One man’s experience with the stop-smoking drug chantix — new york magazine

Things were looking good. Laser therapy for smoking cessation reviews My doctor had gone through the test results and told me I was perfectly healthy—except my breathing was a little shallow. Smoking cessation counselor training That didn’t surprise me. Smoking cessation plan I’d been smoking for twelve of my 32 years, and my father died of lung cancer in his early fifties. Smoking cessation guidelines 2013 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. Benefits of quitting smoking after 2 months 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. Smoking cessation guidelines for australian general practice 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. Cdc smoking cessation I had the medication that night, 35 minutes after dropping into Duane Reade. Benefits of quitting smoking after 2 weeks While waiting, I gleefully chain-smoked Parliament Lights. National smoking cessation programs 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. Smoking cessation counselling techniques It was a beautiful fall morning, an almost obnoxiously cinematic day to turn over a new leaf. American heart association smoking cessation training But by the time I was halfway to the office, I started to feel a slight nausea coming on. Non nicotine smoking cessation drugs Of course, that is a common side effect, as are constipation, gas, vomiting, and changes in dreaming. Benefits of quitting smoking sexually 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. Symptoms of smoking cessation I slipped into my boss’s office, proudly announcing that I’d just started taking Chantix. Smoking cessation side effects “You’ve probably seen the commercial,” I said. What is a smoking cessation program 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. 5 benefits of quitting smoking The tortoise winks knowingly.

“You know, I saw something about Chantix,” my boss said, sounding vaguely concerned. Smoking cessation training for health professionals He tracked down the story on a CBS Website. Level 1 smoking cessation training It was a sensational report on Carter Albrecht, a Dallas musician formerly with Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. Laser smoking cessation reviews Albrecht had started taking Chantix with his fiancée, with seemingly dramatic side effects. Laser acupuncture for smoking cessation She claimed he had had bizarre hallucinations that worsened when he drank. Smoking cessation drugs side effects One evening, he attacked her, something he’d never done before. Laser smoking cessation calgary He then ran to his neighbor’s house and kicked at the door, screaming incomprehensibly. Smoking cessation guidelines evidence based recommendations The neighbor was so panicked he wound up shooting Albrecht through the door, killing him.

I tried not to roll my eyes. Benefits of quitting smoking 1 year It seemed obvious this was nothing more than scaremongering—perhaps Big Tobacco had launched a spin campaign. Smoking cessation effects Millions of Americans were on Chantix. Smoking cessation definition 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. What quitting smoking does to your skin 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. Smoking cessation nice The following night, things got even stranger. Smoking cessation support I fell asleep with Bravo blaring on my TV and dreamed that a red-faced Tim Gunn was pushing me against the wall. Maudsley smoking cessation training “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. Smoking cessation meaning 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. Smoking cessation treatment guidelines I’d nap for twenty minutes or so before bolting awake with an involuntary gasp. Smoking cessation counseling cpt I had the uneasy sense that I wasn’t alone.

I smoked a cigarette, then tried going back to sleep. Define smoking cessation But each time I started napping, I’d dream that something increasingly ominous—carbon monoxide? Vampires?—was sucking vital essence out of me. Benefits of quitting smoking first 24 hours 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. Laser acupuncture smoking cessation Some part of me remained on guard. What is smoking cessation nhs It was more like lucid dreaming, what I thought it might feel like to be hypnotized. Smoking cessation training for pharmacists And it didn’t entirely go away come morning. Smoking cessation drug therapy 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. Smoking cessation and hypnosis But a few days later, the Chantix news was less cheering. Smoking cessation acupuncture 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. Successful smoking cessation programs 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. About smoking cessation 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. Smoking cessation through hypnosis 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. Smoking cessation hypnosis script free “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. Smoking cessation training programs Anjan Chatterjee, a medical director at Pfizer. Smoking cessation guidelines 2008 “Forty-four percent.” But the tortoise in the ad doesn’t say how patients fared later on. Smoking cessation services “About 23 percent still hadn’t taken a puff from week 9 to week 52,” Chatterjee admits. Benefits of quitting smoking after 3 months “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. What is smoking cessation counseling 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. Effects of smoking cessation 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. Smoking cessation counseling (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. Smoking cessation guidelines for health professionals thus far. Smoking cessation billing guidelines 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. What quitting smoking does to your body “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. Smoking cessation treatment Daniel Seidman, the director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University Medical Center. Hypnotherapy smoking cessation “By excluding drinkers, you’re artificially inflating your results, potentially. 3 benefits of quitting smoking I run a clinic, and two out of three [smokers] I see have a psychiatric or mood problem. Smoking cessation training and research programme 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. Benefits of quitting smoking cold turkey “The first seven years are when problems will occur,” says Dr. Smoking cessation new drug Sidney Wolfe, editor of Worstpills.org.

“I remember hearing that argument,” Chatterjee said, a few weeks before the FDA’s new warning was issued. What is the best smoking cessation product “And it’s just so illogical. Smoking cessation by hypnosis 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. Uspstf smoking cessation guidelines 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. Smoking cessation laser therapy As Chatterjee would explain, “What we know of the story has only come from the press. Smoking cessation specialist training But the level of alcohol in his body was over three times the legal drinking limit in Texas. Laser smoking cessation nj In the controlled clinical trial, these kinds of changes in behavior were extremely rare, occurring almost as often as the placebo. Smoking cessation counseling template 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.