Safety Concerns and Side Effects of Chantix

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Chantix is a smoking cessation medication. In the years since its introduction, a number of serious concerns about side effects that involve changes in mood and behavior have surfaced.

Common Side Effects of Chantix

The most common adverse side effects of Chantix include:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Vomiting

These usually only last a short time, but be sure to speak to your doctor if these symptoms are persistent because you may require a reduction in your dose.

Severe Side Effects

Chantix works by altering brain chemistry, and as such, carries a set of risk factors that involve changes in mood and behavior. There are more severe side effects that people have experienced when taking Chantix. These include:

  • Changes in behavior or thinking
  • Aggression or agitation
  • Hostility
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Seizures
  • Cardiovascular events
  • Somnambulism (sleep-walking)
  • Angioedema and Hypersensitivity Reactions
  • Severe skin reactions (mucosal lesions)

Myocardial infarction and stroke have occurred in people who've taken Chantix; however, in most cases, people had pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

In cases of sleepwalking, people have reported performing harmful behavior to themselves, others, or property.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other neuropsychiatric adverse events included changes in mood (depression and mania), hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, paranoia, homicidal ideation, and suicidal ideation or actions.

While some people already had these or other mental health considerations when taking Chantix, others developed them several weeks after they started taking Chantix. You may be more likely to develop worse mental health issues if you have pre-existing conditions.

If you, your loved ones, and/or caregivers notice these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. While some people's symptoms went away after they stopped taking Chantix, others had a continuation of their symptoms.

Warnings and Interactions

It's recommended by the FDA that people reduce their alcohol consumption until they know how they're affected by Chantix.

Patients also should use caution when driving or operating machinery until they know how they react to Chantix.

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Chantix, communicate closely with your doctor until the symptoms go away.

Before you start taking Chantix, talk to your doctor about your mental health history, for instance, if you've ever experienced depression or other mental health conditions. If you've experienced a worsening of mental health issues due to nicotine withdrawal, it's best to tell your doctor about this as well.

If you have cardiovascular disease or experience somnambulism, contact your doctor as Chantix should be immediately discontinued.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

The Bottom Line

Both Chantix and Zyban are in a class of quit aids that alter brain chemistry, and that has the potential to cause serious side effects for some people. This is why they are prescription medicines. You should have a doctor involved in your care if you're using one of these medications.

That said, the fact that Chantix and Zyban are still on the market speaks to the good that these quit aids are doing. With a person dying a tobacco-related death every 8 seconds somewhere in the world, day in and day out, 365 days a year, we can safely say that tobacco use is the grand-daddy of all risks that smokers should be concerned with.

Tobacco is a vicious killer in sheep's clothing and is directly responsible for upwards of 5 million deaths worldwide each year. If current trends continue unchanged, estimates put death by tobacco at 8 million annually by 2030.

If you happen to be in the group of people who should not use Chantix or Zyban, there are many other products available to help you quit smoking.

The absolute best quit aid and one that is a mandatory ingredient for long-term success with smoking cessation is your determination to quit smoking. With it, any quit aid of your choosing will work. Without it, none will.

The quit-smoking toolbox gives you links to information and the support necessary to build a solid quit smoking program for yourself.

You can quit smoking. Believe in yourself and the sky is the limit.

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