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Old 03-22-2007, 06:11 AM   #1
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What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hi, I told my father that if he quit smoking then so would I. Well, he told me around the first of the year that his doctor gave him a script for Chantix and that it was supposed to be some good stuff so I went to my doctor and also got a script.

Now to the point of this thread. . . unlike some I don't know exactly when I started on the Chantix (I think around the middle of Jan.) and I was on it for about 2 weeks and then quit smoking (around the first of Feb) and I haven't smoked since. (Well. . . I lit one a week after I quit just to see how nasty it would taste. . . and it did taste nasty.)

Anyway, I finished the first starter box of Chantix over the following three weeks by breaking some of the tablets in half. So I went .5 mg up to 2 mg and back to .5 mg all in 5 weeks and haven't taken anymore since.


Now. . . since I quit smoking I have NOT slept longer than 5 hours, and 99% of the time it's 2-4 or almost 4 exactly. I work from home, on the computer, and quite all caffeine 4 hours before bed, along with any sweets / food, etc. I don't exercise late at night or anything like that. The only change in the last 2 1/2 years (since I started working from home) has been that I stopped smoking.

When I actually do lay down it feels like the whole bed is moving, my heart is racing and I have this "in and out" bobbing feeling like I'm floating in water or something. Also I seem to be real jerky, or twitchy.

I'm this close to starting again as this is a miserable feeling. I feel like I'm starting to lose my mind or something. I mean I'm still irritable as hell. (But I think that's because of the lack of sleep.) and have noticed zero change in my body since I've quit. I've always said I'd rather live 40 years happy than 75 years being miserable, and that's my thoughts on why I'm thinking of starting again. (I'm a 36-year-old male and smoked for 20 years.)

I have tried sleeping tablets and they don't do anything. As I type this I've had exactly 4 hours sleep last night. Around 4 hours Tuesday night, 2 hours Monday night, and 5 hours Sunday night, etc.

Anyone know what's going on? It seems from the research that I've done that I'm experiencing a lot of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, but every website shows I shouldn't feel any side-effects this long after quiting.

I'm starting to worry that Chantix isn't so great for everyone. After all. . . fen-phen was thought to be safe when it first came out also.

Thanks!


Edit: Guess I should point out to those that are thinking of trying Chantix. I've had ZERO cravings since I quit. I smoked a cigarette, went to bed, and woke up a non-smoker. The quitting part was that easy. Still no cravings after 6+ weeks.

Last edited by Hip2u77; 03-22-2007 at 06:14 AM.

 
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Old 03-22-2007, 06:24 AM   #2
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Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hi Hip2U,

Congrats on being FREE!

Sounds like you are in the middle of a nightmare! Please don't start smoking again - see if you can figure out what the hell is going on. Have you talked to your doctor?

I do have a question - how long has it been since you stopped taking the chantix? It takes a few days to get out of your system. I too experienced insomnia, but I cut back and am able to sleep.
Keep us posted and hang in there.....

deb

 
Old 03-22-2007, 07:21 AM   #3
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Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangojunky View Post
Hi Hip2U,

Congrats on being FREE! :
Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mangojunky
Sounds like you are in the middle of a nightmare! Please don't start smoking again - see if you can figure out what the hell is going on. Have you talked to your doctor?

I do have a question - how long has it been since you stopped taking the chantix? It takes a few days to get out of your system. I too experienced insomnia, but I cut back and am able to sleep.
Keep us posted and hang in there.....

deb
Having gone back and looked at some emails I'd sent, I realize I quit smoking on Jan 30th and got off Chantix sometime around the 11th - 18th of February.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 03:09 PM   #4
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Kevin__ HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hi Hip2u77,

Congratulations on your quit over a month ago!!!

Chantix is normally prescribed for three months and can be extended to six months if you need too. I was curious why you stopped taking the Chantix after having taken it for only one month. Please don't even think of smoking again. You will simply have to go through this whole painful exercise all over again when you decide to quit again. I would consider going back to taking Chantix again before you even consider smoking again. You sure have achieved a very difficult and rewarding accomplishment here. They say quiting smoking as one of the hardest addictions to overcome, but hey - you did it!!!

The symptoms you describe sound just nicotine withdrawal. Chantix is supposed to alleviate some of these symptoms. They are as follows:

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms:
Irritability, mood swings, restlessness, insomnia, fatigue
inability to concentrate, sore throat, cough, congestion, headache,
increased appetite constipation, gas, stomach pain, dry mouth
sore tongue/gums , postnasal drip, tightness in the chest.

I know you mentioned that you stopped taking Chantix, but for the record these are the side effects it causes. Notice some are the same as above:

Chantix side effects: (most common, but not all)
Headache, sleep problems, insomnia, unusual dreams, nausea, stomach pain, indigestion, vomiting, constipation, gas, weakness, tired feeling, increased appitite, unpleasant taste in your mouth.

One way or the other, I would urge you to contact your doctor and see what he / she says. It might be something altogether different causing these symptoms.

Best of luck to you and congratulations on your quit!!!

Kevin__

 
Old 03-22-2007, 03:48 PM   #5
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Hip2u77 HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

For the record, I quit taking the Chantix for three reasons.

1.) I didn't like the $117 cost to get the pills. (I know, silly reason as I was fine paying that every month for cigarettes.)

2.) They wouldn't give me my refill without going back to my doctor since the first month was a starter and different than the other months. (Also, it's another $40 co-pay on my insurance just for my doctor to write a new script.)

3.) My basic understanding was that Chantix just blocks the nicotine from getting to certain receptors in the brain, and since I'd already been off cigarettes for a couple weeks (and everyone said the first week was the hardest) I just didn't see any point in spending the money for more pills.

Guess I'll just see what happens over the next couple months.

Thanks for the replies.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 04:13 PM   #6
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Kevin__ HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Gotcha... Thanks for the clarification Hip2u77. Sounds like miscommunication between doctor and pharmacist. It also sounds like the cost and aggravation just were not worth it.

Chantix also makes "adjustments" to your dopamine levels while you are on it. It mentions this in the directions that come with it. It seems like when you quit Chantix, it takes time for your dopamine levels to normalize. (Kind of like walking on land again after you have been on a boat for a few days...) I am still taking Chantix, so I am paying really good attention to your withdrawal symptoms.

I recommend you read the thread on this board started by True Brit entitled "Weaning Off. Do you really want to know?" She offers some very creative and insightful advise you might find useful.

Best of luck to you and please keep in touch!

Kevin__

 
Old 03-22-2007, 08:46 PM   #7
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Memaw649 HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hi Hip2u77,
First of all welcome to this board!! And congratulations on quitting smoking!!

Believe it or not, this is the best thing you could do for you health.

The Chantix is not for everyone. It sounds like you are having nicotine withdrawal. Kevin listed the symptoms for you.

If you do not want to take the Chantix, have you considered nicotine replacement therapy such as the gum, inhaler, or the patch? It will deliver the nicotine that your body craves but you will not be getting all the toxic chemicals that are in cigarettes.

I would hope that you could stay off the nicotine, but I totally understand if you feel like you need some help. Lack of sleep is awful. Since you can not take something for it, I don't know what your doctor could do. But you do need to contact him/her. I urge you to do so.

Please let us know how you are doing. And if we can help you any farther.

Memaw

 
Old 03-23-2007, 03:02 AM   #8
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Hip2u77 HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Well, I'm back in here passing time. Woke up after sleeping a whopping 2 hours and 16 minutes.


How long does it usually take for someone to stop having nicotine withdrawal symptoms? I know Chantix says to take it for at least 12 weeks, but I didn't know if that was because of the withdrawal symptoms, or if they're just trying to make their pockets a little deeper?

Hip

 
Old 03-23-2007, 03:09 AM   #9
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Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hip,
I have heard that nicotine can stay in your body for 3 months.
I would recommend you drink lots of water, and exercise - walk, weight lift....what sleep aides have you tried?
deb

 
Old 03-23-2007, 03:25 AM   #10
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Hip2u77 HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangojunky
Hip,
what sleep aides have you tried?
deb
Just over the counter types.

I works nights, but I'm off tonight and tomorrow night, so I'm going to do a lot of work around the yard / house, exercise, etc., and basically just wear myself out and see if that helps. Figure I'm just about mentally exhausted, so might as well tackle the physical side now.

Hip

 
Old 03-23-2007, 07:03 AM   #11
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acalusa HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hip, congrats on being smoke free. First of all, you are not alone with your symptoms. I posted to this board for the first time a couple of weeks ago because I was loosing my mind, crawling out of skin, not being able to sleep at night but then not being able to get out of bed in the morning. And talk about being irritable.

I stopped taking the Chantix after my first month and that was with lowering my dosage to 1 mg a day. I did stop taking Chantix cold turkey, was not aware of or informed of any weaning that should have been done.

I honestly can't tell you if our symptoms are because we stopped cold turkey or if these are side effects from the Chantix. I can tell you there is another person on these boards that had the same side effects as me and it's been going on for 5 months now, I'm actually waiting for her to tell me what the dr said it was coming from.

I do feel little by little, i'm getting better (very slowly) and I'm still not smoking to if you can, please hang in there before you start smoking again.

Amy

 
Old 03-23-2007, 08:54 AM   #12
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Hip2u77 HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Quote:
Originally Posted by acalusa View Post
Hip, congrats on being smoke free. First of all, you are not alone with your symptoms. I posted to this board for the first time a couple of weeks ago because I was loosing my mind, crawling out of skin, not being able to sleep at night but then not being able to get out of bed in the morning. And talk about being irritable.

I stopped taking the Chantix after my first month and that was with lowering my dosage to 1 mg a day. I did stop taking Chantix cold turkey, was not aware of or informed of any weaning that should have been done.

I honestly can't tell you if our symptoms are because we stopped cold turkey or if these are side effects from the Chantix. I can tell you there is another person on these boards that had the same side effects as me and it's been going on for 5 months now, I'm actually waiting for her to tell me what the dr said it was coming from.

I do feel little by little, i'm getting better (very slowly) and I'm still not smoking to if you can, please hang in there before you start smoking again.

Amy
Definitely interested in hearing what the doctor said.

I figure my mom probably smoked while she was pregnant, and my parents still smoked when I started, so that was 16 years in a smoke filled house, and 20 years of smoking. I figure up until Jan 30th the longest I'd been away from smoke was a 3 days when i had my gallbladder out in '97, and a week when I was at a church camp 25 years ago. Maybe my body just doesn't know how to act without nicotine in it?

 
Old 03-23-2007, 10:59 AM   #13
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Kevin__ HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Not sure if you will find this helpful or not, however I pulled this off the web and thought you might find it at least interesting. I know I did.

The nicotine withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability, headache, or difficulty sleeping) may be severe for some - especially if the cigarettes smoked contain high levels of nicotine

The article was written by a smoking cessation specialist by the name of Terry Martin.

Kevin__

Insomnia When You Quit Smoking
From Terry Martin,
Your Guide to Smoking Cessation.

I can't sleep!

Sleep disturbances are a common side effect of nicotine withdrawal. Some people will sleep much more than usual through this phase of cessation, while others have difficulty getting any sleep at all. If you find yourself suffering from insomnia during the first few weeks after you quit smoking, try a few of these natural remedies to ease your discomforts.

Cut out the caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Most people know this, but here's a fact that is less widely known: caffeine in the body of a smoker is metabolized(digested) at about twice the rate as that of a nonsmoker. The result is a high tolerance to caffeine. When you quit smoking, the amount of coffee or colas you're used to drinking might now make you very jittery and anxious. Cut back on, or cut out caffeine completely for awhile, especially if youíre having trouble sleeping through the night. Chances are good that once you're through the withdrawal process, you'll be able to drink coffee again, though maybe not as much as you used to.

Take a warm bath. This is one of my personal favorite ways to relax and destress. I recommend it often, and YES, itís good for the guys too! Light a few candles, use some scented bath salts, and submerge!

Get a massage. Enlist your spouse or other willing pair of hands to help work the stress out of your muscles. If you can get a full body massage, great, but even 10 or 15 minutes spent on your neck, shoulders, face and scalp can really work wonders to relax you to the point of being ready to sleep.

Have a cup of herbal tea. There are a variety of teas on the market today blended specifically to help soothe and promote sleep. Take a look at the tea section in the supermarket, or visit your local health food store and ask for suggestions.

Listen to some soothing music. Soft, mellow music can go a long way towards relaxing you enough to drift off to sleep. You may want to try listening to a recording of waves hitting the beach - soft sounds can be a very good sleep aid. Make sure you have a player that will turn itself off - you donít want to have to get up and do it yourself - defeats the purpose!

Have a glass of warm milk.
Spice it up with a little honey and cardamom or nutmeg. It could well be that the reason warm milk helps us sleep is due to the fact that it is a food rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan helps the body produce neurotransmitters such as seratonin. Neurotransmitters are chemical nerve messengers that tell our bodies to shut down at night, as well as helping us to be fully awake during the day. More of the L-tryptophan in milk gets delivered to your brain when you eat a carbohydrate along with it. No wonder milk and cookies have long been a favorite bedtime snack.

Other foods containing the amino acid L-tryptophan:

chicken
eggs
turkey
dairy productsÖmilk, cheese, yogurt
watermelon
cashews

Donít drink alcohol. It disrupts sleep. Though a few drinks may make it easier to fall asleep initially, a person will often wake up just a few hours into their sleep cycle. Frequently, sleep is then intermittent for the remainder of the night.

Get some exercise.
Even a short 15 minute walk will help, but if you can't sleep, try getting out for a nice long walk a few hours before bed.

Meditate.
The value of this exercise is in letting the stress of your day go. Start out by laying quietly, eyes closed, for 5 minutes. When thoughts come, acknowledge them and let them go. Let your mind drift. Build the time up that you do this activity gradually. Itís a terrific way to relax and slow down enough to sleep. Adding meditation to your daily routine will reward you with improved control and calmness throughout your day.

Read a good book. Climb into bed and settle in for some reading. It never fails to put me out, usually within the first 5 pages.

Avoid naps. While it may feel good to get a bit of sleep in during the day, if you're suffering from insomnia, you need to skip the naps.

Get up earlier. Another useful technique to help you shift your internal clock so that youíre sleepy come bedtime.

Remember, the physical withdrawal phase of quitting tobacco is a temporary condition. Your sleep patterns will return to normal soon, providing you didnít have insomnia before cessation. If symptoms persist beyond the first month or so, schedule a visit with your doctor.

 
Old 03-23-2007, 01:33 PM   #14
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Hip2u77 HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Thanks Kevin! That is interesting. I'll definitely have to try laying off the caffeine as I drink a lot of Diet Coke. . . though I do switch to caffeine free around 4-5 hours before bed time.

 
Old 03-23-2007, 03:31 PM   #15
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Skimmer HB User
Re: What is wrong with me? Strange side-effects, or?

Hey Hip! I hope you can get some help for your sleeping, or lack thereof. I know it was horrible when I first started taking the Chantix - I was a mess! I couldn't sleep either, stared at the ceiling, knowing I needed to be sleeping. Then having to get up and go all day in a fog, then going back to sleep, but not sleeping. It got better over time, then came the constipation.

It sounds like maybe you came off the Chantix too quickly. Like Memaw said, maybe try nicotine replacement therapy or something else. As long you don't smoke again. It's totally not worth it, having to go back and start all over in your quit again. REALLY, think about that!! I, myself would try to get back on the Chantix. It's working for so many people, maybe you can try to adjust your diet and exercise while taking it and that might help?? I don't know, but I feel for you...and I'm sorry and I don't want you to start smoking again. Please!!!

 
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