Chantix and quitting smoking (long)

I searched the board last week for threads on Chantix and didn’t find too many threads dedicated to the drug, but the threads I did find were quite helpful.

I’m taking Chantix now (it’s a drug prescribed to help a person quit smoking) and I thought I’d post a new thread and hopefully get some new stories about people taking it.

So this is my fourth and hopefully final attempt to quit smoking. Been smoking since I was 17 in 1996, I’m 32 now. I tried Welbutrin (it gave me the worst panic attack ever), patches (I became allergic to the patches) and cold turkey (yeeeaah…hard). I can’t try the gum because I have a bad jaw and can’t do gum.

I was really hesitant to try the Chantix, after my experience with Welbutrin. My job doesn’t allow me to be muddy or hyper or moody or anything. I really need to be on the ball. I also didn’t want to become depressed or have another super panic attack.

But I also realized that I’d tried everything else, short of hypnosis, and I needed to give this a try. A few weeks of moodiness was going to be better than a lifetime of smoking.

So I got a prescription and I read all the literature. I was still nervous to start taking it. Stuff I read on the SDMB ranged from “I heard of a guy who killed himself while taking Chantix” to “My friend just up and quit, thanks to the Chantix.” Pleasant stories SLIGHTLY outweighed the horror stories, so I started taking the pills that night.

You go up from .5mg a day (3 days) to 1mg a day (4 days) to 2mg a day (11 weeks). Right now I’m on day 4 of 2mg.

The day I started, I emailed my brother to let him know that if I call him he’d better answer. He’s the one who came and saved me from my super panic attack.

I emailed my business partner and told him that it’s possible I may be moody or mean for a while, but please let me know if he thinks I am off balance. I told him I planned to be hyper-aware of my mood and my emotions and I wanted to be sure not to go overboard.

However, I have experienced none of the crazy side effects. The ONLY problem I’ve had is that the first few days, at .5mg, I did have bad gas (this is the #1 side effect). That is actually ok because I work alone, from home :slight_smile:

My sleeping has been fine. My dreams have been a little longer than normal but they haven’t been nightmares (I’ve always been a vivid dreamer). My demeanor has been fine - I may be a little extra chatty but that I feel is pure nicotine withdrawal.

I’ve not experienced any nausea whatsoever, but I am extra careful to always take the pill on a full stomach. In fact, I went out and got myself some special snacks (high protein snack bars) to take with my pills in case I didn’t remember to take them after a meal.

The BEST part is…I have actually quit smoking. I haven’t had a cig in almost 72 hours now which is a milestone for me. On previous quit attempts, I would still be sneaking a smoke (sneaking from myself?) at night “oh just one” or taking drags from my dad when I visited him.

The Chantix instructions say to just keep smoking as you work your way up to the 2mg a day and then pick a Quit Day. I marked a big red Q on my calendar for Monday the 7th. I actually smoked a good bit that first week, before the 7th. I was waiting for the Chantix to make me stop. It never happened.

Instead I realized that it was getting easier to forget that I wanted to smoke. As in…I still had to physically stop myself from acting on that initial impulse to smoke, but instead of sitting around becoming increasingly agitated that I was not smoking, the impulse would pass and suddenly it would be a few hours since I last thought about it.

Two cool things:

  1. I went to my dad’s at the end of day 1 of having quit. Dad smokes a lot, and he is always willing to share a cig. I could have stood there and lit one up from his pack or dragged on his, but I didn’t. I was totally ok.

  2. I have one cig and two half-smoked-butts left in my house. They’re not in plain sight but I do see them when I open the closet. I haven’t touched them tho. They’re just there so I don’t go mental thinking there’s no cigs in the house, but I am completely able to avoid them. On previous quitting attempts, I’d be going mental w/o any cigs in the house and I’d keep buying more.

Just thought I would share this positive Chantix story with anyone not sure about using it as a method to quit. I was scared shitless to start, honestly. If my chemistry were different I think it may have caused problems. But so far it’s worked as advertised and I couldn’t be happier. This may be the Magic Pill!

If anyone has stories - good or bad - to share about Chantix, please share them here. IMHO it really does help to get some real-world stories from “trusted friends” instead of just reading the literature or whack-a-doodles spouting off on other corners of the Internet.

Oh, and here are the previous threads I read:

I quit two and a half years ago with Chantix, and am still dealing with the repercussions of the depression and generally mental wackiness it caused me. But, to me, it’s still better than still smoking. I’m SO glad I quit, I probably would have sacrificed a finger for it. Good for you and keep it up!

My husband quit about two years ago with Chantix. It was like a miracle, and he didn’t have any nasty side effects either.

It will be three years on May 4th that I quit smoking, and I used the wellbutrin; my doctor did not recommend chantix for me. I did smoke right up to my QUIT day but about a week before I found myself not even wanting to finish smoking the cigarettes. I haven’t even had a puff since nor will I; I fear that it would be the first step down the slippery slope to smoking again so won’t even consider doing it. I don’t think I would want to use wellbutrin again, though, because I did not come off it gradually (which is what I think you’re supposed to do) - I just stopped taking it, and I went into a real tailspin. :frowning: It took me a while to realize that it was the medication that was making me feel that way - or rather the medication that I wasn’t taking any longer.

Congratulations on quitting, ZipperJJ!

It’s been one month and 8 days since I quit (cold turkey.) I have not have a single puff since the day I quit. Congratulations!

Cantix worked to perfection for me. The desire to smoke
virtually disappeared on schedule with no side affects at
all. I put out my last cigarette at exactly 9:24am June 30, 2009
and it has been clear sailing ever since. Wish I had quit
as soon as the drug came out.

My wife used Chantix to quit a few years back, and it worked like a charm for her too. In fact, she quit afte 2 months on the drug, rather than 3.

She said the hardest part was the physical aspects of it… getting in a car and not lighting up, as was her habit. Or going out to a bar, and not having a smoke while she had a drink. Physical habits, but no real “craving” in that classic quitting kind of way.

Yeah so far it seems like the physical stuff you have to get over on your own. But having Chantix take care of the mental stuff has really made it much easier.

Good on everyone in this thread who’s quit - no matter how you do it!

For me, the only thing Chantix did was make sure the nicotine was not delivered. So smoking was useless, and I’d have been wasting my money. It didn’t really quell the craving for nicotine. It did help, as I hate wasting money, and so I wouldn’t buy cigarettes. I still had to go through the withdrawal and cravings, though. Maybe other people’s experiences were different, but that’s how it made me not buy cigarettes, and I’m too proud to bum them from friends and neighbors, so I just didn’t smoke. After the first two weeks, it wasn’t too bad, though.

I quit on 7th January 09 using Champix (the name for Chantix in Australia). So it’s just now two years.

I had been smoking a pack a day or more for 24 years. I had tried to quit a few times but I went mental and I didn’t really want to.

I had nausea issues on Chantix, some headaches - I generally felt pretty crap, but how much of that was the nicotine withdrawal and how much was the Chantix, I can’t say. I smoked past my quit date by a few days, three maybe? I can’t remember. I had at that stage stopped smoking at work and was only having one or two in the morning.

The day I quit I didn’t decide to quit that day, I just decided to skip the morning one. At lunchtime, I really wanted one, and I started to walk to the smoking area and just thought…nah, I feel yucky anyway, and I can just not have this. I count that as the moment I quit.

It was tough - I got insomnia, which is one of my nicotine withdrawal symptoms. I really didn’t feel well at all the whole time, my stomach felt…tender…for a want of a better word. I did quit them early although I DON’T recommend it

But they worked. The ability to go…meh, not now, maybe later until later never came was worth everyday of feeling awful.

No mental sypmtoms, though. And no cheating, I have not even had a puff since.

The only other tip I have is something Whynot talked about once, which is circular breathing. Breathe in for four, hold for four, out for four and hold for four when you want a smoke. It helped me get over that itchy, mental, rat on a wheel thinking and realise I didn’t want it and I’d feel yucky if I did have one.