Chantix has been taken by thousands of patients, many of whom have suffered no ill effects due to withdrawal. Even so, some people may find it hard to stop taking this medication. Knowing what to expect when this prescription is stopped can help those who do suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
Chantix works to suppress some of the normal symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. As such, many patients may start experiencing some of these side effects once they are no longer taking the medication. A few of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced include cravings and nervousness. Many people do not experience these symptoms at all, or they may be noticed only slightly if these side effects do occur.
One of the more common side effects of Chantix withdrawal is irritability. People who abruptly stop taking this medication may find themselves easily agitated by things that would not otherwise bother them.
The amount of irritability varies based on the individual’s personality, how long they have taken the medication, and other external factors. Excess irritability usually subsides a short period after Chantix treatment is complete and is normally not a cause for concern.
Around 3 percent of former Chantix users report they had difficulty sleeping once they stopped taking this medication. Those who did suffer from sleep disorders during Chantix withdrawal may or may not have had trouble sleeping before or during their treatment program. As with irritability, those who experience sleeping problems normally find that they only do so shortly after stopping Chantix. If sleeplessness does persist, a doctor may prescribe additional medication or wean patients off the medication slowly in order to alleviate this condition.
A few patients have reported increased heart palpitations and anxiety attacks because of Chantix withdrawal. In addition, people who have taken Chantix in the past are at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported in 2011 that individuals who were prescribed Chantix to help them stop smoking had a 72% higher risk of heart disease than those who have not taken this drug. This was true of patients who were known to have heart problems when they began taking Chantix as well as those with no known history of heart disease.
Most patients simply stop taking Chantix when their treatment program is over. Even so, those who experience depression, anger, hallucinations, or thoughts of suicide may need to gradually wean off this medication. To do so, the dosage is decreased from two 1.0 mg tablets each day to only one. Once a patient is comfortable with this lower dosage, he or she may take a .5 mg tablet once a day for several days before trying to quit this medication altogether.
It seems that certain individuals are more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms than others are. Those who are likely to have difficulty withdrawing from Chantix typically suffer from depression or anxiety before beginning treatment. As such, it can be very important to weigh the pros and cons of this medication before using it to stop smoking.