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Smoking Cessation Drug Chantix May Cause Violent Behavior, Experts Say

The FDA-approved drug Chantix may be causing more problems by producing adverse side effects like aggression, experts say.

Smoking cessation is a big problem for dependent smokers. Withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings are two of the top reasons why many cannot stop smoking.

A few years ago, the US FDA approved a drug, Chantix, that was touted as the prescription drug to help people kick the smoking habit.  According the drug’s medical literature, Chantix works by acting on the specific brain receptors associated with the chemical nicotine.

Nicotine is an active ingredient in tobacco products that produces a feeling of well-being and relief.  In the long term, the body loses its ability to produce similar chemicals that provide stress relief and the feeling of satisfaction.

This is the reason why smokers become dependent on tobacco products.  It is possible to normalize the brain chemical production again, but it takes time and the withdrawal symptoms are painful.

The story of Chantix

When a smoker is prescribed Chantix to help kick the smoking habit, he can continue smoking until the 8th day of active treatment.  After this point in time, the patient must stop smoking so the drug can perform in its full capacity.  A patient can be prescribed the drug from 12 to 24 full weeks.

According to researcher Thomas Moore from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Chantix is actually a dangerous drug because it causes patients to feel aggression, violence and even suicidal thoughts.

Moore states that there should be regulation in the prescription of the drug.  According to him, military personnel and other similar armed professionals should not be given the drug given the adverse reports of its side effects since its approval in 2006.

The first documented, adverse side effect of the drug was made in the year 2007 when a musician from Dallas was shot down for displaying violent behavior toward his girlfriend’s neighbor.

Moore and fellow researchers were able to gather a total of 78 adverse cases of side effects from various sources, including reports sent to the US FDA.  Among the 78 adverse side effects, the researchers noted that ten cases involved serious assault, nine cases involved thoughts of committing homicide and seven cases involved other types of violent thoughts.  The FDA advises anyone on the drug Chantix to stop treatment if such feelings of aggression manifest during treatment.  It is also advised that you visit your physician if ever such side effects do occur during treatment.

Natural smoking cessation strategies

You don’t have to be dependent on smoking cessating drugs like Chantix or nicotine patches to kick the smoking habit.  Below are natural strategies that can help you quit the habit.  But the most important tool in your arsenal will still be the genuine desire to quit smoking because you want your health back.

1. A common withdrawal symptom when a person stops smoking is hunger.  This hunger is in part psychological and part physiological.  The body is sending out a signal that it needs its next dose of nicotine.  The body doesn’t need nicotine because it can produce its own natural chemicals to reward the body after a hard day’s work.  If you feel hungry after quitting smoking for a few hours, try drinking some water or eating a small, healthy snack.  Avoid over-eating though, as this doesn’t help the overall effort of keeping yourself healthy throughout the quitting process.

2. Deal with the emotional stress associated with smoking properly.  The first step is to reach out to those who are closest to you, like friends and loved ones.  It’s okay to tell them that you feel angry or frustrated.  Listen to them and allow them to provide you comfort and emotional relief.  Also, learn how to de-stress properly. Remove yourself form isolation, start exercising and keep yourself busy with doing something you like.

3. Reach out to other people like you who are also attempting to kick the habit for good.  Online forums on smoking cessation are free of charge and are full of folks who are in various stages of quitting.  Simply joining the forums can provide immense benefits because you can heart their stories and you will not feel as if you are loneliest person in the world.

4. Do you feel fatigued or physically tired because you’ve quit smoking?  Instead of getting a cigarette, try resting. If you need to adjust your bedtime to sleep earlier, then that’s a good idea. Sleep is much better than bringing yourself back to square 1 of your efforts.

5. Gradually reduce your number of cigarette sticks per day. Start with small steps and gradually reduce your tobacco consumption by half.   Then halve your current number of sticks again, until you’re down to two or one stick a day.  By doing this, you are giving your body time to readjust its chemical balance.  Going cold turkey rarely works, especially for first-time ‘quitters’.

Sources:
webmd.com
quitsmoking.about.com
quitsmoking.about.com

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