Champix Chantix: Alyson and Nick Need Help

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

The only reason Champix Chantix was passed by the FDA as if it were safe enough to unleash on the public is because the manufacturer, Pfizer, submitted some trial data showing serious side effects “through the wrong channels” which caused them to be missed in a crucial safety review.  Shortly after this news hit the headlines at the end of May 2011, the French Health Minister stopped public funding for the drug citing safety concerns.  The trouble is, the range of side effects is so wide and unpredictable with this drug that many symptoms are not being attributed quickly enough to the actual cause, which has helped Pfizer to avoid a ban on the drug for far too long.  This heartbreaking story is only one of many, but it is a classic example of damage that has never been offically attributed to Champix:

 

“Hi,

I have read your website several times and even given doctor and Psychiatrists printed off copies to show the effect that this drug is having on people. Nick my 54 year old husband took Champix for 10 days in March 2010, he could not get anymore tablets as the nurse was off sick so decided to do without.( he had stopped smoking).  4 days later I had to ring an ambulance at 4 in the morning as he was going in and out of consciouness, the treatment at the hospital was not good but they kept him in for observations at my insistance but could not find anything wrong so sent him home, I told them about champix but they were not interested.”  [Oh, you can’t TELL them anything, Alyson!  You’re not QUALIFIED! This means your words/opinions count for nothing, it’s part of their medical training to just assume we’re all deluded idiots – Ed.]
“Over the next few weeks things got a lot worse, Nick found it difficult to walk, talk, write… he had severe muscle spasms and involuntary muscle movements, he had balance problem and short term memory problems, his behaviour became quite childlike and his brakes were off, he said exactly what he thought. Things came to a head when it was raining and Nick was in the garden in his underwear. I rang our doctor and asked to go private to see someone, she arranged for us to go to hospital, they did all the tests blood, urine, scans, spinal tap but still could find no reason for this to happen, they suggested that Nick saw a psychiatrist, he has been seeing him since June this year, he has said that he can find no reason for Nick’s problems and has passed it back to the hospital.”
“At present Nick suffers short term memory loss, a change in personality and cognitive ability, he takes everything you say literally, he has no awareness of danger and has developed tourretism and obsessive behaviour (touching dotes) he still has balance problems and difficulty walking and gets tired easily.”

“At our last doctor’s appointment I told the doctor I believe that Nick is having fits between a few seconds and a minute we are trying to get a diagnosis and have an appointment with a senior neurologist at the end of this month. Our Gp has told them our suspicions so perhaps this time someone will listen. How can somone go from a normal man working as a carer to this for no reason and the only thing that changed was that he took champix, we are now on 8 months and things are still not getting better, if you met Nick you would think he had learning difficulties.
I am so frustrated that no one will admit what has caused it and because they will not or cannot diagnose it we can not get any allowances to help look after him. I work full time and betweem my family and myself we look after him.”

“If I could turn back time I would but as its not possible I will just keep going and hope someone will take responsibilty and try to stop this drug harming anyone else.  I will always be here for Nick but this company hid certain results to get this drug licensed they need to be stopped.”

 

Yes.  Pfizer need to be stopped, Doc.

14 Days on Champix ruined my life

Champix/Chantix 6

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

24 thoughts on “Champix Chantix: Alyson and Nick Need Help”

  1. This one came in by email Feb 5th 2012

    Heather wrote:

    “I started taking champix on 10th nov 2011, no side effects at first, now almost 3 months later i am so worried I stopped taking this drug last week 30th Jan 2012 and I feel as if I’m going to have a stroke, I’m constantly dizzy, forgetful and my eyes feel strange, I cant sleep and I have palpitations.

    “I went to my doc and she told me I had low blood pressure, now I don’t know if these symptoms are the cause of the blood pressure or the after effects of Champix. Also I have a constant headache which doesn’t ease with painkillers, how long does Champix take to leave yr system? Does anyone know? Thanks for listening.”

    I hate to tell you this, Heather, but it varies enormously. We’ve had reports of quite quick recoveries and some people who don’t recover much at all, even years later. I sincerely hope you’re in the first group.

  2. This is an email exchange with Olivia from November 23rd 2011 to January 23rd 2012.

    “Chris,

    I stumbled on this blog today because I started chantix this morning. I’ve noticed that everyone that’s posted either says it ruined their lives or they had little to no side effects. I don’t know if this sites active or not but if you’re interested, I can keep ya posted on how it’s going. -Olivia”

    Hi Olivia! Yeah, that would be good. Sometimes people offer to do that, then I never hear from them again! Some contributors do give us updates though. Always welcome!
    best regards,
    Chris

    “Hi Chris,

    Well, being optimistic and all… they might’ve went insane from the Chantix..

    So far, so good. Second day taking Chantix. Yesterday it upset my stomach and everything tasted like cardboard. I saw where it could possible mess with my anxiety… I was a bit jittery and just about had a panic attack… Depressing stuff. Nothing too dire, just something to keep an eye on. I do, however, see where it could be potentially dangerous… it’s an extremely powerful drug. Working on the same level chemically as antidepressants and I felt a little… off… after only one day. Never had that with the Zoloft. -Olivia”
    (Nov 24)

    (Jan 17)
    Hi Olivia – what happened with the Champix? How are you? -Chris

    (Jan 17)
    “Well I’m still alive! Completed all 3-4 weeks of it… forget how many there were and didn’t smoke at all during that and for the first few weeks after, but caved. I could definitely see where it made my moods extreme… when I was happy, I was a little more happy than normal and when something upset me… pretty much the same thing. To be honest I’m not sure if it would have gotten worse with time or not, made me a little uneasy.

    Cool that yah didnt forget about me, I actually thought about updating you the other day but by the time I got home had totally forgotten. -Olivia”

    (Jan 22nd)
    Hi Olivia, glad you’re alive!

    Is that all the course is now, 3 to 4 weeks? I thought it was 12 weeks? Did you decide to stop the drug yourself, or what? Also, is it okay if I put this update on the site?

    best regards, Chris

    (Jan 23 2012)
    “Well when I got the rx I had 4 weeks and was told to get another one for more. That included the starting week and 3 regular weeks. I ran out and that’s why I stopped. Within a week, I was totally back to normal and smoking again. “Normal” meaning sleeping through the night, I could taste again, and my mood balanced out.

    “What surprises me the most was it being such a powerful drug and all… I was given no warnings as to what to look out for. I have a history of depression/anxiety so it would have been nice to know what the risks were. In fact, it was a psychiatrist that prescribed it and I was his FIRST patient he’d ever given it to. I definitely did feel the depression near the end, I knew it was temporary and that I could stop taking it if it got worse, but the depression came on sudden.

    “Everyone knows that anti depressants can cause suicidal thoughts. Why isn’t that aspect of Chantix known? It works on the same chemicals and damn near instantly. In my experience Benzos are the only other drug that can compare but everyones so set on, “Good for you on quiting!” They throw the rx around like it’s… not a loaded gun? If that makes any sense. Hell, within a week of starting it the University of Michigan (insurance is through) was offering to pay for further treatment to help me quit!

    “Overall, I can see where people have gotten in over their heads. Like with any drug, I think it’s on the person to stop when they’re uncomfortable. There def needs to be more precautions when prescribing it. Most of the people I came across that used it to quit said they stopped taking it because they felt ‘weird’… not good or bad, but different than usual. Others quit because of the dreams (had some of them too lol) and were surprised to find out it was a common side effect. No one ever told them. -Olivia”

    Folks, no-one ever told them. Olivia was precribed this by a psychiatrist who had never prescribed it before, and against current guidelines because Olivia has a history of anxiety and depression. Her words: “I was given no warnings”, and “the depression came on sudden”, and most damningly of all, she “caved” after a matter of weeks anyway, which is what most Champix users do. Put simply, the risks outweigh the benefits and smokers are often completely taken by surprise by the nasty side-effects because they WEREN’T WARNED. Dangerous, Doc – very, very dangerous.

  3. The other side of the coin:

    penny wrote:

    “i just wanted to say i, have been a smoker for over 30 years,i have used champiix ,it has been a great sucess for me i quit 18 weeks ago ,i stopped smoking my third day using champix ,my husbans is using champix now and has not had a smoke in 3 weeks and no cravings.”

    What this proves is that sometimes Champix does exactly what it is supposed to do and the user seems unharmed. Since there is a major difference between the people that suffer side effects immediately, and those who are on the drug for weeks or months before they kick in – or even on their second course of Champix before anything nasty happens – there are grounds for speculating that it might harm most people if they were taking it for long enough. Who knows? Now that pharmaceutical companies have adopted the tactic of only running short trials to try to avoid side effects showing up with long term use, Champix users are all guinea pigs in reality.

  4. Hi everyone… my name is Kristi and I have been on Chantix now for 5 weeks. Honestly this has been a miracle drug for me! There are so many people who are skeptical and have problems on it but I haven’t noticed any major side effects. The first week or so my moods were a little up and down but nothing major. Of course quitting smoking can cause moodiness anyway meds or no meds. I have not had any weird dreams, depression, or any thoughts of suicide. The only thing that I have noticed is a little short term memory loss and sometimes it’s immediate and other times it’s a couple days later and I will not be able to remember what I did a couple days prior to that. I figure if that’s the only thing that happens and I can stay smoke free then I win! Especially considering that the cigarettes had my lungs at an age twice what I am.

    My only concern after reading these blogs is what will happen when I stop taking the Chantix. It is a 12 week plan but I am going to try to come off of them after 8 weeks. The first post: Alyson & Nick… it sounds to me by the symptoms that Nick had a stroke. Why the doctors couldn’t tell that I don’t know but those are stroke side effects and symptoms.

    Anyone else had bad side effects coming off of Chantix? I will wean myself back off the same way the starter kit builds it up. I just know this has been a miracle and I have been cigarette free for 30 days!!! Yay!

  5. Hi Chris, Samantha here, I’d just like you to put this on your site. The problems with Champix are genetic, I am having a report done for the MHRA and they are taking me seriously. I have now been in touch with BBC they are taking me seriously too. All these people who are saying you are only in this for your own means, put them in touch with me. I can tell them what gene it affects, what diseases it can trigger in some people. Let them know that I am in touch with Pfizer and they are even taking me seriously, they are not trying to sue me.

  6. Hello,
    I have smoked 20+ years without missing a day. I planned to quit smoking before my 40th birthday. There was a “sale” on a type of e-cig at a local store chain, i decided to check it out. After reading the packages i took it to the Pharmacist and he directed me to try the mints or patch instead at first, if that didnt work then talk to my doctor about this miracle pill called “Champix” with the highest success rate out there. I decided to get the mints, and gum. tried for about a week and it really helped “cut back” but still smoking every day. So i made an appointment with my Dr. to check out these pills. He also confirmed what the pharmacist said, so i Started the started pack on Jan 25th. After 12 dayz on the starter pack i reached my chosen quit day on Feb 5th. I only smoked 4 cigs on the day before, Sunday morning i quit. I continues on the pills until the starter pack ran out. i had 1 pill left when i went back to the Dr for more and to talk to the Dr about how i was feeling. I didnt feel like myself at all, when i looked into the mirror i didnt see someone i knew , i had hot flashes, dizzy most of the time, and very angry and sad at the same time. No sleep in days. After hearing this the Dr said easy fix. you taking too much… Cut pills in half and try that. Here are some strong sleeping pills to help you. I went home hoping to try and sleep. After taking 1/2 pills for 4-5 days i still wasnt sleeping right and now i had terrible Anxiety and panic attacks. So back to the Dr i went. He decided Valium would fix the anxiety.
    This Dr has been my Dr for past 13-14 years. He knows my history of depression, I insisted i didnt feel well and i would like to go off these pills, i would rather smoke that feel like this. He insisted i HAD to stay on them for the full 12 weeks. I didnt know what to do. I went home hoping i would feel better but i didnt. I went to different Pharmacists and different stores and all told them how i was feeling and what should i do. ALL said dont even think about stopping YOU have to stay on them for full 12 weeks. I was blown away. I didnt know who to talk to anymore so i decided the internet was my only friend. What a mistake, all i read were horror stories about ppl killing themselfs and others, ppl in jail, and ppl still messed up after stopping them. My anxiety and panic went thru the roof. I noticed a lot of the stories i read has a common factor. They were ppl who mixed a couple of drinks or beer with them. I have not drank since Oct 20, 2009, thank god. I started getting angry more as the days went by to a point where i was shouting at the TV because of the weather lady said something i didnt like. During most of Feb i do no remember, I missed over 1/2 the month at work due to the fact i couldnt deal with anyone else. on the 17 or 18 of Feb i decided to skip the 1/2 pill in the morning i couldnt take it anymore, i was hoping that would be enough. Nope, not sure if i mentioned it but i had lost my appitite during the whole time on these pills also, when i stopped taking the morning dose i started to become hungry during the day. A feeling i wasnt use to. I had lost 10-15 lbs in past month, enough for others to say i looked thinner. But i was determined to stick it out, my son kept telling me he was so proud i had quit cigarettes, i couldnt go back smoking, but i was getting worse on even the 1/2 i was taking at night. Feb 20th i stopped taking the pills. I havent taken any since. I am proud to say i am still not smoking, i dont know if it was the pills that made me quit or my son telling me how proud he was. I also read a great book by Allen Carr (Easy way to stop smoking). So it was one of those or a combination of all. I know in myself i i had continues taking them HORROR pills i would of killed someone or killed myself. Very easy I had 2 bottles of potent pills (valuim,sleepingpills) that were looking really good at times. It has been 3 weeks since i have stopped taking them now. to be honest i still do not feel right, i get dizzy every now and then, my motavation has not come back i just dont feel “me” I do like the fact i do not smoke anymore, it feels so good to be able to breath again and not cough. I even tried Snowboarding with my 13 year old son last weekend, he was out of breath walking up the hill before i was! It was amazing. I hope most of this made sense to those who read it. I really DO NOT recommend taking these pills, they should be taken off the shelf in my opinion.

    chris.

  7. Hi just stumbled across this site and was really alarmed to read the comments. I’ve been on Champix for 12 months and came off them at the start of my recent holiday and I’m ashamed to say I fell off the wagon during said holiday. I’ve been thinking about trying to get another course but now I’m scared! Apart from nausea and a nasty headache after taking the tablets I think I’ve been ok and I’ve been putting the feeling of shakiness down to post holiday tiredness and stress. I do have palpitations and memory loss but have been putting it down to age,I’m 44. Should I be worried?

  8. You’ve been on it for 12 months? Or did you mean you’ve stopped smoking for 12 months? No-one should be taking this drug for lengthy periods. We’ve had several reports now from people who only got really bad reactions on their second course of Champix, nothing very serious on the first.

    The fact that some people (or even most people) get away with taking Champix without any serious consequences should not be reassuring anyone. When they hit, the side effects can be horrific. Don’t decide before reading this.

    Personally I think this drug should have been withdrawn as soon as the Food and Drug Administration (the drug approval body, the FDA) in America discovered that Pfizer had submitted hundreds of reports of bad reactions, including 150 suicides, “through the wrong channels” so they were missed in a crucial safety review.

    Hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method and acupuncture all work better than any of the medications, and are all risk-free. Obviously the safe methods should be the first ones to try, Doc. It’s a no-brainer.

  9. Hi Chris,yes I was on champix for a total of 12 months and I’m now hoping that the side effects I previously mentioned are all I’m going to get. My eyes still feel funny sometimes but a recent eye test was fine so fingers crossed. I almost had a heart attack just on reading the previous comments and after badgering my daughter to try champix to quit I will be telling her that no way is she to go down that road. I thought the listed side effects were bad enough but now realise we are not getting the full story.

  10. Hi everyone, I was on champix for 12 weeks ( started Decmber 11) and started 2nd course halfway in and stopped. Symptoms..what I like to call ‘Brain Fog” memmory loss, feeling disorientated, eyes hurt, migraines , body aches (flu like symptoms) diarhee, extremely tired all the time, anger outbursts! I do not feel like me..it is like my whole personality has changed…suicidal thoughts, depression..can’t be bothered with doing anything just want to curl up and ignore everyone around me. I do not want to feel like this..I have 2 beautifull boys and I am a single mum. Help any advice ..how do I get out of this and feel better. I am from new Zealand, any suggestions should I be contacting Pfizer?

  11. Suzette – Just noticed that you do not seem to have had a response. Hopefully you are now feeling better. Please respond with an update. Best wishes are with you!

  12. Yes, sorry Suzette – I get a lot of messages on different threads and sometimes I forget to respond to one or two… all side effects should be reported back to the doctor or nurse who prescribed the medication, and they should be advising you to stop taking it, as the official guidelines state.

  13. Hi chris,
    Just an update on Nick it has now been 14months and he still has the same symptons and the doctors are still no wiser. he has siezures at least 3 times a day which is better than at christmas when he was having up to 20 a day it took me to go privately to a consultant neurologist to get any action.
    he is currently having neurophycological test to see if this will throw any light on his condition. Of course no one wants to diagnose him or admit that Champix could have caused this but I know that he was fine before he took it and the only other thing that had changed was he stopped smoking!!!! but in truth if I could turn back time I would leave him smoking and took our chances because as it stands today he cannot work , he cannot be left alone and his quallty of life is nt what it should be.
    I have been in touch with our local MP to get him to look into champix to try and get the patient information changed to include siezures and to try to get it withdrawn but its big money and Phizer will just remarket it as something else.
    I keep hoping that Nick may improve but its now been over a year and its not looking good.
    Please , please do not take this drug its not worth the possible affects on your health, stop smoking some other way. You just dont know if you are going to be one of the unlucky ones , think hard you only have one life learn from our misfortune.

  14. Hi there! Was doing a bit of research on Champix and found this website. I took my first Champix two days ago, felt ok at first then a bit sick by the afternoon I had a fever shivers and stomach cramps. Haven’t took any since as didn’t think my stomach to handle feeling sick (as I thought I’ve got a tummy bug) still not feeling too good the stomach cramps are terrible. Reading peoples stories is making me wonder have I took a bad reaction to Champix. Would love to hear back from anyone as my husband is also taking them although he’s fine and been cutting down his smoking.

  15. My husband, who is 70 has just finished Champix since taking August 2012. He did not experience and side effects and the doctor monitored him monthly, then this month the doctor said right when you have finished that box thats it. For the past few days, he just has not been himself, says he feels like he has flu, hot then cold, aches all over. I am hoping this will pass soon. Can you give any advice please…

  16. Well there’s always the possibility it could BE flu, Frieda, bear that in mind. If it’s Champix and he’s no longer taking them then the side effects should pass, they usually do. Hope he’s feeling better soon.

  17. Hi Chris just a brief update on Nick,
    I have been reading the comments and wish those who have decided that the risks of taking champix are worth it good luck.
    Nick currently still the same,he has had psychological tests another MRI and his three consultants still cannot find a reason for his symptoms.We are now going to see a leading professor in the hope he can help.I read the comment that Nick has had a stroke but they cannot find any evidence,they are all confused. We put the medical profession n pedestals believing that they know best but they only have limited understanding of the working of the brain and how medication affects it.
    It has now been 2years and the symptoms are the same. As you are aware Chris Sam is working relentlessly to get this product removed and I believe anyone who has been affected should get in touch with her to consolidate o ur point view together we may get this drug either banned or properly explained to those who choose to take it after being adequately informed. It is not only those who take it who are affected if you plan to take it consider your family.

  18. wow look at you and your scare tactics. I’d love to know what experience you’ve personally had with champix, or quitting smoking in general for that matter.

  19. This site is an opportunity for smokers to tell other smokers of their experiences with Champix. I quit smoking 14 years ago, and for the last 13 years I’ve been a smoking cessation specialist helping thousands of individuals to quit using hypnotherapy.

    I’ve also published two books on the subject and been on radio & TV talking about my methods and why NRT doesn’t work at all, a fact confirmed last year by Harvard University. My observations about smokers’ cravings having nothing to do with nicotine were confirmed in 2010 by researchers at the university of Tel Aviv.

    If you’d rather hear more from other smokers, there are plenty more comments from them about Champix after this post.

  20. i started taking champix nov 2010 on dec 8th 2010 after mood swings that made me so angry i started feeling unwell while at work,i am a lorry driver,so an employee of another company took me home and my lorry was picked up at a later date,i thought what i had was winter vomiting,when i got home i went to bed and felt a little better when lying down. the next morning my wife went to work,i surfaced and could not believe that when upright my balance was like that of a very drunk man,so i had a bath and went back to bed,where again i felt better when lying down,but after a while i felt that there was something wrong and it was not winter vomiting,so i rang my G.P who asked if i could come down to the surgury,as my wife had just come in,so i said yes,10 minutes later i was sat opposite my doctor who looked at me and after 5 minutes said he thought i was having a ‘cerebral haematona’ and called an ambulance from then i spent 10 days in a specialist ward with raging blood pressure,hooked up to various drips not allowed to get up at all,the nursing staff were’fantastic’,i was discharged after 10 days,off work 5 1/2 months,suspende from driving for 12 months,in that 12 months had 2 MRI scans left on 5 different medications for life,after the 2nd scan the consultant neurologist said he was confident that i would never have another ‘stroke’. I asked my doctor if i could all been down to the ‘champix’, he looked at me rather embarressed and said he didn’t think so,but when has a medical person ever gone against his profession,since then i have been ok ,you couldn’t tell any thing has been wrong with me but i know,I KNOW champix did that to me,it nearly ruined me financially,took away some of my self esteem knocked my self confidence,champix should be taken off the market after all i have read about it,the suicides,the strokes,and mental illnesses i cannot believe Doctor’s still prescribe this drug,but drug companies with their money,statistics and profits will always say it is safe.

  21. Hi, I’m 33years old with 3 young children, smoked between 10-15 cigs a day but wanted to give up went on champix about 4 weeks ago stopped taking after 21/2 weeks as I had bad pain in eye and numbness down right side of face hospital wasn’t interested 2 weeks ago I had same thing went hospital and had MRI I hav been told i hav had a stroke. I’m sure it was champix as that was the only med I was on. I have always had low blood pressure etc so I think it must be the champix my stroke consultant said she will have a look into it. So in the mean time I have to be positive for my babies.

  22. Well i read lots of stuff about champix before deciding to give it a go, i read horror stories and success stories i have friends who gave up smoking on it without any problems, my own Dr said he gave up with champix and told me how good it was, but i was still a little worried. I tell no lies when i say i took the first tablet about 10am in work after breakfast, and after about 30 to 50 mins i had a slight tremor in my right hand and a little numbness down the arm and in the hand. That was it for me i chucked the rest of the tablets away, im not taking any chances with this, it works for some it affects others badly, im now using nicotine patches and doing ok 4 weeks not smoking, they can stick their champix where the sun don’t shine, its not worth the risk.

  23. Hi all. I started taking champix in October and it triggered what I can only describe as a disaster. I was always a confident hard working person but soon after 2 weeks of champix I quit my job of 4 years and accepted a part time position in the middle of nowhere with no idea how I was going to pay my bills. I also dumped my girlfriend I was in a 3 year relationship with and got some random pregnant, suicide has never seemed so attractive to me. I obsess about death and killing myself with every second I have spare. My memory is laughable and I can barely string my thoughts into sentences. I used to work out 4 times a week and play basketball for a local team but now I am hardly even able to get out of bed everyday. Had a head MRI which showed dots with lack of oxygen and have been unable to make any logical decisions as well as developing some sort of agarophobia. My life has literally been turned upside down and I have fought everyday to stay alive just because of my family. Can someone please HELP. !!!! I am crazy not going crazy and I really do not want to be sectioned. Thank you

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