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Chantix Side Effects - Is Chantix Safe to Use?

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Updated June 18, 2011

Question: Chantix Side Effects - Is Chantix Safe to Use?
I'm afraid to use Chantix because of all of the negative news I've been reading about Chantix side effects. Can you tell me what the side effects of Chantix are and whether Chantix is dangerous for me to use to quit smoking?
Answer: Chantix is a smoking cessation medication. In the years since its been on the market, a number of serious concerns about Chantix side effects that involve changes in mood and behavior have surfaced.

Common Chantix Side Effects

Typical Chantix side effects include:
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • gas
  • disruptions in dream patterns
People who report this set of symptoms often feel that the advantages outweigh the discomforts associated with Chantix.

Less Common, Serious Chantix Side Effects

Chantix works by altering brain chemistry, and as such, carries a set of risk factors that involve changes in mood and behavior.

If you have been diagnosed with depression or any other mental health condition, it is very important to carefully review, with the help of your doctor, whether Chantix is a good fit for you.

Safety information from the Chantix Website:

    Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using CHANTIX to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking CHANTIX, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping CHANTIX. If you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking CHANTIX and call your doctor right away. Also tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems before taking CHANTIX, as these symptoms may worsen while taking CHANTIX.
In May of 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned pilots and air traffic controllers from using this drug while on the job:

FAA Bans Chantix for Pilots and Controllers

On July 1, 2009, the FDA mandated that the manufacturers of Chantix, Zyban and Wellbutrin carry a new Boxed Warning on product labels that inform health care providers and the public of the potential risks associated with the use of these drugs. Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) is a non-nicotine prescription quit aid similar to Chantix. Wellbutrin is bupropion that is marketed as an anti-depressant.

The FDA issued a public health advisory as well:

    People who are taking Chantix or Zyban and experience any serious and unusual changes in mood or behavior or who feel like hurting themselves or someone else should stop taking the medicine and call their healthcare professional right away. Friends or family members who notice these changes in behavior in someone who is taking Chantix or Zyban for smoking cessation should tell the person their concerns and recommend that he or she stop taking the drug and call a health care professional right away.
FDA Public Health Advisory Released for Zyban and Chantix

On June 16, 2011, the FDA issued a public health advisory about a possible increase in the risk of certain cardiovascular events for people with pre-existing heart disease using Chantix.

FDA: Chantix May Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Events

In light of the potentially serious side effects of Chantix, one might ask whether this form of drug therapy is appropriate for anyone to use.

The Bottom Line: Chantix Side Effects and Your Safety

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. They are not one-size-fits-all quit aids.

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 one billion this century.

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. Follow the links below to build the strong resolve that will help you put smoking in your past, permanently.

Resources to Help You Quit Smoking:

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

Quit Smoking 101 - A Free Email Course
This free newsletter e-mail course, which you'll receive daily for 10 days in your mailbox, aims to provide you with a solid foundation for quitting tobacco successfully.

Online Smoking Cessation Support Forum
Join our very active smoking cessation support community. Support from those who know what you’re going through is invaluable. You may visit as a guest and browse, or register (free) to join the discussions and post messages of your own.

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

Sources:
Public Health Advisory: FDA Requires New Boxed Warnings for the Smoking Cessation Drugs Chantix and Zyban. 01 July, 2009. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Chantix Prescription Information. July, 2009. Pfizer Labs.

Chantix Side Effects and Important Safety Information. 01 July, 2009. Chantix.com.

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