Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chantix - Quitting Smoking Medication

Alright, so I should probably highlight that I have not actually tried this product myself, the experimentee in this case was my boyfriend. I do not smoke, so therefore do not have any need to quit smoking. Boyfriend however, smoked like a chimney, and really did want to quit; in part because I can't stand the smoking, in part because he'll live longer, and in part because it has become so outrageously expensive to smoke in New York State.

Chantix basically takes the joy out of smoking for smokers, it stops nicotene from reaching the parts of the brain that get pleasure out of it. Boyfriend stated that this part of medicine worked, he no longer got the same kind of high from smoking cigarettes as he used to. He also stated that it helped at work, he no longer felt the need to run out and smoke every hour, and that this was particularly helpful in meetings that went on for a few hours... he no longer became antsy and unable focus in longer meetings.

However, he said that he still was used to the habit of smoking, he still had the need to smoke out of habir and oral fixation, and also as a social gathering situation. The habit was not completely kicked. Although he did state that taking the Chantix did get him down from a pack a day to about half a pack a day.

The particularly scary part of this medicine though is the psychological effects it had on boyfriend. He said that he was no longer able to sleep as well as he did before taking Chantix, and that when he was able to sleep he had crazy dreams in which he felt like killing people or himself. And I can attest to the fact that he had nightmares which caused him to kick and punch in his sleep ... I ended up with bruises, in fact. And boyfriend also said that even during his waking hours taking Chantix made him feel slightly more depressed and less upbeat about life in general.

So all in all, I think that the risks outweigh the benefits here. Even though boyfriend had a mild case of depression and nightmares, there have been studies where this medicine has made people suicidal, and there have been record suicide attempts. Scary, scary stuff. There have got to be better ways to quit smoking.

And on that note, the newest tax hike in New York State appears to be what finally made boyfriend quit smoking, at over $10 a pack, $80 a week is a habit he cannot afford. So through sheer will power (and nicotene lozenges - which are $3 a pack) he has finally managed to quit smoking. So basically... stay away from the Chantix, it is bad news.

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