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My Experience with Chantix
What is Chantix?
Chantix is a relatively new product by Pfizer, devised as an aid in smoking cessation (i.e. quitting). The drug in Chantix is called varenicline, and basically acts by blocking the cell receptors on the brain that receive nicotine. In simple terms, it doesn't allow nicotine to act on the brain. (in technical terms, it's a partial agonist of nicotinic receptors. That means that it blocks the some kinds of receptors and mildly stimulates others)
Chantix contains no nicotine, so it let's the body become free of the addictive drug.
Well, does it work?
I personally have a mixed answer for this question:
Yes, it does exactly what it's supposed to do. If you slip and sneak a cigarette, you'll get no pleasure from it. It's a very unusual feeling, where no matter how deep you inhale, or how many cigarettes you smoke, you won't get your fix. In the treatment plan, it says that your allowed to smoke during the first week with Chantix, and then you must quit. Personally, I just needed four days, due to this frustration of smoking without getting any feeling of reward.
But on the other hand...
No, it didn't work for me. You see, Chantix isn't going to do any of the real work for you. Cravings are still going to come, and you still have to deal with the emotional challenge of quitting. That, and the side effects of Chantix, which, varying from person to person, can be nasty.
That's the bottom line: In order for me to succeed with Chantix, I had to endure the 12 weeks of treatment, making sure to take the pill every morning.
After a few weeks into my quit, I didn't feel much cravings or real urges to smoke, but there were a few strong triggers that made me slip, and I lit up. Since I was on the medication, I got that hollow, worthless experience out of the cigarette, and carried on quitting. But I had to deal with dizziness, diarrhea and nausea a lot of the time. When I couldn't take it anymore, I stopped the medication. And soon after, I slipped again. This time, the cigarette was for real (tasted like b-l-i-s-s, with a pinch of h-e-a-v-e-n!!!)
Light at the end of the tunnel
From my own experience, I wouldn't recommend the product, but on quitting forums I've met people who swear by Chantix. It ultimately comes down to how well you handle the side effects and how committed you really are to quitting smoking. I know I wasn't really sure when I tried Chantix (I'm sure now, and I quit cold turkey!).
If you're reading this, chances are that you're at least thinking about quitting (most smokers are). Don't think to much about it, and try quitting right now! Some people recommend setting a quit date, but I say, 'to hell with it!'. Put out that cigarette, throw away that pack, those lighters, those ashtrays! Break your chains and rebel against the drug that would call itself your master!
Whoops... got a little carried away! What I meant to say was: If you are considering qutting smoking, and neither nicotine replacement nor cold turkey sound good to you, then give Chantix a try.
- If you're like me, maybe you won't go all the way, but at least you'll learn that you can go entire days and entire weeks without smoking, and that's a valuable lesson
- If you're not, then, congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a Chantix success story!
Of course, there is a little matter we must mention...
The Black Box Warning
There have been reports of people having strange psychological side effects to this medication. Read this information carefully and discuss it with your health care provider before considering Chantix:
Important Safety Information
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.
After reading this, take just a minute to remember what kind of Black Box Warnings cigarettes have:
Important Safety Information
People who are taking CIGARETTES are likely to develop the following side effects: Shortness of breath, lethargy, halitosis, gingivitis, bronchytis, emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, among others. Abrupt discontinuation of CIGARETTES have been followed by adverse reactions such as anxiety, agitation and hostility, but resolve themselves within days. Discuss with your doctor if CIGARETTES are right for you.
It's hard to quit, but it's harder not to!
Links to quitting resources
- Go cold turkey and never go back! Quit smoking now.
If you're ready to quit using the method with the _highest_ success rate!
- Quitting Smoking | CHANTIX®(varenicline) Safety Info
The official website.