Ever since Chantix was introduced in 2006, it has been hailed as a wonderful way to stop smoking. Quitting smoking is, of course, one of the most important steps a person can take to improve health, but Chantix may not be right for every smoker.

Starting in 2007, people began to report troubling side effects. If you search Chantix on this Web site you will learn about suicidal thoughts, domestic violence and other aggressive behavior. This comment is the first one on our site that has linked Chantix to seizures, although the drug reference Epocrates does list seizures as a potential adverse reaction to Chantix. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has also noted that this drug “may cause blackouts, convulsions and interruption of motor control or vision.”


D. Merritt made this comment on March 15, 2010:

All I can say to all potential users of Chantix is consider a different solution.

I took Chantix for about three weeks until I suffered my first seizure in my whole life. I fell and broke my jaw.

Since that time I stopped taking Chantix but have continued to have seizures. I have had about 6 now. I went 6 months seizure free before getting behind the wheel. I was on the highway driving 75 mph when I had a seizure. I swerved and hit two other cars and my car flipped about 5 times before stopping.

I suffered a brain contusion and have been recovering ever since. Will these ever end? Is there a cure?

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  1. Shari

    I used Chantix in 2008 at the age of 51 and still have complex partial seizures that for the most part are controlled with seizure meds. I had never has a seizure prior to chantix.

  2. bob

    I began Chantix in early 2011 before the seizure warning was on the label. I began having strange feelings during the third week of therapy and stopped taking the drug. A few weeks later I had a major seizure and have been having minor and major seizures since. I had no prior history of seizures. Last September I had a major seizure at 3:00 am (no alcohol), fell and did major damage to my back. Back surgery followed and the resulting pain continues. Not allowed to drive or do just about anything. Seizure meds have helped a little but not sufficiently to resume a normal life. I have had four neurologists as they give-up and pass me on to another “specialist.” Doctors say seizures not due to Chantix- probably to avoid any legal hassles.
    Has anyone any knowledge of a remedy to the Chantix cause? Perhaps there is an anti-seizure med that addresses seizures caused by Chantix or equivalent?
    Apparently, Chantix must have done some permanent damage to my brain. MRI shows degenerative brain disease beyond normal aging process due to the seizures.

    • Brett

      I myself started Chantex and successfully quit but followed shortly after was my first ever “pseudoseizure”… the dr. Called it fake?… I have now had 3 seizures. First one about 6-7 months after taking chantex. Another about a 6 months then I got put on a daily med. Yet had another one, closer to a year apart. All same results from drs. Nothing. They couldn’t find anything else that would have triggered them.

      Luckily for me, all three were triggered in my sleep. They gave me a big spiel about how my mind conjures up something in my body not wanting to be there as a possible cause of having a seizure as you said or someone that I read previously probably to keep from any sort of lawsuit issues. But to answer your question, I have found a med. That as long as taken twice daily.

      Do I still occasionally have panic attacks before I go to bed…of course……. I haven’t told you the worst for me……..I get extremely violent if someone touches me or tries to direct me from hurting myself etc. The last one took 6 officers to put me on the strecher. The first just as many having myself not only have the worst unexperienced experience I have ever went through.

      I’m a father of 2 with a wonderful wife of 18 years. I pray for you and I understand your frustration of not being able to get it under control and being terrified of wondering if and when the next one is going to happen. My dr. Prescribed me Trileptal and so far fingures crossed nothing in about a year. Please let me know how you are doimg and I hope you found, find something for whatever this medication to quit smoking did to us.

    • Shari

      Best to talk with your neurologist to get you on the right meds.. Mine are controlled with medication.. and I do believe mine are from Chantix use.. Used chantix in 2008 at the age of 51, I have never had a seizure prior to that.

  3. Don

    After a couple of weeks of taking Chantix I also had the first seizure of my life at 43 years old. It was so bad I broke a strap on the ambulance board. Had to take 6 weeks off of work. 4 weeks later had another seizure. 40,000 dollars later and many doctor visits no one has found anything wrong. Chantix is the only thing I was taking at the time. Eight years later I am still dealing with massive anxiety and panic attacks and sometimes I get so dizzy I end up in the ER. Chantix is a bad drug and I wish there was some way to go back in time so I could have a regular life again, even as a smoker.

  4. Jamie

    I was taking Chantix in 2010 when I had my first ever seizure. To this day I am still having seizures and have massive memory loss. This has ruined my life. I can’t take showers or bath alone without someone watching me. I am scared as hell to drive. I have to wait 6 months to drive in between seizures. It has costed me lots of money in doctors visits and meds.

  5. Beth

    I had seizures the very first week on chantix and now I have Epilepsy.
    I am trying to Organize the people who have had seizures. I am Not a lawyer.
    please email me.
    I have useful information

  6. J. Webster

    I had the first grand mal seizure of my life in the third week of Chantix. Afterwards; I’d wake up somewhere other than in bed; I had flashbacks of dreams that were so vivid they made me sick; my heartbeat became irregular; I’d wet the bed; and, I started having periods of memory loss. Six months later I started having complex partial seizures in my sleep or upon waking. The first few led to only a few hours of amnesia and altered consciousness but they don’t seem to clear up anymore. To this point (1yr, 4 mos since starting Chantix) I’ve had six seizures that I am aware of. I believe I’ve had more because of the strange way I feel many mornings when I wake up. My last major seizure was one week ago today and I have not recovered… something like I’m in a constant seizure. I barely remember 2013 and I fear for my future.

  7. Jenna

    I recently started taking chantix to stop smoking. When I was into week 3 I started twitching and then having seizures. I had never had them before. I was hospitalized in ICU and just got out last night. I am still twitching often and noticed texting and the computer starts the major twitching. I can’t say my words correctly most of the time.
    I hop this stops. Has anyone had any lunk with talking to an attorney about this and the permanent fact that most continue to have seizures
    Looking for insight. Hoping they will go away. I am afraid to drive and my husband works odd hours so I am alone often

  8. S. Parker

    I had a grand mal seizure for the first time 2 weeks ago. I haven’t had another since. I successfully quit smoking 10 months ago after taking Chantix for 2 months. I was also taken Wellbutrin at the time. I am not sure if taken Chantix has any correlation to the seizure. Grateful I am still not smoking. Plus, I don’t drink. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in 6 years.

  9. Phillip M.

    I have been a 2 pack a day smoker since I was 12 years old. I have tried every method of quitting known to man. Chantix was the only thing that actually worked. Unfortunately about a week and a half into the prescription I suffered a massive seizure in walmart at the checkout counter.
    I woke up in the ER to a doctor performing a sternum rub. I have never in my entire life had seizure issues, not once, and I am used to working in 100+ degree temperatures which are known to cause heat stroke and seizures due to dehydration and overheating of the brain. However I was not at work, it was the weekend and I was in an air conditioned walmart, and it was only 85 outside.
    I spent a week in a very terrible hospital having over 10 seizures a day, so violent that I was thrown from my hospital bed onto the floor numerous times, and voided my bladder and bowels more often than not during them. I also lost roughly three months of my memory, and control of the left side of my body for over 60 days. I could not move a single muscle in my left arm, leg or the left half of my face.
    The seizures have subsided in frequency, duration and intensity over the years, but is still an issue. epilepsy was completely ruled out via 24 hour video eeg. I do not have neurons misfiring in my brain. I was transported to Brigham and womens hospitals world class seizure unit as soon as a bed opened up, where I spent another 3 weeks.
    Being a painter by trade, I was medically advised by the top psychiatrist and neurologist to discontinue my line of work, because if I seized while on a roof or high ladder I would more than likely be a dead man.
    I am turning 30 in one week, and it is my belief that my career, my health and much more have been completely ruined by chantix. I have full control of m body now, and full strength has returned, but I can not even drive, as the frequency is well under the 6 month law to be able to reobtain my license, and I really do not want to kill someone with a vehicle.

  10. MJT

    I took chantix for 3+ weeks and quit smoking. I then stood up from my chair and was unable to move my arms. I went to the hospital and they said I had broke and dislocated both of my shoulders. The Dr. said the way the break was it was caused by a convulsive seizure.

  11. laura

    My best friend started taking chantix a few weeks ago. Up until Feb 2012, she had never experienced a seizure before in her life. Now she has, I believe caused by chantix and she is in a daily struggle because of it! Please help!
    Feb 17th 2012 she was experiencing migraine symptoms and went to walk in emergency care. They admitted her to the hospital, she was taken by ambulance, a cscan was done and she was told by the drs she had had a paralyzing migraine, prescribed medicine she never had filled and sent her on her way. The next day, She saw a neurologist who did an MRI and said she had had a stroke on the left side of her brain. Meanwhile, her left hand is curling up, and she is having seizures daily, sometimes multiple times a day.
    She went to another neurologist who said nothing about a stroke, but that she is having seizures and put her on tegretol. No driving, not been able to work, take her children where they need to go, etc. The medication is making her extremely tired, not able to think clearly, etc. She has stopped taking the chantix.
    An extremely knowledgeable naturalist who suffers from grand mall seizures herself, suggested 1 TBSP aluminum free baking soda mixed in 8 oz water, to be taken with straw as soon as possible on the onset of a seizure, stops seizures within 8 seconds ALSO helps body not be as affected, sore from seizure. She suggested increasing her magnesium….. and fish oil, a brain formula that would assist In protecting the nerves (she has become very sensitive to sound, sudden movement, etc) among other things I’m sure (she was already on a regular fish oil) to continue taking her B COMPLEX in the a.m. & lunch but not after 2… also, upper cervical spinal correction…. removing spinal cord irritation, tension, and reactivates normal transmission of brain messages to the affected part of the body so the natural self-healing process can begin. Plan to try all of this …..any comments, suggestions, help would be greatly appreciated!
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We are not expert enough to advise on treating seizures. We’d be wary of stopping the medication to try the ‘natural approach’ but might consider asking the neurologist whether any of the natural modalities recommended would be harmful. Best of luck to her.

  12. J. Briand

    I started taking chantix in April 2008. After roughly 21 days I was unable to sleep for 92 consecutive hours. On night four at 1:10 AM I had my first very violent grand mal seizure and I stopped breathing completely… my husband had to do rescue breathing to get me back. I was taken to the ER where I had yet another seizure around 5 AM then another around 7AM.
    I was an adult A student heading toward graduate school but following the seizures I lost 4 years of education I can’t get back. I feel in a permanent fog. What I call my Name compartment in my brain is completely fried to this day. I have since developed multiple allergic reactions to medications I had never been allergic to before that night. I am bipolar and now have no control hardly over this issue to the inability to take certain medications now.
    Pfizer should reveal to the public all of the new side effects that are coming to light. I also have a very fast heart rate and uncontrollable heart palpitations that have never subsided.

  13. Donna B.

    I started Chantix in November 08, on the 7th day I started having seizures. I have never had a seizure in my life until I took Chantix. My seizures have progressed from 1-2 a day to up to 10 times in a day and I was recently hospitalized in ICU. The doctors’ state that I will more than likely have them for the rest of my life. I have lost my job because of seizures at work, I have been ordered by physicians not to drive and my husband can’t leave my by myself. The seizures have seriously affected my life to where I can’t function normally.
    I am trying to find a lawyer (I just received an email from Erin Brockovich herself tonight, she is also going to research this and get back to me) that will take my case and I am also trying to find anyone else that has experienced seizures after taking Chantix.

    • jack
      United States

      I too have had nearly the same effect that you have been having on chantix. I took it back in 07 and have had seizures since. Sometimes 4 to 5 a day. If you get info please respond.

  14. BOBBY L.

    Hi, I took this medication 5 weeks and I smoked 45 years 3 packs a day, and now I haven’t smoked in 5 years, thank you. I had tried everything else, and they didn’t work. Make sure the public knows.
    Bobby L.

  15. Cindy

    I took Chantix about 3 years ago and at first I thought it was a miracle drug. No craving, no desire to smoke a cigarette… it even made cigarette smoke smell like burning plastic to me. However, after the first month of taking the drug I began experiencing extreme agitation and irritability.
    I was a different person when I got like this and the only thing that brought it slightly under control was when it was time for my evening dose of Chantix. Since I am Bipolar, I asked my psychiatrist about taking this medication (I take an antidepressant/anti-anxiety med) and he took me right off of it. The prescribing Dr. was aware of my psychiatric meds/conditions. I’m just glad that I stopped it when I did… I do believe I could have hurt someone.

  16. Jim D.

    About two years ago, my wife got a prescription for Chantix. Within a couple of months, she began having severe headaches that eventually led to stroke like symptoms: partial paralysis, inability to speak, inability to reason, etc. After a brief hospital stay, her neurologist told her to stop taking Chantix and Requip (for restless legs). Within a few days, most of her symptoms subsided. She still has minor difficulty reading and writing.
    We do not know which drug prompted the reaction or whether it was interaction between the two. She started Chantix after successfully taking Requip. The drug may work for some, but be very aware of potential side effects.

  17. ann

    I took Chantix for 3 months to quit smoking. I had no side effects at all and have not had a cigarette for over 3 years now. I smoked close to 2 packs a day for over 30 years. Great drug!!!

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