Friday, January 29, 2010

My Chantix Story

First Post 1/29/2010
Every once in a while, something happens in your life that is simply unimaginable and difficult to talk about, even with your closest family and friends. It could be a lot of things from a serious illness, to depression, to an addiction. The unimaginable happened to me recently and I’d like to share it with you.

In the past several weeks I have experienced a few things I never imagined could happen to me. Being confined to a psychiatric ward without direct access to my family or my belongings, looking down at my arms and not remembering where the bruises came from, and sitting in my living room with a CBS news reporter. I'm sharing my story because what happened to me could have been prevented. I also believe that one person can make a difference in this world and I’m hoping that by simply telling my story, I can be that one person, just for today. So if you read my story, and you think that someone you know could benefit from it, feel free to forward it on to others.

So here it is: I am an ex-(closet)-smoker. There I said it! That may surprise some of you that are close to me, because I hid it well. In fact, I was so far in the closet with my smoking addiction that even my own teenage daughters didn’t know I had started up again. I had successfully quit smoking at least 4 times in the last three years, but always went right back to lighting up. In September of 2009, I finally had it and out of complete and total desperation, I began taking a drug called Chantix, the prescription smoking cessation medicine made by Pfizer...which has brought me here today with ONE GOAL: TO GET CHANTIX OFF THE MARKET. In my opinion, Chantix is a mind altering drug that should be banned. But don’t take only my word for it...just Google "Chantix" and you will find many results with multiple attorneys waiting to hear from people who have lost loved ones due to suicide to join in class action lawsuits. Look a little deeper and you will find out how the FAA banned Chantix for airline pilots and controllers, yet bus drivers that drive your kids to school can take Chantix. Search further and you will find stories of people whose lives have been turned upside down due to paranoia, aggression, anger, and severely altered behavior changes. As the FDA continues to analyze tragic stories, and people continue to hire attorneys, this drug is still on the market.

After I started taking Chantix, I successfully stopped smoking about a week later. And with Chantix, it was actually very easy. I felt confident and seemed to manage everything on my plate (work, school, home) and didn’t feel depressed at all, in fact, quite the opposite. I did have a few small “quirky” things going on, but in general, everything was going well.

In the middle of December, I stopped taking Chantix and immediately displayed extremely erratic behavior. This included paranoia, anger, aggression, panic, anxiety, confusion, and hallucinations. I was ultimately taken by ambulance to the emergency room. My medical records state it took the assistance of approximately 4-5 EMS and firefighters. I was uncooperative, agitated and combative, causing them to apply a 4-point restraint system on me. From there, I spent 5 days in an Acute Behavioral Health Unit (aka psychiatric ward). It was a locked facility and a place of extreme darkness, where I was administered various drugs and interacted with other patients through group therapy sessions. It was there that I met some of the strongest and bravest people in my life, who struggled with a lifetime of serious behavioral health issues (God Bless you Mary, Sonia, and Andy).

My only exit from the locked facility was when they wheeled me out to do other tests such as MRI’s, Cat Scan’s, EEG’s, etc. to confirm I did not have any more serious brain disorders. After five days, I was released and have now been officially diagnosed with a “Substance Induced Psychotic Disorder” and "Anxiety Disorder". Prior to this event, I had never had any type of mental health issues or been on any type of anti-depression medication. I have no history of depression or other mental health problems. The doctors believe my psychotic episode is the direct result of stopping the Chantix medication and the Anxiety is due to the events which followed.

What I experienced is a typical “black box warning” of Chantix. But here’s the deal...I was desperate to quit smoking and I thought it couldn’t happen to me. For those of you who know me best, you know that I’m a Type“A” personality and a highly functional individual, managing a family, full-time job, and MBA program. Those that don’t know me will have to take my word that if this can happen to me, it can happen to you or someone you love.

The bottom line is this, it is my opinion that Chantix is a mind altering drug with serious consequences. If you feel compelled, please share my story and help me with my ONE GOAL: TO GET CHANTIX OFF THE MARKET. Feel free to contact me and share your own Chantix story here.

43 comments:

  1. Tina, Thank you for sharing your story. You have been through so much. I hope anyone considering taking chantix will not after reading this. go get 'em.

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  2. I've known Tina since the day my parents brought her home from the hospital to be my baby sister. As a family member it was so hard to watch a loved one go through what Tina went through. I can agree with her that she would be the last person we would expect to have something like this happen. At the same time we are thankful, because Tina's story could have had a much more tragic outcome if the drug had caused her to harm herself directly. Because she has attentive, loving husband and parents she got the help she needed to be safe from accidently injuring herself or others. Not everyone who has taken this drug has had a positive outcome.

    I think we as consumers need to think about our expectations to have a designer drug to fix everything. Evening prime-time TV is packed with lengthy (and very expensive) commercials pushing the latest pill. Wouldn't that money be better spent in research and development??? I work in a physician's office where several times each week pharmicutical companies send their representitives to buy lunch for the whole office-- or invite staff to their "presentations" at the best restaurants in town. yes, they do bring some useful information and data. but can't statistics be slanted by the company pushing for profit? and who is really paying for all this?? I think it is the grandmother who can't afford her prescription each month, the patient who's prescriber is subconsciously influenced by the marketing and possibly people like Tina who may be the victim of corners being cut in researching these drugs??? I think I'm going to start packing my lunch for work and skip the feasts brought in by the drug reps. That might not make much difference, but I think stories like Tina's will. Go Tina!

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  3. Tina! I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you, but so happy you emerged from it safely and clearly stronger!

    And BTW - your blog post is very eloquent and well written!

    Glad you are better and able to talk about this very scary experience!

    Kathy Kerrigan

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  4. Tina, I wish I had known you were going through this. But now that I do know, I will be praying for you and your family. You DO have friends and family that love you! I've passed this story on to everyone I know, your story will be told.

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  5. Tina - I am so sorry to hear about this. you and your family are in my prayers. I am not sure if i knew you were a smoker or not. I was but quit about 10 years ago. It is not an easy task. Glad you have master both of these situations. You will be strong for going through them. Take Care Friend - I'm here if you need me.

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  6. Tina, I am so sorry to hear you went through this terrifying ordeal! My heart goes out to you and your family. I will share your story with everyone I know who is considering this drug to quit smoking. Hubby refused to use it, and has managed to quit with the patch and gum, and some herbal "happy camper" supplements from the natural foods store- Thank God for natural medicine!! So, for anyone reading this trying to quit smoking- go get some natural supplements instead, and check for drug interactions with what you are currently taking before you use anything!!!
    Tina, I am so glad you have spoken out on this issue! The Big pharma companies are actually killing people with these drugs they push(I think it is safe to say they are drug dealers) I used to deliver those lunches ordered by the drug reps,as they delivered their latest samples to doctors. Makes me so mad to have to wait to see my doctor, because the drug reps are there making their deals. Today, almost every commercial is for some drug;- and we laugh at the side effects they are rattling off, because they are more dangerous than the problem being treated! Yet, we think because they are on the US market, they must be safe enough to take. Not so! There is so much corruption behind the pharmaceutical market, and it is time it was exposed. You are doing a brave thing to speak out- My prayers are with you, and you have my full support. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  7. Tina - I am reading this in tears. I never had any idea that you were going through this. I know we exchanged a few text messages but I didn't take anything seriously. I am so sorry!! I just want you to know that I am hear for you, miss you and love you.

    Ryan

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  8. My name is Anita and I too have suffered terribly due to Chantix. Using it made me feel like I was in a black hole!! Please keep working to get this dangerous drug off the market!!

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  9. Tina,

    I read your blog and I'm very sorry you went through that experience. But I can't say I agree with you on taking it off the market. I took Chantix about a year and a half ago and it worked just fine for me. I was VERY apprehensive at first because I had heard that there was side effects such as horrible nightmares, suicidal tendencies, and upset stomach etc. I questioned my doctor about it a year before I actually took it. He said you have to be mentally "done" with smoking. I started taking it about a year later, I read all the material that came with it. One of the things they said in the literature is if you start to have a bad side effect while on it, you should not abruptly stop taking the chantix, but immediately see your doctor. So taking that into consideration, I took the chantix for about 3 months. Toward the end of the 3 months, when I decided I was going to stop taking it, I instead of stopping "cold turkey", decided to ween myself off it. Going from 2 pills a day, to 1 a day, to 1 every other day and so forth. The only side effects I experienced were a few vivid dreams(not nightmares) and an upset stomach if I didn't take it with food. I have been off it for a year and a half now and I have not had one cigarette since then. It doesn't even bother me if others smoke around me(my girlfriend smokes too). I have 2 friends who tried it, and it had bad results for them too. One had a reduced sex drive and the other suffered from bad headaches. After reading about your experience as well as my friends I can say that before anyone takes it they should:

    1. Talk to their doctor to be sure he knows enough about chantix to educate you about it.
    2. Do your own research. Talk to people who have taken it. If you don't know anybody who has taken it, then post a question about it on your facebook status or search google for forums on it.
    3. Make sure you check in with your doctor while on it. While your at the doctor's office schedule some type of "well being check" be it a phone call, or another office visit. It helps to have something scheduled so you'll be a little more conscious of what the drug is doing to you since you will have check in with your doctor at one point.

    Tina, I must say that I am sorry you had to go through that horrible experience. But I do not think chantix should be taken off the market because of your experience either. I believe it should be a closely monitored drug because it does help some people achieve that profoundly difficult goal to stop smoking.

    I hope you would reconsider, and help educate people on the risks involved so they can be more informed if they choose to take it.

    Sincerely,

    F

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  10. Thank you for bringing this to everyones attention. Here is my story, my wife who is 40 years old started smoking at age 13. She works a stressful job, deals with the kids, and everything else. On any given day she usually smokes more than 2 packs a day. Sometimes she even gets up in the middle of the night to smoke. She says she is totally addicted to cigarettes and really has no desire to quit. Recently she had a doctors visit where her doctor suggested that she quit or atleast cut back. She told him that in recent years she has tried to quit using the patch, but found herself still smoking with the patch. So that did not work. Her doctor prescribed Chantix, but she has yet to get the product. Now with this informaiton that you have provided I will show her what you have gone through. I would rather her smoke than being locked up and medicated.
    Thank you,
    TR

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  11. I agree with these comment's. I took it for about three weeks and it had very strange effects on me as well. That could have also been my doctor or pharmist fault though because i was on differant meds and had a bad interaction. This drug is "EVIL" and should be pulled off the market, or at least investigated further before perscribing.

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  12. I had smoked for a very long time and had tried different things to quit. I ask my doctor
    for Chantix and have been smoke free now for four years and I have never had a problem with that med. I also don't take hardly any western meds but needed a extra puch to quit. I am sorry you had that problem with Chantix but for me it worked.

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  13. My sister, like you is a very strong, well educated, and works in a high stress job. She took Chantix to help her quit smoking and began having hallucinations just a few days after taking Chantix. She immediately quit taking the drug but the side still continue months later. She has panic and anxiety attacks, has suicidal thoughts, shaking, unclear thoughts, difficulty concentrating. She is not the same person that she was 6 months ago. We are fighting right now to save her. Take this drug off the market.

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  14. Sorry to hear that you had problems. I have smoked for 46 years and just under 2 packs a day. My doctor warned about the possible side affects of Chantix but also reminded me of the known affects of smoking. I have never had the will power to quit for more than a couple of weeks. I took Chantix for about 11 weeks and have been off it for a little over 1 month. The only reaction that I had was mild middle insomnia. I would wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. That problem is gone now and I sleep well. In fact better than I have in years. Maybe because after 4 months of not smoking I don't cough all night. I always wonder if the people that have mental problems from Chantix had them already but they were repressed.

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  15. Tina,

    Do you have a phone number or e-mail address that I can contact you to find out how you came out of this? We are fighting to save my sister's life right now.

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  16. Please do exactly what my family did for me and seek help from professionals immediately … if you live in the Chicagoland area, call Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital at 847-755-8090. Ask for Dr. Syed, Psychiatry, specializing in Addiction Medicine. This is the doctor that cared for me after my release and has gotten me through the last two months. God be with you and your family at this difficult time.

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  17. Thank you Tina. Right now she is in a hospital, but refusing to see or talk with any of us. She is very angry with us for taking her to the hospital.

    Thank you for speaking out and letting the public know how dangerous this drug is.

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  18. To commenter “F” – you were indeed one of the lucky ones. However I think you’ve missed the point. This “could have” happened to you. Then you too would be singing a different tune (if you had even survived it). Tina was fortunate that she was not alone when she became distressed, otherwise she may not be here to even tell this story – as is the case with many Chantix victims. As with everything else in our society…how big of a deal is it if it didn’t happen to me? And how many disrupted lives, or deaths, are acceptable before a drug is pulled from market? Products are pulled from market for much less than current Chantix reports every day in our country.
    I found a 7/1/09 FDA press release about smoking cessation drug warnings where Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research states: “The risk of serious adverse events while taking these products must be weighed against the significant health benefits of quitting smoking,” and she goes on to say that physicians should monitor patients taking these drugs for any unusual changes in mood or behavior.
    Really Janet? So if the “disease” of smoking is more dangerous than the “cure” of Chantix, Zyban or others, then why does the FDA turn a blind eye to the tobacco industry?
    If the FDA, the government, or the health care industry really wanted people to stop smoking, wouldn’t they just outlaw the manufacturing and sales of tobacco? Instead, tobacco users are ridiculed, banished 20 feet from the front door (to protect the non-smokers), and outrageous taxes are imposed upon them. Smokers spend money on the product, they pay higher insurance rates, they pay doctors to treat their smoking ailments, they pay drug companies for nicotine replacement products (that rarely work) and they spend money on products like Chantix that have proven to introduce new risks to many smokers – including death. Some of those smokers, like Tina, then had to spend more money on health care due to the side effects of the smoking cessation product!
    It is clear to me that the entire anti-smoking industry is satisfied that they actually CAUSE an “acceptable” number of deaths and they are satisfied with smokers that repeatedly fail and come back over and over again – as long as they keep forking over the money.
    What I would give for the day that every smoker could stop at the same time – then we would clearly see the impact of the smokers’ dollar in government, drug industry, health care industry, insurance companies, anti-smoking marketing campaigns and who knows where else the “wealth” gained from suffering smokers would come crashing to the ground.
    This is even bigger than Chantix – we have a whole host of big business demonizing, abusing and participating in the human-trafficking of smokers. Where should we start to bring them down?

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  19. I took chantix for 1 month and have quit smoking now for 10 months. I've had no side effects from taking and I feel fine.

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  20. Tina, I hope you are completely well now. Thank you for sharing your story. To TR who said he would rather have his wife continue to smoke rather than being locked up and medicated, I know many people who successfully quit using Chantix. Their success motivated me to try it and I quit smoking with Chantix more than two years ago. I was a heavy smoker- 2 packs a day. Both my doctor and pharmacist have told me that they are amazed at the # of patients that succeeded with Chantix. Neither had any patients who suffered problems like Tina did. Hopefully, someone will be able to determine which people may be likely to have severe side effects from Chantix or determine what can be done to prevent side effects. For those that are trying to quit, best of luck, you can do it.

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  21. It’s March 5, 2010 and I’ve been feeling weird again, so I came downstairs to see if there's anything new written about Chantix. I haven’t checked in months, because I want to put the whole thing behind me. It started in September of 08, about two weeks after starting Chantix, and just a few hours after I snuffed out what I had hoped would be my final cigarette. I screamed at several people at work, attributed it to withdrawals and lit up again. In less than an hour I was in an urgent care facility waiting room on the verge of tears for no reason. Coworkers urged me to seek help after I became confused bagging merchandise. Urgent care docs attributed the side effects to Chantix and told me to stop taking it. I did. Then that evening I tried to sleep but couldn’t and ended up in the ER; delusional, paranoid, confused, and anxious. I was completely inarticulate, and could not find my way to the bathroom around the corner. I was given muscle relaxers, sent home, and the next day my elderly parents flew in from Florida to take care of me. They stayed for over a month. Getting dressed was a monumental task; baking a cake mix took 2 hours and was so overwhelming that I ended up in urgent care again with a severe anxiety attack; and operating the stove or driving became far too dangerous. I was a basket case. Slowly these symptoms began to subside, and I thought I had my final episode on election day of 08, but here it is 16 months later and I feel them coming back; just when I got back to work and even started my own business. Before Chantix I had the strength to cope with the fact that I had a child serving in Iraq, and now a misplaced car key triggers anxiety attacks. Nothing is worse than losing your mind. Not sure which suburb you live in, but a support group might be a good idea. It sounds like there is a lot of suffering out as a result of Chantix.

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  22. i have a son who took chantix and had severe side effects and I dont know half of what he is still going thru He seems to be managing his symtoms for now but I know the outward appearace is not a true picture of what is going on on the inside . Thay need to take Chantix off the market I saw what he went thru and dont wish that on anyone He is still my loving son who has forever been changed due to the drug
    Sincerly a mom in nc

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  23. I sing the praises of Chantix, you people should be screened or something. I was 3 packs a day and quit in 9 weeks with only nausea as a side effect. Maybe all these people were not psychologically sound to begin with, but I told 3 other friends about it and they quit too. You are maligning a wonderful drug here, maybe they should be required to have a psychiatric screening before taking the drug, but I think mentally fine people do wonderful on it.

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  24. Dear Anonymous .... Tina WAS psychologically sound you idiot. Congrats to you ... you survived this dangerous drug. There are thousands of people that did not. Are you "mentally fine" .... if so, how do you know? Well perhaps you should take the Chantix test and if you don't commit suicide then you pass as "mentally fine." But is rolling the dice worth it? I THINK NOT!!!

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  25. I also used Chantix with no issues. Wonderful drug. I was 2+ packs a day. Almost 2 years now without smoking.

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  26. I am taking Chantix for the third time. The first time I took the drug, I quit smoking. I also drank alcohol occasionally. I would get very angry. I had severe outbursts, and I would sometimes black out. I quit the Chantix, but I started smoking again. I attributed my issues to alcohol so, after a month or so, I tried Chantix again. I decided not to drink at all that time. I was doing well. I followed the Chantix site by checking in daily and using some of the suggestions. I completely quit smoking. I did notice side effects. I was very tired, but I couldn't sleep well. I started getting almost scared to leave the house. I wasn't socializing like I used too. I attributed it to the fact that most of my friends were smokers, and I just couldn't be around them for a while. I stopped taking the Chantix after two months. A month later I started smoking again. I smoked more then ever! My husband and I decided that, even though I did have side effects, the best option would be for me to try the drug again. I have been on it for almost two months now. I plan to start weening myself off. The side effects have been severe. I have headaches, muscle cramps, and some muscle twitches. I have a very difficult time getting out of bed. I can't tell if I'm depressed of just sleep deprived. I can only sleep in about 30 minute intervals now. My house is a disaster because I am so tired all the time. I am to the point where I won't even answer calls from my friends. I am not smoking, and all I can do is hope that all of the suffering will not be in vain. I read posts about Chantix working for some people. The commercials make it sound like a miracle. I know two others who have tried this drug now. They also experienced serious symptoms, and it did not work for them. My pharmacist expressed great concern. He warned me about others experiencing adverse affects. My doctor was hesitant about this drug, but I specifically asked for it. I cannot tell people what to do, and I do think that to quit smoking I would do almost anything. I would go to a hospital if I could quit. I would suffer through depression. At this point though, I think I am finally understanding the greater concerns. If there is a chance that this drug can cause permanent damage to your brain, well, had I been aware of the possibility, I would have reconsidered. I had never considered a pharmasudical labotomy before. I will probably be fine after a while. Hopefully I will quit smoking permanently. I would caution those considering Chantix as an option however, it may take years or you may never recover.

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  27. On June 19th- Father's Day, my dad committed suicide after taking Chantix. My dad was rock solid, and the most rational, sane person I knew. He had taken Chantix for a few months, stopped and then started again. He became a different person after starting it, and we kept waiting him to "come around" after stopping it. He was still smoking. If only we had known that the withdrawal from Chantix could be a problem. I can't explain what it is like to lose a loved one that way, but my heart is broken for me and for my one year old daughter who will never know how wonderful her grandfather was. He was a very successful businessman, had a great wife and loved his grandchildren dearly. In his free time, he made the grandchildren all sorts of wood work momentos like music boxes, board puzzles and nightlights. Chantix destroyed all of that. The pain my mother is going through is unimaginable and my heart breaks for her. This drug needs to either be pulled from the market or much more closely monitored so no other family goes through what we are going through now.

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  28. Kris, I am so very sorry for the loss of your father. This is just so very sad and tragic. This drug did this to him!! I know first hand what he was going through - the withdrawal is so severe. I don't know why I survived but he didn't, but please believe me that he had no control over his actions. God bless you, your mom and your beautiful baby girl. You now have an angel watching over you!

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  29. I started taking Chantix in May of 2008. My doctor said it was the new miracle pill to quit smoking. At that time there was no black box warning.

    I am also a vet, suffer from PTSD. At that time the VA's report was not known from their 2007 study. 1 in 1000 people have a serious psychosis event on this drug and 1 out of every 2 that suffers from PTSD according to the VA's study had a serious psychosis to this drug. Had I known this I would have never taken Chantix. Very similar to the James Elliot case.

    Instead, I took this drug in May of 2008, by June my pastor says I was back in the zone, by July no longer mentally present, and by August I was in a full blown stasis of paranoia, and schizophrenic behaviors.

    On September 5th 2008 I asked for help from a local police officer, I was making the complaint of being followed, stalked, and threatened, I felt that my life was in danger.

    I told him I had a 9mm and would protect myself if this continued. My statement and plea for help was ignored. It was listed as a meth-amphetamine induced psychosis.

    On September 6th, an aggressive driver suffering from road rage crossed my path. Believing I was acting in self defense, I confronted this driver. Performed a citizen's arrest. The driver while being told he was under citizens arrest quickly dropped his hands, at which time I raised my weapon.

    I ordered the driver to raise his hands slowly, he complied. I then lowered my weapon. After waiting 20 minutes for the police to arrive, fearing that he was not working alone, I ordered the driver to pull to the side of the road and wait for the police.

    I then turned myself in.

    I dont have any recollection of this event. These are witness accounts to my state of psychosis. I was charged with felony coersion with a firearm. Thank God nobody was actually hurt that day.

    There was no proof of any meth-amphetamine use, yet that is also part of the states arguement. No blood test, no urinalysis. No forensic evidence to support their claim.

    There is proof I was taking Chantix and by witness accounts, was in a state of severe psychosis well before this incident.

    On September 14th of 2011. I will surrender my freedom for a minimum of 9 months to 5 felony charges of coersion (plea offer). My lawyer failed to find a witness after 3 years (truth is he started looking 3 weeks ago). Am I sorry about what happened? Yes, even mortified by it, humiliated, and subjected to much much public ridicule.

    Before March of 2009 the information on Chantix would not confirm any of these problems. My family thought I was using drugs because of my erratic behavior. In March of 2009, the FDA released its infamous black box warning.

    To all the professionals out there that wont step up, I hope you are getting rich testifying for big law firms. As for me, I have run out of time. No professional witnesses can make it on a 3 week notice. Dont figure. So I get to be branded as a drug crazed lunatic, that in a state of a drug induced psychosis called the police on himself.

    I will live with this plea offer, had I been able to secure a professional witness, I would have gambled my freedom for the truth to be heard.

    to contact me personally I can be reached at

    Robertonchantix@yahoo.com

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  30. A month ago I was in love, my career was solid, and had just spent time camping with 11 of my buddies, that I've known for over 37 years. I was as happy as I can ever remember. I started Chantix Aug 2nd, and after the 4 weeks. I am now holed up in my house for the 3rd day in a row. Beside compulsive moments of extreme Anxiety that I need something, but unable to decide just what that might be. I've destroyed my relationship, because of unsupported jealousy, and paranoia. I have went from being a confident capable man to what amounts to a shell of my former self. After reading all this information, I'm afraid I will never be the same. I quit taking Chantix 8 days ago, and now feel worse then ever. Something entered my brain, and soul, And I'm worried it will never be the same. The irony is I quit because my girlfriend ask me to, and now she won't even be in the same room alone with me anymore. Which works out fine because I don't want anyone to be around me anyway. Thanks Chantix-I would rather be in an oxygen tent dying from Lung Cancer, then to be feeling what I'm feeling now. I've always been the one to livin' up a room-not anymore, unless it's a mortuary. No one understands.

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  31. I understand anonymous ... please seek help. You don't have to go through this alone. This is not you, its the drug Chantix. For me and many other people, symptoms get worse when stopping. It will get better but takes time to get completely out of your system.

    And Robert, your story breaks my heart. God be with you at this very difficult time.

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    1. Chantix sent me off the deep end too. I went from euphoric to delusional with nightmares at night. Stopped the Chantix and one night I went to the store and forgot where I lived or who I was. Spent the night in a hotel. Shopped like a lunatic, wrote bad checks, drove my car into a ditch and left it there. Ended up being found catatonic by a friend at my house and was taken to the psych ward where they kept me for ten days heavily drugged. Went home and into a deep depression for months, thought of suicide constantly, lost my house. If it hadn't been for my two dogs and a wonderful psychiatrist that kept adjusting my meds, I wouldn't be here today. A year later I am happy, healthy and hopeful again.

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  32. First, God bless you and I'm glad that you made it through that nightmare.

    I just have to chime in and say that for every horror story being posted, there are dozens of lives being saved by using the drug.

    I used it, quit and have never felt better. I had some nausea, some really great dreams and felt dazed a few times, but it's a strong medication - there's no denying that.

    I'm, smoke free, though...and I tried everything prior to Chantix.

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  33. Mourning Fiance. I lost my fiance on August 20th after he had been using this drug for a short time. He shot himself in the bathroom with a gun and there were no signs of depression or other of the warning signs. I had coffee that morning with him that morning and by mid morning I found him on the bathroom floor. Please think and I hope we do not have to lose anymore loved ones to this drug

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  34. I am your fiance's aunt. I am distraught over this tradegy.This should never have happened. I have researched and am determened to spread the word on this drug and campain to get it off the market. Even as a child he was the one with the "heart of gold" My prayers and thoughts to you and ours.

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  35. I am so sorry about your fiance - I'm sure there is a lot of guilt that you are feeling, but trust me, there was nothing you could have done to prevent this. His brain was not working the right way, and the drug Chantix is responsible. My heart breaks for you and my prayers go out to you and your family - be strong.

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  36. Hi there Tina. Sorry you have had this life changing experience. I've read a bunch of different blogs this evening about taking Chantix/Champix because I was set to start taking it tomorrow morning. I've decided not to. I don't even wanna risk going thru what you or anyone else I've read about went thru. I am 30 and have been smoking for roughly 15 years. I haven't tried cold turkey quitting yet so that's what I'm gonna do. If I'm unsuccessful I will try hypnosis before I decide to take a pill to quit. I believe that the human mind can be a powerful tool with the right train of thought. With positive reinforcement thinking along with will power I'm hopping I can crush this habit the first go round. I'm sick and tired of these pharmaceutical companies shoving commercial adds and how great they can be yet in the fine print which they do not advertise how the side affects are typically far worse than the problem you need the meds for anyway. Anyhow I wish you the best of luck and hope everything works out good for you.

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  37. I just lost my best friend and father to my children. He was taking Chantix. He had become very angry. He hung himself in front of me. I could not save him. I want Chantix off the market. What can I do?

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    1. You can report it to the FDA and the more reports they get, the stronger chance we can get this drug off the market. There link is here:https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/
      I am truly sorry for your loss and pain

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  38. This really scares me. I have been taking Chantix for a month, I just finished my starter pack. Everything is going great, I quit smoking, I feel so much better. I decided that I would not need to take Chantix any further. Yesterday was the first day I had not had Chantix, by the time I got home, I was really anxious, I was having heart palpitations, I was very emotional and was ready to smoke again.....I am scared because I didn't want to go through this and start smoking again, I went and bought the next 4 weeks, hoping to wein myself off of them. Reading this and other things that I have googled, really have me scared. I don't know what to do :(

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  39. I took chantix for 2 1/2 weeks and was angry the whole time, I had crazy vivid dreams, and finally what made me stop talking it was a blackout. The blackout happened on st Patrick's day. I always liked to smoke when I was drinking so before I went out that day I took 2 pills. After bar hopping in Wrigley Ville for a few hours I black out. I remember parts of it like movie clips. I got into a fight in an ally. Fast forward to running and jumping from roof top to roof top. Fast forward to breaking into someone's apartment and getting into another fight. I woke up in the hospital and I was told by 3 different doctors that I was drugged. The only things that came up on my toxicology report were the chantix and the alcohol. I had about 9 drinks in 2 hours and the 2 chantix pills, and I'm not the kind off person to get into a fight our run and jump off a roof top, or break into a house for that matter.

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  40. Dear Tina, I am so sorry about what you went through. I am writing you because unfortunately my son has gone thru pretty much exactly what you did. The nightmare ER trip, subsequent hospitalization, it has been a life altering nightmare ... for someone who had no prior issues. I am please asking if you have any advice on how to go forward, or any other Dr's you could recommend. Unfortunately Dr. Syed is not accepting new patients. Any advice would be tremendously appreciated. We are in the Chicago suburbs. If you are able to please contact me at ctbpger@gmail.com thank you so much.

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  41. My husband and I decided to quit smoking together. We went to our own doctors, both of them prescribed Chantix to us without mention of any dangerous side effects. My husband started on Monday and I started on Thursday. That night I woke up with an excruciating headache. I took some over the counter pain relievers and went back to bed. When I woke in the morning I still had a headache, I was tired, yet jittery, I felt nauseous and just not myself, like I had taken cold medicine. We had event tickets that night. Despite how I felt, we still decided to go. I never took another Chantix pill. I started to feel myself again after a few hours there. My husband on the other hand was not himself. He was uncharacteristically irritated about the schedule of events, I felt like anything I did or said pissed him off. At one point he was so mad at me (for nothing) that he left and said he was walking home (22 miles away). I expected him to come back, but he never did. The only conclusion I could come up with was that this was the Chantix. I didn't even know where to start looking for him. I did my best, but eventually gave up. I was convinced I'd be making a missing persons report the next day. Not until the next morning did I find out that he had a full blown psychotic episode that night. He spent hours walking the streets, visiting bars and trying to get a hotel room (they were all booked). He has large moments in time missing from his memory (black outs). He eventually took a taxi home and decided to spend the rest of the night in our garage. While in the garage he had hallucinations of flashing lights, fire and tarantulas crawling up his legs. He said he removed his clothing and put it back on several times and spent hours talking himself out of his overwhelming urge to kill himself. Eventually he came to the realization himself that this was the Chantix. Had he not realized this, he probably would have killed himself that night. Neither one of us have ever had any mental health conditions, we were just trying to better our lives for our 4 year old son.

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