Chantix Side Effects May Be Worse Than Continuing To Smoke

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention around 20% of American adults and teenagers are currently smokers, whether it be cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Everyone knows that tobacco use has been linked to heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and numerous types of cancers, but addiction is often a high hurdle to leap. More than 30% of smokers attempt to quit each year, but less than 3% are successful. In the past few years there have been multiple prescription medications developed to assist with smoking cessation, and while they work in theory there are risks associated with each that may even outweigh the risks taken by lighting up.

 

The most popular smoking cessation drug over the past decade is Chantix. Doctors love to prescribe it because its effect is the blockage of nicotine receptors in the brain that in turn reduces cravings. The problem with this is that these receptors are also responsible for dopamine and serotonin. These naturally occurring chemicals in the brain help to manage exciting or stressful situations, so by blocking them it is entirely possible to make anxiety and depression more prevalent. This is not new information by the way, the FDA even alerted the public of some of the serious side effects associated with Chantix back in 2008, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices released a report that revealed Chantix is responsible for more serious drug adverse events than any other drug. Some of the side effects listed on the front page of the Chantix web site are:

  • Changes in behavior

  • Hostility

  • Agitation

  • Depressed mood

  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

  • Anxiety

  • Panic Aggression

  • Anger

  • Mania

  • Abnormal sensations

  • Hallucinations

  • Paranoia

  • Confusion

  • Nausea

  • Sleep problems

  • Constipation

  • Vomiting

  • Rash

  • Swelling

  • Redness and peeling of the skin

  • Swelling of the face, mouth and throat


 

Its a shame that with such good intention comes a solution that is actually worse than the problem its meant to treat. Addiction is no joke, and while its the American dream to have a pill that will do it all for us, its not always so easy. Your brain manufactures dopamine to deal with stress, but nicotine use takes its place and eventually your body can stop making dopamine altogether. There are many all natural remedies to help you or someone you love quit smoking. Focus on complex carbohydrates, vitamin B, and omega 3 fatty acids to increase production of dopamine and serotonin and youll be off on the right foot.

 

Sources:

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP

NY Times

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