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A writer for New York Magazine recently published an article entitled, “My Brain on Chantix,” revealing his personal experiences while taking Chantix. Derek de Koff says in the article that he never believed the stories of Chantix contributing to the tragic shooting death of Carter Albrecht, that is until he began taking the drug himself. Chantix has been hailed by many as a “miracle drug,” but others have reported serious side effects ranging from vivid and frightening dreams to suicidal behavior. In the article de Koff chronicles his experiences with Chantix from start to finish.

De Koff”s experience began just as most others do, filled with optimism and well-wishing from his doctor. Aside from a slight bit of nausea his first impression of Chantix was that it seemed to be an effective stop smoking aid. Within a few days he had discovered what many users refer to as “Chantix Dreams,” vivid almost real dreams or nightmares that are a common side effect associated with the drug.

“By night four, my dreams began to take on characteristics of a David Cronenberg movie. Every time I’d drift off, I’d dream that an invisible, malevolent entity was emanating from my air conditioner, which seemed to be rattling even more than usual. I’d nap for twenty minutes or so before bolting awake with an involuntary gasp. I had the uneasy sense that I wasn’t alone.”

De Koff goes on to say that he never felt like he was actually asleep when on Chantix. He says that it felt more like a lucid dream and that even in sleep he felt like a part of him was on guard.

De Koff also claims that he began to have what he calls “self-destructive fantasies.” He recalls thinking that he should jump in front of a tour bus or put his head through a monitor. The truly odd thing about these feelings is that as he experienced them he knew that these were crazy thoughts but could not make them go away. From here things got even worse. De Koff says that he began to avoid interaction with people and began to dread venturing outside of his apartment. He claims that all of the things that used to bring him joy somehow no longer seemed to matter.

Trying to pull himself out of the depressed mood he had been experiencing De Koff decided he would try to go out and have a few drinks. While Chantix had no warning against alcohol I am firm believer that it should after reading about De Koff’s experiences.

[One] night, at an East Village bar, an older man in a trench coat caught my attention. I chatted him up for a while, until I realized I was actually trying to go home with the shadow cast by a potted plant. With alcohol in my system, I was somehow able to take this hallucination in stride: “The man who got away … ” But that same evening ended with my taunting a skinhead who was improbably on the corner of Avenue A and 14th Street. “You must be lost,” I snapped. “Are you looking for 1993?” He ended up chasing me into a deli and saying he was going to murder me. (The guy at the register called the cops and the skinhead fled, so I’m fairly confident that he, at least, was real.)

He goes on to describe how he began to start experiencing blackouts and how he would be overcome regularly with bouts of crying and anger, to a point where suicide seemed like a viable option.

This is probably the most in depth account I have ever read by an actual user of Chantix. The thoughts expressed here should cause alarm for anyone contemplating taking Chantix. While smoking will most likely kill you somewhere down the road; Chantix may cost you your life in a matter of weeks.

Recently the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory on Chantix, saying that it is becoming increasingly likely that a link between Chantix and nueropsychiatric events, including changes in behavior and suicidal ideation, may exist. If you or someone you love has had a serious adverse reaction to Chantix we would love to hear about it.

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