those who have used it so that you can see or read for yourself how legit the statement; “Chantix ruined my life” is.
And the following sub-headings after the review will further let you know how this drug can ruin your life because by reading their contents, you will know the side effects of this drug, what happens if you miss or overdose on it, and possible harmful interactions this medication has with other drugs, supplements, and substances you take in every.
You will also know the warnings, contradictions, and precautions to note when taking Chantix and if/how this drug can ruin your life if you ignore these instructions, or take it as you like or on a whim.
The Reviews of Chantix
From This Is My Brain on Chantix By Derek de Koff: Things were looking good. My doctor had gone through the test results and told me I was perfectly healthy—except my breathing was a little shallow. That didn’t surprise me. I’d been smoking for twelve of my 32 years, and my father died of lung cancer in his early fifties. That’s why I was having my first physical in five years: I’d decided it was time to stop for good.
I’d heard about Chantix, a relatively new drug from Pfizer that blocks nicotine from attaching to your brain receptors. That way, you stop receiving any pleasure from cigarettes at all—even as the drug, snuggling up to those receptors the same way nicotine does, reduces withdrawal cravings and unleashes a happy little wash of dopamine to boot. Wonderful things they can do nowadays.
My doctor wished me luck as he wrote out the prescription, telling me it was the single most important decision I’d ever make in my life. I had the medication that night, 35 minutes after dropping into Duane Reade. While waiting, I gleefully chain-smoked Parliament Lights. One of Chantix’s big perks is that you can smoke for the first seven days you’re on it (most people take it for twelve weeks)—more than enough time, I thought, to say good-bye to an old friend.
I swallowed my first pill the next day before work. It was a beautiful fall morning, an almost obnoxiously cinematic day to turn over a new leaf. But by the time I was halfway to the office, I started to feel a slight nausea coming on. Of course, that is a common side effect, as are constipation, gas, vomiting, and changes in dreaming. These five symptoms were emblazoned in a large font on the patient-information sheet.
My stomach settled as I finished my first cup of coffee. I slipped into my boss’s office, proudly announcing that I’d just started taking Chantix. “You’ve probably seen the commercial,” I said. A CGI tortoise races against a sprightly CGI hare, while a paternal voice-over reminds us that quitting smoking “isn’t for sprinters … it’s all about getting there!” Clinical trials demonstrated a whopping 44 percent of patients were still off cigarettes after twelve weeks, the ad says. The tortoise winks knowingly.
“You know, I saw something about Chantix,” my boss said, sounding vaguely concerned. He tracked down the story on a CBS Website. It was a sensational report on Carter Albrecht, a Dallas musician formerly with Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. Albrecht had started taking Chantix with his fiancée, with seemingly dramatic side effects. She claimed he had had bizarre hallucinations that worsened when he drank. One evening, he attacked her, something he’d never done before. He then ran to his neighbor’s house and kicked at the door, screaming incomprehensibly. The neighbor was so panicked he wound up shooting Albrecht through the door, killing him.
I tried not to roll my eyes. It seemed obvious this was nothing more than scaremongering—perhaps Big Tobacco had launched a spin campaign. Millions of Americans were on Chantix. Why focus on the negative?
The next night, I nodded off listening to Radiohead’s In Rainbows, feeling a little guilty that I’d paid zero dollars for it. I had a quick blip of a dream: A dark, inky fluid was jolting violently from the corners of my ceiling, zigzagging its way across the walls and wooden floor in jerky sync to the music.
It was only a dream, though it seemed more immediate and visceral than my usual fare, which I rarely remember after waking up. The following night, things got even stranger. I fell asleep with Bravo blaring on my TV and dreamed that a red-faced Tim Gunn was pushing me against the wall. “But I always thought you were so nice,” I said.
By night four, my dreams began to take on characteristics of a David Cronenberg movie. Every time I’d drift off, I’d dream that an invisible, malevolent entity was emanating from my air conditioner, which seemed to be rattling even more than usual. I’d nap for twenty minutes or so before bolting awake with an involuntary gasp. I had the uneasy sense that I wasn’t alone.
I smoked a cigarette, then tried going back to sleep. But each time I started napping, I’d dream that something increasingly ominous—carbon monoxide? Vampires?—was sucking vital essence out of me. Soon the clock on my desk read 3:20 a.m.
The most unsettling thing about sleeping on Chantix is that I never felt like I was truly asleep. Some part of me remained on guard. It was more like lucid dreaming, what I thought it might feel like to be hypnotized. And it didn’t entirely go away come morning. As I showered, shaved, and scrambled into clothes, I tried to shake a weird, paranoid sense that I’d just been psychically raped by a household appliance.
On January 25, Pfizer was able to share some good news: Japan—where 40.2 percent of all men still smoke—had green-lighted the manufacturing and marketing of its smoking-cessation drug. But a few days later, the Chantix news was less cheering. On February 1, the Food and Drug Administration warned that Chantix, which had fourth-quarter sales of $280 million (up from $68 million a year ago), could cause serious psychiatric problems, including suicidal thinking. Several weeks earlier, Pfizer had independently changed the small-print booklet that accompanies all drugs to say “All patients … should be observed for neuropsychiatric symptoms including changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior.” (Previously the fine type had listed suicidal ideation as a rare adverse reaction.)
Now, after investigating an escalating number of complaints from doctors, patients, and health-care providers, the FDA was citing 34 suicides and 420 instances of suicidal behavior in the U.S. Couldn’t those cases have had to do with depression brought on by nicotine withdrawal, compensatory dopamine notwithstanding? Perhaps, said the agency, but some occurred among people who were still smoking while taking the pill.
Varenicline, Chantix’s chemical name, was approved by the FDA in 2006. In development for over a decade, it is the first smoking-cessation medicine designed to work specifically on nicotine receptors, and at first glance, it would appear that it performed quite well in testing. “At week 12, we looked at how many of the smokers didn’t touch a cigarette for the last four weeks of treatment,” says Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, a medical director at Pfizer. “Forty-four percent.” But the tortoise in the ad doesn’t say how patients fared later on. “About 23 percent still hadn’t taken a puff from week 9 to week 52,” Chatterjee admits. “So the relapse rate was about 77 percent.” Still, that’s not bad given that only 7 percent of smokers using the nicotine patch or gum are still off cigarettes after six months.
A total of 3,659 people were handpicked for the Chantix tests before it came on the market, an almost equal number of men and women, with an average age of 43. Nearly all were white, and the tests excluded anyone with a history of depression, panic disorder, heart disease, kidney or liver problems, alcohol or drug abuse, and diabetes. These exclusions aren’t mentioned in the original “Who Should Not Take Chantix” part of the patient-information sheet, which merely states that the drug wasn’t tested on people under 18. (Pfizer does tell patients they should let their doctors know if they have kidney problems or take insulin.)
For me, self-destructive fantasies began cropping up as cartoonish flights of fantasy—nagging chatter that became a little more concrete with every passing day.
Around 5 million prescriptions have been filled in the U.S. thus far. So why would so many groups have been excluded from the testing, particularly for a drug with such potential mass appeal? “In order to satisfy the FDA’s criteria, we have to isolate all the different variables that could affect the outcome,” says Chatterjee. “We can’t use very sick people or people who would not tolerate the drug.” An FDA spokesperson acknowledges this: “It’s not unusual to exclude people with major medical or psychiatric illnesses from some clinical trials,” says Susan Cruzan.
“When they tested the drug, the sample they chose simply isn’t representative of the people they’re targeting,” says Dr. Daniel Seidman, the director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University Medical Center. “By excluding drinkers, you’re artificially inflating your results, potentially. I run a clinic, and two out of three [smokers] I see have a psychiatric or mood problem. None of these people would have been part of the original trials.”
Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group, recommends that people not use Chantix—or most new drugs, for that matter—for seven years. “The first seven years are when problems will occur,” says Dr. Sidney Wolfe, editor of Worstpills.org.
“I remember hearing that argument,” Chatterjee said, a few weeks before the FDA’s new warning was issued. “And it’s just so illogical. If no one uses the drug for seven years, there’s no one to report experiences at the end of seven years—so you’re exactly where you were at the beginning.”
While I was on Chantix, I didn’t scan Websites for news about it. As my dream life continued plunging into strange and increasingly grotesque territory, I did think of Carter Albrecht a couple of times, but his story still seemed strictly outlier, a freakish occurrence. As Chatterjee would explain, “What we know of the story has only come from the press. But the level of alcohol in his body was over three times the legal drinking limit in Texas. In the controlled clinical trial, these kinds of changes in behavior were extremely rare, occurring almost as often as the placebo. Based on the tests, we have no evidence of any kind of consistent relationship between Chantix and aggressive behavior.” Nor was the rate of depression any different between those taking Chantix and those on a placebo.
It wasn’t until after I’d stopped taking Chantix (and switched to the patch) that I would read about other cases, ones in which violence was directed inward rather than out. In December, Omer Jama, a TV news editor in the U.K., slashed his wrists and died, a few weeks after going on Champix. (In the U.K., Chantix is known as Champix, but the FDA objected to that name because it was “overly fanciful and overstates the efficacy of the product.”) Shortly thereafter, a 36-year-old welder hanged himself after completing a thirteen-week Champix regimen.
The term suicidal ideation looks pretty dead on the page, and if you were ever to experience such a symptom, it’s unlikely you’d pick up on it right away: “Here comes that damned suicidal ideation again. I had better call my physician.” For me, self-destructive fantasies slowly began cropping up as cartoonish flights of fantasy—nagging, almost imperceptible chatter that became a little more concrete and domineering with every passing day.
A week into my Chantix usage, I started to feel as if the city landscape had imperceptibly shifted around me. Mundane details began to strike me as having deep, hidden significance. The neon arch above McDonald’s: The lights blinked on and off in some sort of pattern, and I needed to crack the code. One of my co-workers was messing with some papers: What is he trying to imply with all that damned crinkling? Sitting in the subway: A man hurries to get inside. His hand, holding a cup of coffee, gets stuck in the closing door. I watch the hand wriggle. The lid bursts open and steaming brown liquid hits the floor. Fingers twitch and splay. Coffee splashes in crisscrossing slats through the subway car. It was a sign—something bad was going to happen.
It felt as if the essential barrier between reality and my imagination had eroded. Was it because I wasn’t getting enough R.E.M. sleep, so my dream life was rebelling, pouring into daylight, insisting to be attended to, one way or another?
Meanwhile, smoking cigarettes had become an exercise in futility. At work, I’d put on my coat, head out, and light up—but there was no pleasure to be found, just a truly nasty taste.
One afternoon, I was typing away at advertising copy, and as I did so, I began to wonder how I had succeeded in fooling myself that my life had any sort of value at all. Writing? Sure, it was what I’d wanted to do since I was 6—but at the end of the day, who cared? Maybe I should just go downstairs and leap in front of a tour bus. Or launch my head through the computer screen. All this seemed logical, but also weirdly funny, even at the time: I could see how crazy these impulses were, I could recognize them as suicidal clichés. But I couldn’t make them go away.
I’d wake up with my clothes on, music blasting, and strange half-eaten sandwiches lying on the floor that I had no recollection of buying.
A few minutes later, they did, and I thought, Who was the depressed seventh-grade goth girl who had just muscled into my brain? I hadn’t thought of suicide in any serious way since I was a teenager, and that had just been adolescent posturing. I had no interest in killing myself—that’s why I wanted to quit smoking in the first place.
Seidman, who has seen only a handful of patients on Chantix, says that “one guy said he was having waking nightmares—actually experiencing nightmares while he was awake.” Last week, Dr. Mary O’Sullivan, the director of the Smoking Cessation Program at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt (who, like Seidman, says she has no ties with Pfizer), saw her first Chantix patient with “suicidal ideation.” This “was quite a shock,” she says. “He had no background in mental illness, no underlying tendency to depression.” However, before then she had “given it to well over 200 patients without a single side effect.” And she still believes that in terms of smoking cessation, “it’s been a miracle drug.”
“I haven’t seen suicide in patients, and I haven’t seen psychotic breaks, either,” says Dr. Elliot Wineburg (also no Pfizer affiliation) of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “But as far as people successfully quitting smoking, I also haven’t seen great results.”
My own, spectacularly unscientific survey of people on the drug was equally mixed. “It’s getting easier by the day,” says Nicholas Bullock, a 27-year-old art director. “And the nausea has stopped as well.” Others said Chantix worked but left them feeling temporarily lobotomized. Chris Masters, a 26-year-old investment-firm manager, began experiencing “daytime hallucinations. In the car, I’d feel my cell phone vibrate and roll the window down.” On the way to a wedding in the country, “I decided I would plow into a herd of sheep if the street I was looking for didn’t come up soon.” And then there’s Elizabeth McCullough, a 48-year-old musician. “Chantix made me desperately suicidal, just crazy,” she says. “I joked to my friends that Chantix was the ultimate quit-smoking drug, because when you kill yourself, there’s no chance of relapse.”
Since the FDA’s announcement, those hare-and-tortoise commercials seem to have disappeared from the airwaves. Is the voice-over being retooled? “Yes, we’re currently updating our branded campaign in order to reflect the changes to the label,” says Francisco Debauer, a Pfizer spokesperson. “In the meantime, we’ll be airing our unbranded ad in TV and print”—the My Time to Quit campaign, which never mentions Chantix, but directs people to a Website that eventually leads to them to another, which does.
The drug would appear to be at a crossroads—perhaps the worst, rarest adverse reactions have been reported, perhaps more cases are still to come. Pfizer says no lawsuits have been filed, but there are certainly injury lawyers hungrily putting up Chantix Webpages. Smokers who want to quit are left with a more difficult decision—and the strong advice, if they do take the drug, to be on the lookout for mood changes.
After a few weeks on Chantix, I had managed to stop smoking altogether—but it didn’t feel like a triumphant turn of events. I’d become rather reclusive, avoiding calls from friends, and basically just shuttling back and forth between my office and my apartment. I began to dread six o’clock; it meant I had to walk through the streets again. The subway was now out of the question; it made me too nervous. I stopped going to the gym, too.
I wondered whether Chantix was zapping my brain’s pleasure-delivery system to such a degree that not only did I find no reward in cigarettes, but I also found no reward in socializing, exercising, writing, or any of my usual self-stimulating tricks. I’d pace the floor, sit on the bed, channel surf, pace some more, try to read, but the room had a stale, sinking feeling. Maybe I should go and grab a drink—then at least I might be able to get some rest.
There was no warning against drinking while on Chantix, and even if there had been, I can’t say with any honesty that I’d have adhered to it. (I wasn’t taking any other medication, though.) But while I’ve had my fair share of dark and drunken nights over the years, what I experienced on Chantix was something else altogether. One evening, I steeled myself to go on a date, but after a few drinks with the guy, I abruptly burst into tears mid-sentence. The crying jag lasted about 30 minutes, with the thought I can’t do this anymore looping through my head. This was happening a lot lately, as though someone had spliced other people’s thoughts into the tape whirl of my brain.
Another night, at an East Village bar, an older man in a trench coat caught my attention. I chatted him up for a while, until I realized I was actually trying to go home with the shadow cast by a potted plant. With alcohol in my system, I was somehow able to take this hallucination in stride: “The man who got away … ” But that same evening ended with my taunting a skinhead who was improbably on the corner of Avenue A and 14th Street. “You must be lost,” I snapped. “Are you looking for 1993?” He ended up chasing me into a deli and saying he was going to murder me. (The guy at the register called the cops and the skinhead fled, so I’m fairly confident that he, at least, was real.)
I’ve blacked out a handful of times before, but now it wasn’t unusual to have five or six hours completely wiped out of my memory. I’d wake up with my clothes on, music blasting, and strange half-eaten sandwiches lying on the floor that I had no recollection of buying. One morning, I found an unopened container of dental floss in my coat, as well as a batch of business cards from people whom I couldn’t remember at all. Later that day I received a text message: “I had a great time meeting you … I could have talked to you for another two hours. :)” I have no idea who that person was.
Why didn’t I just stop taking the drug? I did consider it. But there’s something particularly dispiriting about quitting a medicine that’s supposed to be helping you quit smoking. I kept thinking that my body was still getting used to being on Chantix and off cigarettes, that I should wait until everything readjusted itself.
A few nights later, a friend invited me to a party and I reluctantly agreed. I was still avoiding my closest friends for fear that they’d notice changes in my behavior. But maybe I’d feel better if I stopped keeping to myself, for just a night. At the party, I tried to impersonate myself as best I could, but I found myself staring and nodding blankly, actually having difficulty understanding what people were trying to say, and getting oddly touchy at offhand comments.
I was offered a piece of cake on a plate and a fork. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the puzzle. How the hell were these pieces supposed to fit together? Fork. Plate. Cake. What sort of maniac would present me with something like this at a party? I abandoned the cake for a vodka tonic, which I drank in silent rage.
I left without saying good-bye. In the cab, I watched the city slash past the windows and was tempted to just throw open the door. Running up the stairs to my apartment, I barely had the door open before the crying started again. I sat on the edge of the bed, doubled over, and I felt severely ill, as though some freakish primal despair had finally been loosened from my stomach. The sensation was more like vomiting than any sadness I’ve ever experienced, and the shrieking sobs were punctuated by sudden jags of rage. Like a spoiled teenager, I’d suddenly uproot drawers from the bureau, push all the belongings off shelves with a sudden swat of the arm, smash a glass against the wall, and then the crying would take over yet again. Meanwhile, the room seemed to be pulsing and reverberating around me, and my eye would keep zeroing in on objects—the television, the AC, a pair of shoes—and feel as though they were somehow buzzing with life and gleefully watching me endure the biggest meltdown I’d ever had. I had somehow ruined myself, and suicide seemed like a good way to avoid the embarrassment of this fact’s being exposed.
The next morning, I called in sick to work and started cleaning up the considerable mess I’d made. I had to throw out a bunch of broken CDs, smashed glasses, torn clothes, ripped photographs, and the remaining boxes of Chantix from my medicine cabinet.
It was a good call, I think, the second most important decision I’d ever make in my life.
Here are a few anecdotal reports about the drug from a Reddit thread:
- “Chantix was the most miserable drug I have ever taken…severe gi distress, depression, paranoia, crazy and vivid dreams, etc. BUT, it got me off cigarettes after everything else I tried had failed…As I knew that it really fucked with you I prepped by temporarily getting rid of the guns and having my brother check up on me daily…What keeps me from going back to smoking is knowing that one day I’ll want to quit again, and I NEVER want to experience Chantix again!!!”
- “I’m convinced Chantix played a part in my divorce. My ex gave up smoking, her Pepsi habit, as well as marriage.”
- “My mother was on it (and successfully quit smoking using it) and she had some outrageous paranoia. She would accuse us of conspiring against her, making her sick, not loving her, lying to her, stealing things (that she misplaced), turning the dog against her (da fuq??), trying to poison her and sabotaging her car…she smoked for 40 years and failed at quitting hundreds of times. Chantix did the trick somehow but made her nuts.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Chantix in 2006. Since then, a small percentage of people who take Chantix have reported neurological side effects, and serious ones: depression, psychosis, erratic behavior, and even “feeling like a zombie.” The drug has been linked to more than 500 suicides, 1,800 attempted suicides, and the bizarre death of an American musician.
Watch the video below to know more on Chantix:
Inadequate Drug Testing – What the FDA is Saying Concerning Chantix
Ironically, Chantix began as a success story; early promotional claims boasted that a significant 44% of people taking Chantix were able to quit smoking in comparison to 17.7% percent of those taking placebos. By blocking nicotine from stimulating certain brain receptors, smokers don’t get the dopamine boost they would normally receive when they smoke.
But as the number of reports surfaced of users committing suicide, attempting suicide or experiencing sudden aggressive behavior, concerns emerged about Chantix’s side effects and whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
In November 2007, the FDA initiated a review of emerging safety questions about Chantix after identifying at least 39 Chantix suicide deaths and nearly 500 reports of suicidal thoughts. At that time, Pfizer was not providing any warnings on the label or in advertisements about the potential Chantix suicide side effects. Not long afterward the U.S. government (FAA) banned pilots and air traffic controllers from using Chantix because of its reported dangerous side effects.
Pfizer pulled all advertisements for Chantix in 2008 due to mounting concerns of increased suicide risks. In June 2009, a “black box” warning, the highest level of warning from the FDA, was added to the medication about the potential risk of problems with Chantix, indicating that some users have experienced changes in behavior, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Remarkably, Pfizer has since re-launched a national TV campaign for their stop smoking drug despite the serious dangers associated with taking Chantix.
A number of Chantix lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of people who took their own life or suffered severe injuries from a suicide attempt or unusual aggressive behavior while taking the drug. The lawsuits claim that Pfizer failed to adequately warn about the potential side effects which allegedly resulted in these injuries.
Lawsuits against Pfizer for injuries suffered from using Chantix allege that Pfizer failed to effectively study Chantix to determine the risk of serious injury or death associated with its use, that Pfizer intentionally excluded certain patients and populations from clinical trials and that Pfizer intentionally ignored the proper evaluation process.
Perhaps blinded by the potential profit power of a successful stop-smoking drug, critics claim Pfizer simply failed to address frequent reports of depression, aggression, suicide, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, suicidal tendencies, and other injuries mentioned above.
Patients now claim that Pfizer is responsible for failing to determine what other effects Chantix has on other receptors in the human brain and body and that they intentionally failed to include appropriate measures of adverse events in clinical trials.
For example, while studies suggest that nearly half of all cigarettes are smoked by people with mental illness, Pfizer admitted that “patients with serious psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder did not participate in the controlled clinical trial program.
Dr. Daniel Seidman, the director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University Medical Center, is reported to have said in a recent article,
“When Pfizer tested the drug, the sample they chose simply isn’t representative of the people they’re targeting. . .. By excluding drinkers, you’re artificially inflating your results, potentially. I run a clinic, and two out of three [smokers] I see have a psychiatric or mood problem. None of these people would have been part of the original trials.”
Angel Law, P.C. litigates dangerous drug cases, and a Chantix litigation lawyer at Angel Law, P.C. is now investigating cases involving not only suicides but also cases involving, lethal cardiac rhythm disturbances, acute myocardial infarction, seizures, and psychosis. If you or a loved one has used Chantix and has experienced an injury as a result of any of these symptoms or events, call a Chantix class action lawyer at Angel Law, P.C.
Side Effects of Chantix
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Chantix (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
- a seizure (convulsions);
- thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;
- strange dreams, sleepwalking, trouble sleeping;
- new or worsening mental health problems – mood or behavior changes, depression, agitation, hostility, aggression;
- heart attack symptoms – chest pain or pressure, chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;
- stroke symptoms – sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), slurred speech, drooping of one side of the face, problems with vision or balance.
Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or behavior.
Common Chantix side effects may include:
- nausea (which may persist for several months), vomiting;
- constipation, gas;
- sleep problems (insomnia); or
- unusual dreams.
The Dangerous Side Effects of Chantix
The side effects of Chantix are numerous and varied, some of them very dangerous. Many critics claim Pfizer failed to properly test the drug and did very little to warn consumers of the host of risks when the drug entered the stream of commerce. More dangerous side effects have been reported each year the drug has been available for use.
Chantix is associated with and is believed to cause neuropsychiatric injuries characterized by dramatic behavioral changes. The most dangerous side effects linked to Chantix are suicide, suicide ideation, and psychotic behavior. An alarming number of Chantix users have taken their own lives or seriously injured themselves in an attempt at suicide.
Others have suffered depression, anxiety, nervousness, agitation, rage, and hostility. Chantix is also believed to cause serious heart rhythm disturbances, such as acute myocardial infarction, seizures, and muscle disorders. Physical impairment, dizziness, loss of consciousness, unusual behavior, mood swings, muscle spasms, and skin problems have also been reported.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has said that even more problems are being identified. In addition to the reported heart and cardiovascular problems previously identified, the Institute believes that there may be an association between Chantix and serious injury accidents from falls, which many suspects is caused by the visual disturbances reported with Chantix. The Institute also found continued reports of aggression and suicide. Chantix has also been linked to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a potentially deadly skin disease.
The Withdrawal Side Effects or Symptoms of Chantix and How to Treat it
If Chantix treatment is stopped abruptly, there is an increase in irritability, an urge to smoke, depression, and/or sleeping difficulty for a short time.
In some cases, a short tapering off of the dose over a week or so may be helpful. Your doctor will administer the recommended and best way to deal with your withdrawal symptoms for you.
What Will Happen If You Miss a Dose of Chantix and What Should You Do After?
- If you miss doses, the drug will lose effect.
- If you forget to take a dosage of this medication, take it as soon as possible.
- If your next dosage is approaching, omit the missing dose and resume your usual dosing regimen. Do not take two or more doses to make up because it will lead to side effects that can be severe.
What Will Happen If You Overdose on Chantix and What Should You Do After?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line.
What Will Happen When You Misuse Chantix and What is the Treatment?
This is a no-brainer. If you misuse medications like this, then you are signing up for the complications or side effects of this misuse, because drugs like Chantix are only to be used strictly based on a doctor’s prescriptions.
Some of the side effects you might incur could be serious and life-threatening, as I have outlined such side effects above in this post, and they are certain conditions you might be in that you should never take this drug at all, and also certain things you should never take this drug in combination with.
So, therefore, never misuse this medication, and always make sure to consult your doctor before taking medications like this.
The Drug Interactions of Chantix
There are 8 drugs known to interact with Chantix (varenicline), along with 5 disease interactions, and 1 alcohol/food interaction. Of the total drug interactions, 6 are moderate, and 2 are minor.
Medications known to interact with Chantix:
Note: Showing generic names only.
Chantix alcohol/food interactions
There is 1 alcohol/food interaction with Chantix (varenicline).
Chantix disease interactions
There are 5 disease interactions with Chantix (varenicline) which include:
- Neuropsychiatric events: This is Major Potential Hazard with Moderate plausibility. Applicable conditions: History – Psychiatric Disorder, Depressive Psychosis. Serious neuropsychiatric events including, but not limited to, depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide have been reported in patients taking varenicline. Caution is recommended and patients should be observed for neuropsychiatric symptoms including changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicide-related events, including ideation, behavior, and attempted suicide.
- CV disease
- Renal impairment
After you stop smoking, your doctor may need to adjust the doses of certain medicines you take on a regular basis.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
How Chantix Ruined my Life and What I Did About It to Become Better and Well Again
I am sorry that I cannot cite my personal experience with this medication because I have never used this medication in my life, but I have gone through Chantix users’ reviews and seen why those with negative reviews said; ‘Chantix ruined my life’.
I have posted some of their reviews in this post above, so you can check their reviews and see why they said; ‘Chantix ruined my life’, and as well check to see what they did to cope and recuperate from the side effects they experience from taking Chantix.
I am not going through how Chantix ruined my life experiences again, but rather I want to let you know now how to become better and well again, after the Chantix experience.
To get better and well again, please read through this article, because I have given info on how to cope and fight the devastating and health-hampering side effects, as they are treatments available (check the section of ‘Common treatments to treat the side effects of Chantix in this article).
Now the first thing you have to do on your way to getting better is to try to abstain from using the drug since it is well-established that the drug is harmful to your health, but make sure you consult from health experts the proper way to do this before you end up complicating your health even more Then after that, your doctors will engage you in the recommended treatment available.
Warnings, Contraindications, and Precautions to take note of when taking Medications like Chantix
When you stop smoking, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms with or without using medication such as Chantix. This includes feeling restless, depressed, angry, frustrated, or irritated.
Stop taking Chantix and call your doctor if you have if you feel depressed, agitated, hostile, aggressive, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Do not drink large amounts of alcohol. Varenicline can increase the effects of alcohol or change the way you react to it.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Chantix if you used it in the past and had:
- a serious allergic reaction – trouble breathing, swelling in your face (lips, tongue, throat) or neck; or
- a serious skin reaction – blisters in your mouth, peeling skin rash.
To make sure Chantix is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- depression or mental illness;
- a seizure;
- kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
- heart or blood vessel problems; or
- if you drink alcohol.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. It is not known whether varenicline will harm an unborn baby if you use the medicine during pregnancy. However, smoking while you are pregnant can harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects.
If you breastfeed while using this medicine, your baby may spit up or vomit more than normal, and may have a seizure.
Chantix is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
Chantix Pregnancy Warnings
Animal studies have failed to reveal evidence of teratogenicity. Animal studies have reported reduced fetal weights, decreased fertility in offspring, and increased auditory startle response. There is no controlled data on human pregnancy.
- AU TGA pregnancy category B3: Drugs that have been taken by only a limited number of pregnant women and women of childbearing age, without an increase in the frequency of malformation or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the human fetus having been observed. Studies in animals have shown evidence of an increased occurrence of fetal damage, the significance of which is considered uncertain in humans.
- US FDA pregnancy category C: Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant the use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.
Use is not recommended.
- AU TGA pregnancy category: B3
- US FDA pregnancy category: Not assigned.
- Risk Summary: Compared to women who smoke, available data have suggested that major malformative risks with the use of this drug in pregnant women are unlikely.
- Comment: Some experts recommend timing treatment to be completed before conception in women of childbearing potential.
Varenicline Breastfeeding Warnings
A decision should be made to discontinue breastfeeding or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
- Excreted into human milk: Unknown
- Excreted into animal milk: Yes
The effects on the nursing infant are unknown. Animal models given 15 mg/kg orally during gestation and lactation resulted in nursing pup concentrations ranging from approximately 5% to 22% of maternal serum concentrations.
What to avoid
- Do not drink large amounts of alcohol while taking this medicine. Varenicline can increase the effects of alcohol or change the way you react to it. Some people taking Chantix have had unusual or aggressive behavior or forgetfulness while drinking alcohol.
- Do not use other medicines to quit smoking, unless your doctor tells you to. Using Chantix while wearing a nicotine patch can cause unpleasant side effects.
- Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.
Common Treatments to Treat the Side Effects of Chantix and Whether You Should Take Them or Not
Common treatments are;
- If there is any loss of consciousness or if Abilify was combined with other drugs, charcoal may be used as a therapy. This is a chemical that binds to excess medicine and allows it to be excreted from the body.
- A gastric lavage, often known as a stomach pump, may be required. A liquid is pushed down the esophagus and into the stomach through a tube inserted via the nose or mouth. The liquid, along with any stomach contents, is then suctioned or siphoned out of the body.
- Dialysis is often used to treat overdoses because it purifies the blood. Dialysis, on the other hand, will not eliminate doxycycline from circulation.
Other supportive therapies for a Chantix overdose include:
- Intravenous fluids assist the body to reestablish fluid balance and reduce the number of drugs in circulation.
- Monitoring vital signs
Doctors recommend medicine to assist with nausea. You are given intravenous fluids to reduce the danger of dehydration caused by diarrhea, as well as a probiotic. Your gastrointestinal system will return to normal with the aid of a probiotic.
All the above treatments are functional, so if you are suffering from the side effects of Chantix, consult your doctor to know which will be most beneficial to you.
How can Anyone Notice the Side Effects of Drugs like Chantix Before It is Too Late?
Firstly, observe for any allergic reactions, and even though it is one you notice, consult your doctor immediately. Before taking this drug, ask your doctor for early signs to observe that should intricate you from stopping this medication usage.
I have outlined the side effects to look out for in this article above, so please make sure you read up.
Are There Any Alternatives to Chantix that are Safer?
Chantix is available in a generic version called Varenicline but it’s recommended to treat the generic version like the main one because when it’s misused, it also has the same side effects though not as maximal as the main version but is equally dangerous.
Other alternatives include the following:
- Nicoderm CQ
If You’re Taking Drugs like Chantix You Need to Understand the Risks
If your doctor has prescribed Chantix to help you stop smoking, you should be aware of the serious dangers associated with taking Chantix and carefully consider whether you are a good candidate for this drug.
Chantix is the brand name for the pharmaceutical drug varenicline which is intended to help patients quit smoking. Pfizer requested and received an accelerated review by the FDA and Chantix was approved for use in the United States in May of 2006. As Pfizer predicted Chantix quickly became a top-selling drug for the company with annual sales of $883 million in the first full year it was on the market.
In simplified terms, Chantix dulls the sensors in the brain associated with pleasure, so while Chantix is somewhat effective in reducing the positive feelings in the brain by blocking the brain receptors commonly stimulated by nicotine, the impact of the drug on the brain has resulted in numerous reports of sudden, unusually aggressive behavior, thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
Yikes! Reading stories like the ones in this article might scare me enough to think twice about the drug. But would the information in the package insert?
That insert has been the focus of the recent hoopla about Chantix. In 2009, the FDA decided that the Chantix insert needed a “black box warning” about the risk of neurological side effects (so named because this text is outlined with a black border).
Here’s part of that warning: ‘Advise patients and caregivers that the patient should stop taking CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately if agitation, hostility, depressed mood, or changes in behavior or thinking that are not typical for the patient are observed, or if the patient develops suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior while taking CHANTIX or shortly after discontinuing CHANTIX.’
The black box is the FDA’s most severe safety warning. Pfizer fought it tooth and nail, citing several studies showing that Chantix is not associated with a higher risk of psychiatric problems. The FDA confirmed that the warning would stay and suggested that it will have even stronger language.
But… why so much fuss over these warnings, anyway? Does anyone actually read them?
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of research on that question, though the data that does exist suggests that some patients are more conscientious than I am. One report I stumbled on, surveying 1,500 patients from a community pharmacy in Germany in 2001, found that 80 percent always read the inserts.
A 2007 study looked at 200 patients in Israel who were prescribed antibiotics, analgesics, or antihypertensives. It found that just over half of the participants read the inserts. And a 2009 study in Denmark found that 79 percent of patients “always or often” read them. On the other hand, a 2006 report of American consumers reported that just 23 percent looked at this info.
Even if patients are interested in reading those materials, they might not understand the information. A 2011 study asked 52 adults with a high-school education or less to read the package insert and similar materials describing an antidepressant medication. Afterward, less than 20 percent could name the rare-but-dangerous side effect of the drug. A report from the Institute of Medicine similarly concluded that drug labeling is a big part of why patients often use drugs incorrectly.
Studies like those have led some researchers to propose ways to make labels more useful to patients. But the reason Pfizer was so concerned with the black box warning for Chantix has little to do with consumer behavior. The company was worried because of the warning’s potential influence on doctors and their prescribing habits.
There aren’t many studies looking closely at the correlations between black-box labeling and prescribing patterns. But there are two notable examples that seem to suggest the warnings have teeth. Remember the Vioxx controversy? Vioxx was a hugely popular anti-inflammatory drug that was pulled from the market in 2004 because of its risk of heart disease and stroke. After that, the FDA reacted by issuing black-box warnings for several similar drugs, leading to a “rapid decline” in prescriptions.
The other example comes from the link between antidepressants and suicide in children and adolescents. In March 2004 an FDA advisory committee reported on this link, and several months later it issued a black-box warning on all antidepressants. By June 2005 prescriptions for children and adolescents had dropped 20 percent.
To sum up, I was wrong: prescription warning labels, though flawed, actually matter to many patients, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies. As for Chantix… if you’re thinking of trying the drug to quit smoking, you might want to think again.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chantix
Most side effects resolve when the medication is discontinued. In fact, immediate discontinuation is advised if one experiences mood changes while on Chantix. On the contrary, mild nausea may improve with time alone, even if Chantix is continued.
Odudu Abasi Mkpong January 19, 2023
According to its manufacturers, Chantix binds to the receptors in your brain where nicotine normally binds. Because of the drug’s presence, nicotine can’t bind to these brain receptors and cause the drop in dopamine that creates nicotine cravings.
Odudu Abasi Mkpong January 19, 2023
In some cases, a short tapering off of the dose over a week or so may be helpful. This is because at the end of treatment if the medicine is stopped abruptly, in about 3 in 100 people there is an increase in irritability, an urge to smoke, depression, and/or difficulty sleeping for a short time.
Odudu Abasi Mkpong January 19, 2023