Stop Smoking In Days! The Little Pill That Could

Written by dr. j. Posted in Addiction

"I think I can, I think I can. I know I can, I know I can."thanks for smoking
I failed again.
But no more!

No longer will you have to recant the mantra from the little train that could. You can stop smoking, eliminate your cravings and lose the rebound effects commonly associated with smoking cessation, like weight gain and substitute vices.

The smoking cessation pill, Chantix.

I was speaking with one of the correctional officers who took the challenge as part of his new year’s resolution. What he had to report was amazing.

First, he stated that he had no cravings or desires to smoke by day 3. Secondly, he did not notice any new behaviors to replace his prior smoking habit. He had to think about what he would do to replace it, not that he’s doing anything now.

He states that the smell of cigarette smoke is revolting to him and he doesn’t think about smoking anymore.


With the price of brand name cigarettes in Michigan pushing 6 bucks a pack, Chantix could not have come on the scene at a better time. If you only smoked 1 pack per day, you would pay less than that for a month’s supply of Chantix. And what I am hearing from the field is that most stop smoking during that first 30 day supply.

Not so with Zyban. Most REDUCE their use of cigarettes and continue to smoke. I rarely have had a case of someone on Zyban that quit within 90 days, let alone 30 days. 

smoking study results

So HOW is Chantix different from other pharmaceutical solutions?

Chantrix works by blocking the receptors in the brain that are linked to chantix an addiction of nicotine. Actually, it activates the receptors, which means you FEEL like you do when you smoke. Then it blocks nicotine from binding to those same receptors. So craving is reduced and withdrawal symptoms are decreased. Thus a formula for more success in stopping that nasty habit.

Any downsides? Side effects? Cautions?

Well, the biggest one states by Pfizer is that of mood changes and worsening of psychiatric illness, namely depression. Of course pregnant and nursing women need not apply – this drug is not for you.  If you’re on dialysis, your dosage will need to be reduced (it is excreted by the kidneys 92% unchanged and is minimally metabolized).

The other most common constellation of side effect are related to the gastrointestinal system. People also complain of nausea (30%), vomiting, constipation and/or gas. Also sleep difficulties, including weird or vivid dreams, have been reported.

Friendly Compassionate Doctor And since there are cautions for diabetics on insulin, asthmatics and people on blood thinners due to drug interactions, well, you are forewarned that Chantix may not play well with others.  So make sure your doctors is aware of what you take before you try it.

Be aware that herbal medicines and vitamins may also interact adversely with Chantix. Therefore the best course of action is to stop other supplements AND stop smoking drugs or holistic anti-smoking remedies until after you complete your course of Chantix.

Based on the excitement and feedback I’m getting from the field, Pfizer may have another big winner. Only time will tell.

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Comments (130)

  • dr. j


    @ Anna

    Thanks for the comment, sharing your experience on this drug and the potential for dangerousness. Glad to hear your smoking days are over. Congratulations!

    The Corrections Officer I spoke about in my post decided he MISSED smoking, even though he proclaimed such great results after 3 days. I caught him with a cigarette out front and asked what was up! He stated that he just wasn’t ready to give it up for good…yet. He still LIKED to smoke.

    I guess replacing the craving isn’t the same as inhaling. I have a couple of clients that were using the nicotine inhalers. One was using it on top of smoking that we were concerned she would get nicotine poisoning.

    Whatever happened to that herbal concotion that was injected into the ear lobe and acted like antabuse? From what I remember (from the late 80’s), it worked so well, that you couldn’t even be around secondary smoke or you’d get nauseous.



  • anna


    I just thought this tid bit about this wonder drug be included especially since all are wowing this drug . Definately has down sides.


  • anna


    So till then, here’s a note from Albrecht’s best friend, bandmate and roommate, Danny Balis, who offers his own theory about how Albrecht’s behavior was altered by a smoking-cessation drug. Danny also says goodbye to the man he considered a brother. –Robert Wilonsky

    From Danny Balis’ MySpace page:NOTE: this is about a band member of the New Bohemians. He did not fare so well on Chantrix

    i found out this morning at 7:00 that my best friend was probably dead. i got the call from his girlfriend as she was being taken to the police station to be interviewed, as she saw the coroner’s van and a stretcher with a covered body being loaded into it as the cops drove her from the neighborhood. about an hour and a half later, she confirmed it. my brother, bandmate, roommate, and the closest friend i have ever known had been shot to death earlier at 4:07 a.m.

    we’ve all read the updated story in the dallas morning news, and it seems pretty accurate, according to the play-by-play of events she gave me throughout the night. what we don’t know is why he ended up at the next door neighbor’s back door, banging and kicking it at 4:06. nor do we know why carter acted out with his girlfriend in a manner that i have never seen in my near-ten years of friendship with him.

    this was not the carter albrecht i knew. the police report failed to mention that for the previous week, he and his girlfriend were trying quit smoking with the prescription drug, “chantix”. they had both started the program at the same time, and had been on it for a week. monday was supposed to be their quit day. carter had not slept much the night before, and had consumed approximately five cocktails in a two hour period on sunday eve. this was not unusual, as carter had a very good tolerance for the drink. chantix does clearly state on the box that it’s drowsy effects could be intensified by alcohol. the two also complained of having crazy, insane, almost horrific dreams that week. they jokingly referred to them as “chantix dreams” when comparing them. i later learned through a close friend that he had firsthand knowledge of two separate couples who had tried to quit smoking using chantix, and in each case, one spouse had tried to kill the other with no previous domestic conflct. one was successful, and many refer to this drug as a psychotic.

    was it a combination of sleep deprivation, booze, and the stop-smoking pills that sent him off? it’s the only explanation i can even think of. what was described to me sounded like a walking black out. in my years of knowing him, and all the girls he dated, i have never once heard of him getting abusive or physical with them. it was not his character. especially with the woman that i know for a fact he loved dearly. unfortunately, the morning news story paints him as a batterer to the casual reader that did not know him. this, he was undeniably not.

    so why banging on the next door neighbor’s back door? who knows. same waking black out state? confusion thinking he was knocking on his girlfriend’s door? this we will never know. any other explanation just doesn’t add up.

    what i can tell you about carter is that he was the best musician i have ever played with. it may sound trite, but it was an honor to play music with him, create and record with him, laugh and joke with him, for the better part of the last ten years. he was a unique musician. i don’t think enough people got to hear him. not only was he the backbone of sorta, playing keys and innovative guitar, he was my favorite solo artist/bandleader i’ve seen closely. if you got him, you got him. he was one of a kind. a dylan. an elliott smith. he had “it”. that extra something that set him apart from basically everyone else. i often joked with him that no one would really appreciate him until he died. his soulful, yet punk voice…his genius lyrics that were probably above the heads of most. and his playing. wow. today, when dozens of musicians gathered at our house, trying to make sense of this mess, i said more than once that “the thing that’s so wasteful about him being gone, is that he was better than all of us.” if anyone was going to save music in the dallas scene, it was him.

    he had many opportunities to go to new york, LA, and could have played sideman to anyone. but he chose to stay in dallas, where his family lived, his friends played, and his loyalty was rooted. he was a character-driven slave to honesty. and i learned alot about being truthful and up-front from him. you could hear it in his voice, his words, in the general way he carried himself. he was the real deal. most of the rest of us were just poseurs next to him.

    he meant the world to me. i will never see him again on this earth, and i am heartbroken from it. i can’t think about tomorrow because he is supposed to be there. he is supposed to be playing his piano in the dining room, or watching the rangers while eating some crap from a greenville fast-food place. we are supposed to talk about the goofy stuff that happened on the hardline that day. we are supposed to talk about books (usually a one-sided conversation with me on the short side) and the mavs and girls and music.

    but my best friend isn’t here anymore. and i honestly don’t know what to do.

    i guess the only thing left to do, is let everyone in on something you may not have known. carter was a very intelligent guy. smart as hell. borderline genius. so my final dig on my buddy is this…the last movie he watched was “snakes on a plane”. well, to his credit, he didn’t watch all of it. love you, buddy.
    Chantix, Psychotic?
    Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 12:30:00 PM

    By now, many of you have probably read the MySpace bulletin from Carter Albrecht’s bandmate, Sorta bassist Danny Balis, about the passing of his best friend. In it, Balis mentions the prescription stop-smoking drug Chantix, which Albrecht and his girlfriend had recently begun taking. Balis writes:

    “i later learned through a close friend that he had firsthand knowledge of two separate couples who had tried to quit smoking using chantix, and in each case, one spouse had tried to kill the other with no previous domestic conflct. one was successful, and many refer to this drug as a psychotic.”

    According to the Chantix Web site, the drug’s most common side effects are “nausea, changes in dreaming, constipation, gas and/or vomiting.” But the Pfizer drug’s FAQ section doesn’t mention more serious psychological side effects, and there are many, including “psychotic disorder” and “suicidal ideation.”

    Here are some listed from

    “PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS. Frequent: Anxiety, Depression, Emotional disorder, Irritability, Restlessness. Infrequent: Aggression, Agitation, Disorientation, Dissociation, Libido decreased, Mood swings, Thinking abnormal. Rare: Bradyphrenia, Euphoric mood, Hallucination, Psychotic disorder, Suicidal ideation.”

    So I Googled “Chantix” and “psychotic,” and came up with a few disquieting comments on various blog posts and message boards.


    “My husband who has never had ANY mental health problems, tried to take his own life after being on Chantix for 13 days. He has no recollection of the day it happened.”

    “My brother in law committed suicide Aug 19. He had taken Chantix and went off it in the spring, then we found out he had started retaking it 7 days before his suicide.”

    “2 days upon stopping, I went into a complete meltdown of suicidal thoughts, depression, crying for no reason, panic, agitation, lack of concentration….it was a nightmare.”

    And a post from someone who combined heavy drinking and Chantix, like Albrecht did, from WebMD:

    “… While intoxicated I did some things that were completely out of character for me. It is probably in my best interest not to share all of the details here even when posting anonymously, but the police were involved. I just want to make it clear that I did not hurt anyone or anything like that. I apparently just made a few bad decisions even after I was apprehended by the police …. I am not saying that it was the Chantix that caused this abnormal behavior… When I called Pfizer though, they told me that there have not been any studies on the effects of alcohol on people taking Chantix.”

    All of this is, of course, completely unconfirmed and anecdotal. But according to this article from with regard to mental illness and Chantix, there haven’t been a lot of studies on how the drug affects people with mood disorders, mental illness, etc. Now, the few times I met Albrecht, “good” or “pleasant” would be the only words I’d use to describe his mood, so I’m not calling him crazy or anything else. But I think there’s strong evidence to suggest that something in Chantix has a particularly significant emotional effect on some people. Throw booze into the equation, and anything can happen. –Andrea Grimes

    Side note : This was the drug I was on to quit smoking too.
    I did quit and was only on the drug for a little over a month and a half close to 2 months!
    I can say that I did too have some strange issues with it…dreams for one..
    Also a roller coaster of emotional flux.. that I couldn’t put my finger on as to why I was soooooooo depressed… a serious dark depression the first time in my life while on this drug.

    I however did not drink on the drug and still had these side effect or alterations in my daily life .

    I am starting to feeling a lot better now ..coming off of the drug.



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