Chantix Side Effects
An effective aid in smoking cessation, Chantix has helped more individuals quit smoking and remain quit than similar medications like bupropion and nicotine replacement therapies, including patches and gum. There are several side effects of Chantix that smokers should be aware of before trying this method of quitting, however. These side effects range from mild symptoms that are often already associated with nicotine withdrawal (headache, nausea, etc.) to more serious psychiatric symptoms like depression and suicidal thoughts.
Common Chantix Side Effects
Many Chantix users experience nausea, particularly those taking the full dosage. Some individuals will have these symptoms throughout the treatment period. Other common Chantix side effects may be the result of nicotine withdrawal rather than a direct result of the medication and include:
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep disruptions or difficulty falling asleep
- Unusual taste in mouth
Strange or Vivid Dreams and Nightmares
Another side effect of Chantix reported by several users is unusual dreams or extremely vivid nightmares. Some of these symptoms may improve as the treatment continues. If the side effects become troublesome, contact your physician to discuss other options.
Serious Chantix Side Effects
A number of other rare, but serious, side effects have been associated with the use of Chantix. If any of the following symptoms occur, call your doctor immediately or visit the nearest emergency care facility:
- Swelling, especially of the face, throat, tongue, or eyes, that may be the result of an allergic reaction
- Persistent vomiting with dizziness
- Blisters inside the mouth
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Skin rash, peeling, or blistering skin
- Back pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Profuse sweating
- Pain in the arm, neck, or jaw
- Slow or difficult speech
- Limb weakness or tingling, especially on one side of the body
- Immobility or difficulty moving the arms or legs
- Severe abdominal pain
- Recurring insomnia
- Vision changes or problems
- Extreme mood changes or unusual behavior
There may be other side effects that are not listed here. Discuss any changes in your physical or mental wellbeing with your doctor while you are taking the medication, as well as after the treatment.
Chantix and Mental Illness, Depression
One of the most alarming side effects of Chantix is the psychiatric symptoms some users experience. Occasionally, individuals will experience changes in their mental state as a result of nicotine withdrawal, even without cessation treatment, but the FDA notes that these side effects were observed in Chantix users who were still smoking as well as those who were not. Some patients encountered the side effects early in their treatment, while others didn’t show any symptoms of mental illness or behavioral changes until much further into the treatment cycle. The effects are often more serious among users with a history of mental illness.
Tell your doctor if you have ever been diagnosed with any mental condition, including depression and bipolar disorder. If you experience any of the following symptoms while taking Chantix, stop taking the medication immediately and call your doctor:
- Excessive Anger, Aggressive or violent behavior
- Restlessness or agitation
- Abnormally excited
- Panic or anxiety attacks
- Unusual thoughts or feelings
- Thoughts of suicide or suicidal actions
Chantix and the Heart
Recent studies (July 2011) conducted by the FDA have concluded that Chantix may increase the risk of certain heart-related conditions, particularly in patients who already have cardiovascular diseases. If you have a heart condition or a family history of heart disease, be sure to tell your doctor before deciding to use Chantix. There may be other smoking cessation medications with a lower risk to cardiovascular patients. Common complications include heart attack, angina pectoris, and irregular heart rhythms.
For many people, Chantix has made it possible to finally quit smoking and to stay quit. Not everyone quits smoking with Chantix but it is a very effective cessation method for those who do quit. Remember that some side effects are serious and sudden. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your overall health and wellbeing. Also be sure to let your physician know of other medications you are taking to prevent any adverse reactions.