Chantix – Miracle Drug Or Silent Killer?

Anyone who has tried to quit smoking understands the difficulty involved, the nicotine withdrawal, possible weight gain and anxiety. Since the tragic death of Texas Musician Carter Albrecht, prescribed the stop-smoking drug, concerns about the safety and effectiveness of Chantix have increased. Those closest to Albrecht believe the drug contributed to his death on September 5th, while 3 million other American users have reported no violent reactions to the drug. The most common side effects of taking Chantix, listed in the Pharmacy handout, mention such things as nausea, changes in sleeping habits or dreams, constipation, flatulence and/or vomiting.

Chantix, made by Phizer, targets the nicotine receptors in your brain, thus taking away the “good” feeling derived from smoking. According to the Chantix website, in a clinical study of 1,022 users of the drug, 44% were able to quit smoking after just twelve weeks, and users reported the drug helped curb the urges to smoke. Another clinical study performed by Phizer brought identical results.

Anyone considering taking Chantix or any other quit smoking prescription should consult with their doctor, as Chantix is not to be used by people with kidney problems, pregnant woman (or woman planning to become pregnant), woman who are breastfeeding. Tell your doctor about any and all medications, prescription and nonprescription, vitamins and herbal supplements. Anyone using insulin, asthma medications and blood thinners are warned to discuss Chantix with their doctor, as quitting smoking may cause changes in how these and other medications work for you.

Chantix is by prescription only, and is covered by most insurance companies. Check with your insurance company to determine what your out-of-pocket expense would be, as they vary with each insurance company and chosen benefit plan. Without insurance, you can expect to pay somewhere between $100.00-150.00 each month for the three month stop-smoking program. Some would prefer to pay the $3.00-5.00 per pack of cigarettes than to spend the money to help them quit.

Having worked in the Dental Field for many years now, with our office prescribing Chantix for patients wishing to quit smoking, I have vested interest in the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this drug, as well as keeping informed about any adverse reactions. Of all the patients our office has prescribed Chantix, none have reported any adverse side effects, and all have quit smoking with the help of this drug. It is important to note that anyone trying various stop-smoking methods must WANT to quit, rather than outside pressures or family members pushing for the smoker to quit.

What To Expect-

First you must choose a quit date. You will begin taking Chantix one week prior to your quit date.

Week 1:
You will receive a Starting Month pack with four individual packages inside, one green starter pack for the first week, and three blue Continuing Week packages for the next three weeks.

Inside the green start pack you will find a row of white tablets, and you will take one white tablet each morning for the first three days. Be sure to eat something first, this will help eliminate possible nausea.

Beginning with Day 4, you will take two white tablets each day, one in the morning and the other at night. You should finish the Starter Pack at the end of your first week of taking Chantix, as the next day is your Quit Day.

Weeks 2-12:
On your Quit Day, you will try to quit smoking completely, and begin using the blue Continuing Week packages, containing blue Chantix tablets. For the next 12 weeks you will be taking two blue tablets each day, one in the morning (after breakfast preferably) and one at night.

Chantix also offers a Support Plan, called .

While the investigation continues into the circumstances surrounding the death of , makers of Chantix stand by their product, its effectiveness and safety.

Have you been trying to help someone stop smoking? Have you or are you using Chantix, or considering trying it? I’d love to hear from you with your personal experience with the drug.


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11 Responses to “Chantix – Miracle Drug Or Silent Killer?”

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  1. Jake Albrecht says:

    My friend died of a heart attack at 34 years old leaving behind a wife and two year old son. He was taking Chantix and had no history of heart disease in his medical history or family history. Makes one wonder.