Drug-taking versus Therapy

by Chris Holmes

In response to the post Champix Kills, But Don’t Tell The Smokers a comment came in from James which raised a number of important points, so I have decided to reproduce it here, along with my response to the points he raised:

JAMES on October 27th, 2009 at 7:11 am Said:

I am in two minds regarding Champix. I have many friends who have taken it, the majority have stopped smoking for good (so far). One had a bad reaction and had to stop the course. Depression.

I will be getting the pills tonight and I am optimistic about them. Even though I have read many, many of the horror stories surrounding the drug, I have read many, many, many more that support its use from satisfied patients.

I suggest having a look through this forum: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/interactive/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=6901&f=11&postdays=0&start=1

There are many people on there who are using/used the drug, detailing all their side effects and most of them come out on top, even after suffering the more drastic ones such as depression. Funny that, I don’t think a single one ever mentioned “suicidal tendencies or thoughts”. I don’t deny this, but when it comes down to either Tobacco companies generating insane amounts of revenue at the cost of my health, or a Chemical company offering me something with a 20% (based on your figure) success rate of quitting smoking that has many people praising, or spending hundreds of pounds on hypnotherapy.. I’m going with the pill.

The one thing I DO agree with, is that the NHS / Health Associations are all corrupt. I read Alan Carr’s book, which helped me stop smoking for 6 months previously. Reading it again does not have the same appeal, naturally, but his points do stand. If the NHS actually thought for themselves, or did some research, they really would find out that hypnotherapy is far more successful than NRT, although the costs of such would not necessarily benefit them. I imagine hypnotherapy is more expensive than patches!!

It does not suprise me that hypnotherapists are very anti-champix, as naturally, it is one-side fighting for revenue against another. Saving lives is the most important, but this can really split peoples trusts.

Needless to say, I will be taking Champix, I am aware of the risks and will keep an eye on my mental state very closely (along with the help of others). If I don’t quit using it, I cannot afford hypnotherapy. Therefore, its either the cigarettes or the Champix that will no doubt, one day kill me.

Even though you have your own ideas about Champix already, and can back them up, if it helps 20% of smokers to become non-smokers, then withdrawing it is a BIG mistake.
Those 20% who do quit with it, may not be able to afford the several-hundred pounds cost of hypnotherapy (based on last time I checked a session at an Alan Carr clinic). You could be giving them a death-sentence, if they continued to smoke.

Smoking is expensive enough, I’ll take my chances with a prescription fee ;)

James

P.S.. Interesting read, nonetheless!!

CHRIS on October 28th, 2009 at 5:45am Said:

Hi James, thanks for your thoughts.

I had a look at the “netdoctor” site, and what struck me immediately was that nearly all the posts on the first page are from people on Day 1 or Day 3 of the course! These are “so far, so good” posts that many champix blogs are littered with, which create a totally false impression. That’s like someone sending you a text message that says they’re 12 minutes into their hypnotherapy session, and so far they haven’t wanted a cigarette! Only people who have been off the tablets for weeks or months can truly report their own experience as a success. Don’t forget, half the people in the original trials who were counted as successes were smoking again within 28 weeks.

Most of the horrific side effects have kicked in after weeks on the drug, so please don’t be falsely reassured by these early comments.

Who or What is netdoctor?

Down at the bottom of the homepage it says that netdoctor.co.uk is a trade mark. Is it? And what trade might that be, then? And do you suppose that the lack of posts reporting serious side effects might be because the site moderators think that those sort of reports might be bad for “trade”, so they don’t get approved for display on the site?

Hypnotherapy v. Champix?

I’m not against Champix simply because it is competition. If it were as straighforward as that I would be against the Allen Carr people and acupuncturists too, but as anyone can see from reading Truth Will Out, I am not – in fact I recommend them. I do claim hypnotherapy has the greatest success of the three, but then I back that up in the Evidence section. This site is all about evidence, and so is the book. You don’t have to buy the book to see that, because I publish a lot of it here for free.

The Relative Costs

Although I often state that the Allen Carr Easyway method is a form of hypnotherapy – which is true – it is not the best form by a long way. In fact I would suggest to anyone that the best version of the Allen Carr approach is to read the original book, the one that actually made him famous in the first place. The group sessions involve too many people, it complicates matters and brings down the overall success rate. The book is something you contemplate, and can return to – there are fewer distractions, just as in a one-to-one hypnotherapy session it is a more personal experience.

Please don’t assume hypnotherapy costs hundreds of pounds just because the Allen Carr franchises charge hundreds of pounds for their stop smoking sessions. I confidently regard myself as an expert in this field, but I only charge £120 for the Stop Smoking session I offer. I also have a reduced-fee back up session, so even those smokers who need two sessions – most do not – only pay £160 in total. Most smokers save that back in a month.

Now, some colleagues have suggested that I should charge more, and I certainly could charge more. But it is also true that some smokers – like yourself – would not choose hypnotherapy if I did that, so it would be the opposite of promoting the wider recognition of hypnotherapy as a therapeutic mode, something to which all professional hypnotherapists are supposed to be committed.

You are suggesting that Champix is attractive because you only pay a prescription fee. For many people that may turn out to be true. But over the last two years I have been told of many people who have paid a much higher price. Some of them are dead. So what you are suggesting only remains a valid conclusion if none of that happens to you personally. It is exactly the same “It won’t happen to me” assumption that many smokers adopt with regard to heart attacks and cancer – but in your case you have transferred it to Champix instead, accepting the suggestion that “it has to be better than dying of cancer”, as if those were the only choices! It’s a marketing suggestion and it apparently works very well, but it has a very hollow ring later for the unlucky ones.

Is it really about money? Those people who have posted their horror stories here and on other blogs, the ones who are terrified they will never feel normal, happy and healthy again – how much money would they pay to get their health back, or to be able to turn back the clock and never take the damn stuff in the first place?

How much did you pay for your last holiday? Was it £120? That was over in a flash, and now you have only your snapshots and your memories, but the benefits of stopping smoking last a lifetime.

What I am telling everyone is the truth, and I don’t just state it, I’m providing plenty of evidence and plenty of references so people can find out more – far more than the drug company lackeys are telling them. Then I am suggesting that you make an informed choice, and I think it is logical to try all the non-risk options first: hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method and acupuncture have never harmed anyone, but they have certainly helped a lot of people to quit smoking.

In the context of your safety, your good health and the whole of the rest of your life, the investment in these non-risk approaches is peanuts, really! How much money do we burn up every year simply on our own idle entertainment?

I am only suggesting that the use of methods that have already harmed people should only be considered when all the safe methods have already been tried. You would think doctors would agree with that, wouldn’t you? As for the NHS funding hypnotherapy sessions for smoking cessation, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

Too many fingers in too many pies, my friend. The annual NHS bill for medications alone topped £10 billion some time ago, and it is rising still… do you really think the use of pharmaceuticals saves the NHS money?

It is killing the NHS. And we’ll see the end of the NHS before we see the end of the stranglehold the drug companies have over the medical profession. Hypnotherapists can’t stop it. Doctors can’t stop it. Even the drug companies can’t stop it, because they are in competition with other drug companies, and they have obligations to their shareholders. They have to sell more drugs, which means the NHS has to buy more drugs, which means people – such as yourself – have to take more drugs. They can’t have you going off to see a hypnotherapist – if everyone started doing that it would only mean one thing for drug companies: hard times. So of course they do everything in their power to steer you away from that, and netdoctor.co.uk is doing its bit there.

The question is, who do you trust? Those of us who have never hurt anyone but have helped thousands of people to safely stop smoking, or the people who have a long and apparently shameless history of killing and maiming tens of thousands of ‘unlucky ones’ with a whole list of nasty concoctions over the years, every one of which was mistakenly passed as “safe”?

Whatever you choose to do, James, I wish you well. Please do keep us posted about your progress.

*This exchange was four weeks ago.  So far James has not been back to tell us whether he did start taking Champix that night as he planned, or how the first four weeks went.

the safest quit smoking method is also the most successful

7 thoughts on “Drug-taking versus Therapy”

  1. I completed the 12 week course of Champix. I was a 2-3 pack a day smoker for 20 years. I had tried Hypnotherapy twice without success. Week 2 of the Chamix, I wasn’t smoking at all. Didn’t want one and felt like I had NEVER been a smoker.
    The only side effects I had were slight nausea and I was a little edgy….Very common when quitting smoking.
    I have been of Champix for 6 months, feel fine and have no cravings.

  2. Some comments are just call and response, aren’t they? No sooner had I said:

    “Only people who have been off the tablets for weeks or months can truly report their own experience as a success.”

    … this appears! Now, I’ve been reading this sort of stuff for a couple of years, so I am well aware that whilst many posts about Champix – good or bad – are genuine reports from ordinary people, some are definitely hype from the kind of people behind netdoctor.co.uk or internet drug dealers who are posing as ordinary people to make the drug seem more successful than it is.

    So – how do we spot the difference? Well, first of all it is just possible that Ruby has no connection with anyone involved with the sale of the drug. Some people do quit smoking with Champix, although 80% don’t, or don’t quit for long. And, although half of those who quit at 12 weeks in the trials that got the crazy stuff approved started smoking again, half didn’t, so there are some real successes. And not everyone gets serious side effects, so Ruby could be for real.

    But if Ruby is for real, and she has been a non-smoker for the last six months, why would she be reading this blog in the first place? The page being read most often after the homepage on this site is the one where I first laid into the internet pharmacies – an observation that at first made me wonder if medical people were quietly reading this. But there is a more likely explanation for the high numbers of people reading that page: it could be the very people I am criticising. After all, they are the people with the biggest personal stake in these matters, the people with a vested interest in the free sale of prescription drugs without prescription.

    Maybe the netdoctor. crew didn’t like my suggestion that the absence of bad Champix reactions being reported on that site might be down to the fact that the moderators don’t publish the comments that might be bad for trade. Maybe they wondered if I would do the same: if they sent me a message that reported 100% success with Champix, would I put that up on my site?

    Yeah, but not without comment! I don’t censor anyone who MIGHT be genuine. But in my experience of the way these internet drug dealers write their bogus messages that are supposed to be accepted at face value, they give themselves away by their complete lack of creativity, or by overdoing the hype.

    The message above lacks emotion. “Ruby” should be over the moon, but she seems strangely matter-of-fact about this magical cure, simply giving me the key facts in short, dispassionate sentences which are actually more typical of the way men write than women. The message also throws in the “tried hypnotherapy but it didn’t work” line that so many of those messages do, which doesn’t ring true because less than 1% of the population have ever used hypnotherapy for anything, yet nearly all the people who big up Champix in these blogposts claim to have tried it without success. Twice, in this case – just for good measure, make it seem doubly useless.

    These messages hardly ever refer to the reported suffering of others. It’s like they never heard of it, despite the fact they are evidently reading this blog.

    These messages always claim that the only side effects were slight nausea and/or irritability, but then suggest that this is caused by trying to quit smoking, not by Champix – which is still Pfizer’s official line on that.

    The hype messages often involve an unnecessary overstatement – not surprisingly, because they are hype – and here we have “felt like I had NEVER been a smoker.” This actually suggests that the effects of Champix on the brain can result in delusions, or wipe out your long-term memory. Maybe it can make you forget that never were a smoker, you just sell drugs and want to sell more.

    Maybe the Truth Will Out Campaign is the real cause for some people feeling “a little edgy”… Very common when you’re doing something wrong.

    Or maybe Ruby is for real, and just happened to unfortunately report her success in exactly the same way internet drug dealers cobble together their hype. Who knows?

  3. Okay, that was two days ago. If I were “Ruby” and I were for real, I’d have replied to that by now. This is certainly not the first time I’ve challenged a post like that, only to find that the contributor suddenly goes all quiet for some reason!

  4. As Chris knows I’m an ex 2 xs Champix user and it gave me horrendous side effects both times.I also have the misfortune to know of one successful suicide & one attempted suicide in the space of last 12 months. 5 of my friends have used Champix and 3 are smoking again. 2 of them stopped Champix before the 12 weeks and they have started smoking again. 2 of the 5 have stayed off the ciggies since quitting but are holding on -just. I think what works for some doesn’t work for others. I am now a proud member of the electronic cigarette brigade/occasional smoker. After using hypnotherapy 2 xs by crap therapists I may consider hypnotherapy in the future.

  5. Hypnotherapy by crap therapists isn’t hypnotherapy. If someone is a really crap dentist it does not mean that dental surgery is pretty hit and miss, it just means that person doesn’t have enough training/talent/experience. That is no reflection on dental surgery as a profession – there are bound to be a few crap practitioners/cowboys in every profession!

    Hypnotherapy, though, doesn’t have any side effects because it is simply a communication process. Your Subconscious mind, which controls ALL habitual behaviour including the smoking habit, actually shuts the habit down on a regular basis. This happens when you go to bed, obviously – but also whenever you go to a location where smoking is not an option, such as the cinema, a hospital or travelling on an aircraft. Likewise, when you are busy you may not get any impulse to reach for a cigarette.

    All we ask the Subconscious to do is shut it down altogether, but it is also necessary to present a lot of supporting information which constructs a good case for the change. The Subconscious mind will consider that information, then if it has no objection to the case it will shut the habit down for good.

    If the Subconscious mind does have an objection, it may hesitate. This hesitation is (understandably) sometimes viewed as ‘failure’ by the client, because the client is not so well-versed in the ways of the Subconscious mind as an expert hypnotherapist would be. I know that such objections are negotiable, so the next stage is to locate the sticking-point. This is sometimes an issue that wouldn’t have been a problem if the case had been properly presented in the first place, or it can be a particular fear or belief which is pulling the smoker in the wrong direction. All negotiable, as any expert in this field knows.

    Absolute worst case scenario in hypnotherapy: nothing changes, so no harm done. It usually works, though.

    Worst case scenario with Champix: your family find your lifeless body swinging from a roof-beam. That’s if your family are still living with you, you haven’t driven them away with the violent rages your doctor never warned you about. And it usually doesn’t work anyway in the long run.

    Despite these facts, most smokers’ doctors are presently recommending: Champix. If you think that has anything to do with real outcomes, you need to go to the homepage on this site, then locate the ‘Trust Me, I’m A Doctor’ tab on the right hand side, and click on that. It’s all true.

  6. This is my ninth day on Champlix. I know it has not been long but I felt I should share what I have experienced so far…
    I started taking Champix two Mondays ago. I immediately felt side effects. For the first 20 minutes after taking my first tablet I felt slightly nauseous which wasn’t pleasant but manageable. For the next hour after this however I felt Europhic. I have to say that I loved the way I felt.
    By the third night (6 tablets in) I had experienced tiredness (crashing out on the sofa – absolutley no energy), nausea, dizzyness, broken sleep and vivid, scary dreams and slight grinding of teeth, as well as that lovely feeling of euphoria. During this first week my desire to smoke definately decreased and for 3 days I didn’t smoke at all.
    As of yesterday I started the 1mg tablet twice a day (the blue pill) and now I am not sure I should be taking these at all. I don’t normally eat first thing in the morning but yesterday, just by chance I had a slice of toast whilst taking my first pill of the day. 5 – 10 minutes later, on my way to work, not only did I feel nauseous but my stomach felt like it was in a burning spasm. It passed after two minutes. I continued my day as normal, smoking 5 fags out of habit, not really wanting them at all.
    Oh yeah, and since last Saturday I’ve this on and off immense knee joint pain in my right knee, so much so I’ve had the occasional limp.
    Last night I had broken sleep (this happens every night now) and felt a little anxious but not sure why. I also felt very ichy around my arms and neck.
    Today I have had to take a day off work. I woke up fine, I was actually singing this morning! On my way out I realised that I hadn’t taken my pill so quickly took it without food and made my way to the station to go to work. Again, I felt nauseous and my stomach hurt, but this time I felt like something inside my stomach had exploded. Every footstep was agony. The station is about 7 minutes from where I live. By the time I got there I was bent in two, sweating, dizzy and my heart was beating really fast – these could have been seperate simoultaneous side effects but was probably due to the agony. I turned around and went home.
    10 minutes after arriving at home I felt completely spaced that I had to go to sleep. I slept for three hours. It is now 18:15pm and I am feeling like even though I am awake, I’m not really here. I’m in a dream. I’m writing this with a hollow head. I feel slightly edgy and my mood is not depressed but almost void.
    Also I’m urinating a lot more and I’m constipated – I haven’t been for four days now. And I have an increased appetite.
    I’m 28 years old.
    When I spoke to my GP about these pills she did tell me of possible side effects of depression and feeling of suicide if one had a history of psychiactric illness. I told her that I had suffered from postnatal depression and have had a few bouts of Bulimia as a teenager and earler twenties, and did this count? She said not really, and I should try the tablets anyway, seeing her two weeks into the therapy to see how I was going.
    Even though I have had depression and problems with my eating, I can assure everyone (and all who know me can confirm this) that I am a vey happy person. I’m known to be caring, kind and chatty, At the moment I’m not depressed, the fact is is that I spend periods of my day feeling nothing at all as what I know is a side effect of Champix.
    I have read how some would say that these symptoms are a side effect to giving up smoking cold turkey, but I gave up for 7 months cold turkey and although didn’t feel great, I certainly didn’t feel anything at all like this.
    I don’t want to take the tablets anymore and have called my GP for advice. I’ve read some horrible stories in the last few hours of side effects not stopping after quitting the pills – and sometimes of them becoming worse especially after quitting. All I know is that this is beginning to feel like too much of a risk. My boyfriend has the Allen Carr book. I read the short version over two months and didn’t quit, but my boyfriend has the original. I’m going to read that instead.
    All this in just 9 days and yes, it’s mostly been bearable (apart form today), but is that the point?
    Champix is a powerful drug. I don’t trust it.

  7. Don’t. It can be a killer, and it can turn very nasty in moments, it is extremely unpredictable. Hattie, get off it now – your doctor should never have given you this anyway if you have any history of depression, it is specifically contra-indicated according to the current guidelines.

    Guidelines aside, we have had many reports from smokers who have no previous history of depression suffering shocking (and even fatal) reactions, so whatever your doctor says, ditch the suicide pills and give old Allen Carr a chance.

    I have read most of Carr’s work, and I believe the best of it was the first book he wrote, the one that made him famous: Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking. You may notice on page one that he actually quit during a hypnotherapy session. He claims it was nothing to do with the session though – that was a coincidence. If you would like to read my comments on that, go to the Read The Book section on this site, and when the Contents page appears, click on Section Four and turn to Case Mysteries Three: Allen Carr’s Success Stories.

    Even after all that, I still recommend hypnotherapy, Allen Carr and then acupuncture – all safe, all better performers than any of the meds. But before you start, wait until Champix is out of your system and you’re back to your old self again! Make sure your GP notifies the authorities about the bad reaction (very important – protect others!) smoke yourself silly for a couple of weeks and then go for it! Good luck Hattie!

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