Chantix &Thyroid: Is There a Connection?

Does Smoking, Quitting Smoking, or Chantix throw you into Thyroid Problems?

Smoke free 205 Days!

As a lot of you know that follow my blog regularly, I had a comment by Joan that her and her twin sister had major side effects with Chantx involving their Thyroid. That prompted me to have mine checked. I went to the Doctor and had the blood work done and everything else checked while I was there. The nurse called yesterday with the results. I have HYPOTHYROIDISM and have to take a medication called Synthroid for the rest of my life! Don’t you think that is quite a coincidence? Well, I sure do. Actually, what are the odds that someone on the internet tells me about this new side effect of Chantix that I had not heard “scary stories” about and it turns out I have it too. Very strange in deed. So I decided to check this out for myself and here is what I have found out.

Does smoking cigarettes increase the odds of getting Hypothyroidism? That was my first question. Yes it does.

Smoking and Thyroid Diseases: The Connection

Smoking has been found to be one of the prominent causes of hypothyroidism and it has also been clear that smoke contains harmful ingredients that retard the functioning process of the thyroid gland. Many substances present in smoke trigger off anti-thyroid action inside the system and one among them is cyanide. On smoking cigarettes and other tobacco containing products, the ingredient cyanide enters the system and forms a specific compound thiocyanate.This new substance thiocyanate significantly prevents iodine intake and ensures the low production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism).

However, clinical studies have established that smokers are more prone to have thyroid enlargement which could be an indication of thyroid disturbance. Further, it has also been found that grave’s disease (thyroid eye disease) which is specifically responsible for hyperthyroidism can be triggered off on account of smoking. An article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association which makes it clear that people who are addicted to smoking are twice more likely to develop grave disease in comparison to non-smokers.

In a study involving women in Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, it was found that smoking impairs both thyroid hormone secretion and thyroid hormone action, according to Beat Mueller, M.D., et al., in the October 12, 1995 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Before I go blaming Chantix, there is a connection between Hypothyroid and smokers. Smoking is directly related to Hypothyroid so how can anyone say Chantix did this to me when it could have been building over many years and smoking has masked it. We all know smoking and nicotine increase your metabolism so the weight gain doesn’t show up as a symptom. Then we quit smoking and Pow! We get this weight gain that cannot be removed by diet and exercise, and we are fatiqued, almost lethargic when we quit because we all know nicotine is an upper/stimulant. So we are diagnosed with Hypothyroid and we want to blame somebody and Chantix is right there. They do have the warning that rarely it can cause the problem so we know that is a possibility, but not very likely. I would tend to believe that this is another thing that smoking has caused, just like osteoporosis, and I just have to learn to live with it.

How to Tell If You Are Hypothyroid

Here’s how you can determine if you have an underactive thyroid condition called hypothyroidism.

Difficulty Level: Easy Time Required: 5 minutes

Here’s How:

1. List your risk factors, including: family history, previous treated/untreated problems (nodules, hyperthyroidism, goiter, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer), previous thyroid surgery, another autoimmune disease, childbirth.
2. Note symptoms including:

  • weight gain, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, hoarseness, high cholesterol, constipation, feeling cold, hair loss, dry skin, low sex drive, tingling hands/feet, irregular periods, infertility.
  • 3. Note related conditions, including: recurrent pregnancy loss, resistant high cholesterol, difficult menopause, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, mitral valve prolapse.
    4. Meet with your doctor for a thyroid examination and blood test.
    5. Request a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test, along with T4, T3, Free T4 and Free T3 tests.
    6. Review your test results with the doctor.
    7. At most labs in the U.S., up until late 2002, the normal range is from around 0.5 to 5.5. That range changed to .3 to 3 as of early 2003. If the TSH level is at the higher end of the range, or above the range, your doctor may determine that you are hypothyroid (underactive thyroid.)
    8. If your doctor ran a test called Total T4 or Total Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 4.5 to 12.5. If you had a low reading, and a high TSH, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    9. If your doctor ran a test called Total T4 or Total Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 4.5 to 12.5. If you had a low reading, and a low TSH, your doctor might look into a possible pituitary problem.
    10. If your doctor ran a test called Free T4, or Free Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 0.7 to 2.0. If your result was less than 0.7, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    11. If your doctor ran a test called Total T3, normal range is approximately 80 to 220. If your result was less than 80, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    12. If your doctor ran a test called Free T3, the normal range is approximately 2.3 to 4.2. If your result was less than 2.3, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
    13. If your test results come back “normal” but you have many of the symptoms or risk factors for thyroid disease, make sure you ask for an antibodies test. Some doctors believe in treating thyroid symptoms in the presence of elevated antibodies and normal TSH levels.
    14. If your test results come back “normal” but you have many of the symptoms or risk factors for thyroid disease, consider going to a reputable holistic M.D. or alternative physician for further interpretation and diagnosis.

    Tips:

    1. Many people who have radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism/Graves’ Disease, or who have sugery to remove all or part of the thyroid due to nodules or cancer, are hypothyroid.
    2. If you have been treated with radioactive iodine or surgery, and are currently not on thyroid hormone replacement, but have hypothyroidism symptoms, see your doctor.
    3. Keep in mind that laboratory normal values vary somewhat from lab to lab. Make sure you find out your lab’s normal ranges and review these with your doctor.

    From: About.com

    Source: Chantixhome.com

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    Another Scary Chantix Story

    Smoke Free 188 Days!
    Chantix Free 60 Days!

    From Joan…

    This Pill has changed my life and not for the better. Mt twin Sister along with my older sister – we all decided to take the chantix drug. After 4 weeks we all became very sick. Leg aches – our feet felt like they were being crushed. So tired could not get out of bed. Terrible dreams – lossing our hair. I thought I was having a heart attack. This medication has ruined my last two years of my life – along with my sisters. We have been doctoring every since. Thyroid problems are the one thing we have figured out and not been able to get under control. There were many days I was in so much pain I just wanted to die. I would never suggest this drug to any one. This needs to be taken off the market. They owe me 2 years of my life back – and who knows how much longer I am going to suffer. Please think good and hard before taking

    My reply…

    Oh Joan, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am so sorry you had a bad experience with Chantix. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

    Everyone who decides to try Chantix needs to be aware of the risks involved. It is such a new drug that you don’t know what all the side effects really are. This Thyroid problem is news to me and I have been trying to follow the effects of Chantix for quite a while now.

    Again, thank you for making me aware of this and I wish you and your sisters the best of health and God’s Blessings.

    Obviously more research needs to be done. After I Googled “Chantix and Thyroid” I have found some good information that shows Joan’s story is just one of many.

    Below is a link about Chantix and Thyroid Problems:

    Chantix and thyroid problems – Thyroid Disorders – MedHelp

    This information is from the Chantix/Pfizer Web Site:

    Following is a list of treatment-emergent adverse events reported by patients treated with CHANTIX during all clinical trials. The listing does not include those events already listed in the previous tables or elsewhere in labeling, those events for which a drug cause was remote, those events which were so general as to be uninformative, and those events reported only once which did not have a substantial probability of being acutely life-threatening.

    BLOOD AND LYMPHATIC SYSTEM DISORDERS. Infrequent: Anemia, Lymphadenopathy. Rare: Leukocytosis, Thrombocytopenia, Splenomegaly.

    CARDIAC DISORDERS. Infrequent: Angina pectoris, Arrhythmia, Bradycardia, Ventricular extrasystoles, Myocardial infarction, Palpitations, Tachycardia. Rare: Atrial fibrillation, Cardiac flutter, Coronary artery disease, Cor pulmonale, Acute coronary syndrome.

    EAR AND LABYRINTH DISORDERS. Infrequent: Tinnitus, Vertigo. Rare: Deafness, Meniere’s disease.

    ENDOCRINE DISORDERS. Infrequent: Thyroid gland disorders.

    EYE DISORDERS. Infrequent: Conjunctivitis, Dry eye, Eye irritation, Vision blurred, Visual disturbance, Eye pain. Rare: Acquired night blindness, Blindness transient, Cataract subcapsular, Ocular vascular disorder, Photophobia, Vitreous floaters.

    GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS. Frequent: Diarrhea, Gingivitis. Infrequent: Dysphagia, Enterocolitis, Eructation, Gastritis, Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, Mouth ulceration, Esophagitis. Rare: Gastric ulcer, Intestinal obstruction, Pancreatitis acute.

    GENERAL DISORDERS AND ADMINISTRATION SITE CONDITIONS. Frequent: Chest pain, Influenza like illness, Edema, Thirst. Infrequent: Chest discomfort, Chills, Pyrexia.

    HEPATOBILIARY DISORDERS. Infrequent: Gall bladder disorder.

    IMMUNE SYSTEM DISORDERS. Infrequent: Hypersensitivity. Rare: Drug hypersensitivity.

    INVESTIGATIONS. Frequent: Liver function test abnormal, Weight increased. Infrequent: Electrocardiogram abnormal, Muscle enzyme increased, Urine analysis abnormal.

    METABOLISM AND NUTRITION DISORDERS. Infrequent: Diabetes mellitus, Hyperlipidemia, Hypokalemia. Rare: Hyperkalemia, Hypoglycemia.

    MUSCULOSKELETAL AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISORDERS. Frequent: Arthralgia, Back pain, Muscle cramp, Musculoskeletal pain, Myalgia. Infrequent: Arthritis, Osteoporosis. Rare: Myositis.

    NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS. Frequent: Disturbance in attention, Dizziness, Sensory disturbance. Infrequent: Amnesia, Migraine, Parosmia, Psychomotor hyperactivity, Restless legs syndrome, Syncope, Tremor. Rare: Balance disorder, Cerebrovascular accident, Convulsion, Dysarthria, Facial palsy, Mental impairment, Multiple sclerosis, Nystagmus, Psychomotor skills impaired, Transient ischemic attack, Visual field defect.

    PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS. Frequent: Anxiety, Depression, Emotional disorder, Irritability, Restlessness. Infrequent: Aggression, Agitation, Disorientation, Dissociation, Libido decreased, Mood swings, Thinking abnormal. Rare: Bradyphrenia, Euphoric mood, Hallucination, Psychotic disorder, Suicidal ideation.

    RENAL AND URINARY DISORDERS. Frequent: Polyuria. Infrequent: Nephrolithiasis, Nocturia, Urine abnormality, Urethral syndrome. Rare: Renal failure acute, Urinary retention.

    REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM AND BREAST DISORDERS. Frequent: Menstrual disorder. Infrequent: Erectile dysfunction. Rare: Sexual dysfunction.

    RESPIRATORY, THORACIC AND MEDIASTINAL DISORDERS. Frequent: Epistaxis, Respiratory disorders. Infrequent: Asthma. Rare: Pleurisy, Pulmonary embolism.

    SKIN AND SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUE DISORDERS. Frequent: Hyperhidrosis. Infrequent: Acne, Dermatitis, Dry skin, Eczema, Erythema, Psoriasis, Urticaria. Rare: Photosensitivity reaction.

    VASCULAR DISORDERS. Frequent: Hot flush, Hypertension. Infrequent: Hypotension, Peripheral ischemia, Thrombosis.

    Post-Marketing Experience:
    The following adverse events have been reported during post-approval use of Chantix. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

    There have been reports of depressed mood, agitation, changes in behavior, suicidal ideation and suicide in patients attempting to quit smoking while taking Chantix. Smoking cessation with or without treatment is associated with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the exacerbation of underlying psychiatric illness. Not all patients had known pre-existing psychiatric illness and not all had discontinued smoking. The role of Chantix in these reports is not known (see WARNINGS).

    CHANTIX Safety Information

    Important Safety Information

    CHANTIX® (varenicline) is indicated as an aid to smoking cessation treatment in adults 18 and over. Patients may benefit from behavioral modification and support during their quit attempt. Patients should be encouraged to continue to attempt to quit if they have early lapses after quit day.

    Advise patients and caregivers that the patient should stop taking CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behavior that are not typical for the patient are observed, or if the patient develops suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior. These symptoms as well as worsening of preexisting psychiatric illness have been reported in patients attempting to quit smoking with CHANTIX or after stopping CHANTIX.

    The most common adverse reactions include nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting. Nausea occurred in 30% of patients; 3% discontinued due to nausea.

    Patients should be informed that they may experience vivid, unusual, or strange dreams during treatment with CHANTIX. Patients should be advised to use caution driving or operating machinery until they know how quitting smoking with CHANTIX may affect them.

    Safety and efficacy of CHANTIX in combination with other smoking cessation drug therapies have not been studied. Dosage adjustment with CHANTIX is recommended in patients with severe renal impairment or in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

    Smoking cessation, with or without treatment with CHANTIX, may alter the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of some drugs, such as theophylline, warfarin, and insulin. Dosage adjustment for these drugs may be necessary.

    Please see full prescribing information.

    CHANTIX® (varenicline)

    Please see Medication Guide.



    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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