Q. My mom (age 70) took Chantix for two weeks to help her quit smoking. She stopped the drug a week ago, but she is now confused, dazed, paranoid, has hallucinations and cannot concentrate or function. This seems to be worse each day.
I took her to the doctor this morning. He ordered a blood test and told her to come back in three weeks. I’m afraid she could be dead before then. Does this go away in time?

A. We appreciate your concern. The side effects you mention are among those listed in official prescribing information for Chantix:
“Serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have been reported in patients being treated with CHANTIX …These postmarketing reports have included changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, hostility, agitation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide…When symptoms were reported, most were during CHANTIX treatment, but some were following discontinuation of CHANTIX therapy.”
It is not clear how long it may take for such symptoms to disappear. Please get back in touch with your mother’s doctor right away.

Join Over 52,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. oliver s.
    Reply

    I had hallucinations (well illusions / visual disturbances / pseudo-hallucinations) for over a year after stopping smoking, got put on anti-psychotics (even though I wasn’t psychotic as I know that it was just in my head), after many months no difference, quit the anti-psychotics, not difference (except I could think again), started smoking again. Hallucinations went after a short while.
    I now still get similar visual disturbances whenever I’ve got a lot of stress / anxiety.
    Quitting smoking can cause stress anxiety depression etc… and those things can cause illusions/visual disturbances etc…. This is because smoking has anti-depressant effects and after years your body will adjust, even grow /modify brain structure (homeostasis) to the background level of nicotine, when you quit it can take a very very very long time for homeostasis to get back to anything like normal.
    illusions/visual disturbances are just a kind of synaesthesia, the anxiety / depression coming out as a visual (etc..) sense instead of an emotional sense feelings.

  2. CB
    Reply

    This is a common theme seen with Chantix. I’ve seen several people now be placed in a psych ward because of the hallucinations this drug causes.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.