After 5 Days-Back on the Chantix

Smoke Free 76 Days!

Wow! It seems like forever! I took Chantix for 6-weeks and thought I would try to get off of it because of bad things I am hearing in the news. I have not had any of the side effects-depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.-that they are discussing about Chantix. Anyway, I went off of it last Monday. It has a 5-day half life, sort of a self tapering system. So, by day 5, it is completely out of your system. Well, Thursday, day 4, I was kind of depressed and weepy,(which is exactly the way I am without my cigarettes.) Then Friday, I had a fully blown depression episode of crying and not being able to stop. That usually happens to me when I get off nicotine. When I would go to a lower dose nicotine patch is usually when I when get like that and smoke, hence I never got past 60 days before Chantix. When I am on Chantix I am fine, without it I could smoke just to make me quit crying. Anyway, I filled my Rx and got another six-week supply, (I only take one 1mg Chantix in the morning. I do not take two 1mg doses.) The one at night was just too much and I couldn’t get to sleep and when I finally did I didn’t want to get up. So one Chantix has been working for me for 6 weeks now.

So, I am back on the Chantix. Big deal! I did not smoke and I could of. There are plenty of people at work that would give me one. My son gave me a good idea on how to look at going back on the Chantix. He said, “Look at it like you do your anti-depressant. It is medicine, that helps you, not a drug.” Well, that helped me so much. As a matter of fact, my Doctor told me I could stay on it a year if that is what it takes for me not to smoke. I am not going to try and rush this thing.

It is a bigger risk to my life for me to smoke than it is to keep taking the Chantix.

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Day Five Without Chantix

Smoke Free 73 Days!

Well, today is the day that all of the Chantix should be out of my system. I hope so. Yesterday was a little rough. At noon I started thinking about my daughter, who is 21 and how I neglected her while she was growing up because I can’t remember having fun with her. I cried and cried and thought I was going to have to leave work. Then I started thinking about something else and was okay. Then I went home after work and asked my son about it. He said we used to do crafts together for hours. Thank you Adam. Then I didn’t feel so bad, but all evening it was like I could cry any minute. But, I didn’t and I seem to be okay today because obviously I can talk about it without crying. Whew! I hope I don’t have anything go wrong with this quit smoking Chantix thing. I never want to smoke again and I hope the Chantix did the trick and I won’t have any side effects. The FDA announcement kind of scared me because it said:

“Symptoms may include anxiety, nervousness, tension, depressed mood, unusual behaviors and thinking about or attempting suicide. In most cases, neuropsychiatric symptoms developed during Chantix treatment, but in others, symptoms developed following withdrawal of varenicline therapy.”

If I can get through this, I am hoping I can leave the smoking life behind me. I am determined never to smoke again but if my emotions go crazy, of course I will go to the Doctor first. Oh what am I worried about. So far, so good, right? I am not going to borrow trouble. Life is good today. I am an ex-smoker who might be just a little neurotic!!

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FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Chantix

Please read this if you are taking Chantix.

Quit smoking or take Chantix?

This is from the FDA Site

FDA News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2008

Media Inquiries:
Susan Cruzan, 301-827-6242
Rita Chappelle, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA

FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Chantix
Agency requests that manufacturer add new safety warnings for smoking cessation drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a Public Health Advisory to alert health care providers, patients, and caregivers to new safety warnings concerning Chantix (varenicline), a prescription medication used to help patients stop smoking.

On Nov. 20, 2007, FDA issued an Early Communication to the public and health care providers that the agency was evaluating postmarketing adverse event reports on Chantix related to changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and actual suicidal behavior.

As the agency’s review of the adverse event reports proceeds, it appears increasingly likely that there may be an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms. As a result, FDA has requested that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Chantix, elevate the prominence of this safety information to the warnings and precautions section of the Chantix prescribing information, or labeling. In addition, FDA is working with Pfizer to finalize a Medication Guide for patients. This is an example of FDA working with drug manufacturers throughout products’ lifecycles to keep health care professionals and patients informed of new and emerging safety data.

“Chantix has proven to be effective in smokers motivated to quit, but patients and health care professionals need the latest safety information to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to use this product,” said Bob Rappaport, M.D., director of the FDA’s Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Rheumatology Products. “While Chantix has demonstrated clear evidence of efficacy, it is important to consider these safety concerns and alert the public about these risks. Patients should talk with their doctors about this new information and whether Chantix is the right drug for them, and health care professionals should closely monitor patients for behavior and mood changes if they are taking this drug.”

Chantix was approved by FDA in May 2006 as a smoking cessation drug. Chantix acts at sites in the brain affected by nicotine and may help those who wish to stop smoking by providing some nicotine effects to ease the withdrawal symptoms and by blocking the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if users resume smoking.

In the Public Health Advisory and a Health Care Professional Sheet that was also issued today, FDA emphasized the following safety information for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals:

Patients should tell their health care provider about any history of psychiatric illness prior to starting Chantix. Chantix may cause worsening of current psychiatric illness even if it is currently under control. It may also cause an old psychiatric illness to reoccur. FDA notes that patients with these illnesses were not included in the studies conducted for the drug’s approval.

Health care professionals, patients, patients’ families, and caregivers should be alert to and monitor for changes in mood and behavior in patients treated with Chantix. Symptoms may include anxiety, nervousness, tension, depressed mood, unusual behaviors and thinking about or attempting suicide. In most cases, neuropsychiatric symptoms developed during Chantix treatment, but in others, symptoms developed following withdrawal of varenicline therapy.

Patients should immediately report changes in mood and behavior to their doctor.

Vivid, unusual, or strange dreams may occur while taking Chantix.

Patients taking Chantix may experience impairment of the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.

FDA will continue to update health care professionals with new information from FDA’s continuing review or if new information is received on Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms. FDA may consider requesting further revisions to the labeling or taking other regulatory action as the agency’s continuing reviews and conclusions warrant.

For more information:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/varenicline/default.htm

Symptoms may include anxiety, nervousness, tension, depressed mood, unusual behaviors and thinking about or attempting suicide. In most cases, neuropsychiatric symptoms developed during Chantix treatment, but in others, symptoms developed following withdrawal of varenicline therapy.

Day Two without Chantix

Smoke Free 70 days!

I slept pretty good last night and woke up this morning one minute before my alarm went off! I LOVE IT! Okay, here’s what I did differently. No caffeine after 2:00 p.m., no chocolate, food, or sugar after 7:00 p.m. I also had a glass of cold milk about 8:00 p.m. At 8:30 I turned off the TV and said the Rosary. At 9:00 p.m. I went to bed and fell asleep pretty quick because I did not see the clock at 9:30 or 10:00 like I have been. Some thoughts and worries came into my mind but I made a mental note and said to myself, “Ok, got that one down so don’t think about it anymore.” When another worry would come into my mind I would do the same thing. Actually, I only had three things I was worried about and then I fell asleep. Oh, I did take the herbal combination at 7:45 or so. I’m not sure if it was one thing or the combination of things but I feel rested, I was able to take my time getting ready this morning – even said the Rosary again from 6:30 to 6:50 a.m. Nice way to start my day.

This is my second day without Chantix. Not sure if that is why I was able to sleep better or not. A friend of mine here at work quit taking Chantix after two weeks because he could not sleep at all. He still is not smoking. I am not really worried about quitting Chantix after only 6 weeks. I don’t like the things I am hearing in the news about it. The sooner I am off any drug, the better in my book. I can always start taking it again if I need to. I am hoping not.

Letting go of Chantix

Smoke Free 69 Days!

Today I have stopped taking my Chantix. From all I have read, there is no need to taper off. It has a half life of 24 hours, so in approximately 5 days it will completely be out of my system. This is true no matter what dosage you are taking 1mg, 2mg, .5mg, etc. So, in five days I will be smoke free and Chantix free. I have to say, with all the controversy surrounding Chantix, I will be glad to have it out of my system. Even though I did not have any of the weird side effects that people are claiming, I will just feel better knowing that is one less medication I will need to take. Others that have used Chantix have said they didn’t notice any withdrawel symptoms when they stopped the Chantix. I am hoping for the same. I am so glad that someone invented this drug that has helped me when no other
system worked before.

Now, I want my hour back! This is not a fun thing. I have had problems falling asleep, waking during the night, and not being able to get up in the morning, since I quit smoking. While I was smoking, I would go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. and wake up automatically at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. I rarely had to set my alarm. Now, I can’t hardly get up in the morning. I moved my alarm clock across the room so I have to get out of bed to hit the snooze at 5:30 a.m. So now I get out of bed and hit the snooze, get back into bed and 10 minutes later it goes off again. So then I set three alarms. One on my cell phone for 5:30 and it’s really annoying and is right beside my bed and I have to open my eyes to turn it off other wise it just snoozes for 5 minutes. Then I have my radio come on at 5:45, then I have my alarm clock go off at 6:00. You would think with all of this i would be able to wake up enough to get out of bed. Nope! I can let that radio blare and the alarm beep louder and louder and still lay there in bed fall back to sleep! Help!

Okay, now let’s back up a bit. My evening routine consists of coming home, cooking or warming up something for dinner, then eating and watching the news. About 6 or 6:30 I will take 2-Tylenol PM (Diphenhydramine hydrochloride and Acetaminophen), or 2 Benadryl (Diphenhydramine hydrochloride), or one Herb capsule that contains (Valerian Root, Melatonin, and Chamomile). I only take one type as directed. I tried the Benadryl because I was not in pain and did not feel the acetaminophen was necessary. I thought I would try the herbs because they are natural, and since I quit smoking I am concerned about only taking natural things and not becoming addicted to something else.

So, here is the breakdown on how each has worked for me:

1. Tylenol PM-works sometimes but I am super sleepy in the morning.

2. Benadryl-same as above except I have to take 3 instead of two. (Don’t know why) I am not as sleepy in the morning.

3. Herbs-I take one capsule and it seems to work 4 hours. One time I woke up and took another one about 10:30 and was really sleepy in the morning. But I took it on a night I didn’t have to wake up early the next morning so that might be why I slept late. If I don’t take another one, I am awake every hour during the night and sleepy, but not horribly, in the morning.

From get-quit.com

These days, it seems like everyone’s having trouble sleeping. So if you’re not feeling rested, you’re in good company.

Fortunately, there are things you can do about it.

A Good Night’s Sleep.

Getting a decent night’s sleep is important for living a healthy life. If you’re well rested, it’s easier to cope with bad moods and stressful events.

There are ways to help you get a good night’s sleep. For instance, try going to bed at the same time every night. Develop a bedtime routine. Perhaps take a warm bath and read before you go to sleep. Try and take some quiet time, too. It may help.

Having a dark, quiet bedroom may help as well. If it’s noisy, or you have a partner who snores, consider earplugs. If light is a problem, think about getting an eye mask or hanging dark blinds over the window.

Here are some other tips:

  • If you need an afternoon nap, take it at the same time every day.
  • Avoid caffeine in the last 4 hours before bed. Alcohol may make it easier to drop off, but your sleep will be of poorer quality.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.
  • Alcohol may make it easier to drop off, but your sleep will be of poorer quality.
  • If you want to read, watch TV or do anything else, it’s best to do it in a room other than your bedroom.
  • If you go to bed and can’t sleep, get up again. Stay up until you feel tired and try again. If that doesn’t work, repeat the process until it does.

Here is another story on how to get a good nights sleep http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/03/3.html

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Smoke Free 62 Days!

Smoke Free 62 Days!

Okay, this is getting weird. I have been smoke free for 62 days. How can that be? I am calm, rational, conscious, focused, peaceful, serene, happy, employed, sane and the list could go on and on. What’s up with that? Normally when I quit I am totally INSANE! I never know what I might be capable of. So I must say, this is different and very interesting.

I have to blame the Chantix. That’s all I can think of that I have done different this time. Motivation has always been there for me, at least the last five years or so. I have given it everything I’ve got and still was not able to make it even 60 days. The patch, Nicotrol Inhaler, gum, lozenges, filters, herbs, and anything else you can think of, I have tried them all and nothing worked until now.

Grateful doesn’t even begin to tell you how I feel. This is a grace I have received from God and I did nothing to deserve it. It is a gift. A gift to me, my children, my Dad, my friends and to all the people that love me and care about me.

Through this blog I hope I can help others who have struggled the way I have struggled with quitting smoking. I may get Cancer tomorrow but at least I quit. My son who is still smoking, and my daughter, can see that their Mother can quit, after all those years of me telling them, “I Can’t.” Now when my son is ready to quit he will know that he CAN do it. There is a way out from under that horrible addiction to nicotine.

Once I finally made up my mind that I wanted to live instead of die, then I started to desperately search for a way out, a way to stop hurting myself and my Dad. I didn’t have to hurt anyone anymore, especially myself. Smoking is a slow suicide. For me smoking was an easier way to kill myself. I don’t think I consciously knew I hated myself and wanted to kill myself. But why would someone who is in their right mind want to continue with a behavior that will kill them? Now the keywords here are ‘right mind’. I cannot say I was in my ‘right mind’ while ingesting nicotine as fast and as often as I could. That was all I cared about was my next fix.

Freedom! That is what I have today. Freedom from slavery to Nicotine, freedom from stopping at the Kwik Stop when it is seven degrees outside and blowing snow and getting out of my nice warm car to slip on the ice as I trudge into the store for a pack of smokes. Freedom from excusing myself at family gatherings so I can go outside and smoke. Freedom from feeling like an outcast with my own family. Freedom from worrying if I’m going to have enough money to buy smokes, to heck with food, that comes second, I NEED CIGARETTES! Freedom from worrying about my health and when will I get Cancer? Freedom from the guilt I had every-time I would light a cigarette and know what my children would have to go through, not just if I died, but if I had a lung transplant and needed 24 hour care and the hardship and burden I would be on them when they are just starting to live their own lives. Freedom! That is what it is all about.

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Scary Chantix Story

This Is My Brain on Chantix

I’d heard it was the most effective stop-smoking drug yet. So I took it. Then those reports of suicidal ideation began washing in.

I have read a lot of the stories about what happens to people on Chantix. This one is very scary, but for me I see a common thread in all of them. DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL WHILE TAKING CHANTIX! Also, this guy had some weird nightmares which I have not experienced, maybe that is related to suicidal ideation. At any rate this is something that everyone should read if considering taking Chantix. Just be aware if this kind of stuff happens to you to quit taking it or call your Doctor immediately. Fortunately, I and several other people I know who took Chantix did not have anything near this type of side effect.
Let me know if you have experienced anything like this guy did when you were taking Chantx. Everyone that has commented or other blogs I’ve read about Chantix has been nothing but praise for this ‘Miracle Drug’. I’m curious if this is more Media Hype because it is something that really works! Please post you experience with Chantix. Thanks!

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