Q. My husband’s best friend, another soldier, started taking Chantix to quit smoking on Wednesday. Sometime Sunday evening or early Monday morning, he murdered a 17-year-old recruit and shot himself in the head afterwards.
He was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest and most non-aggressive soldier I ever knew. My husband met him in recruiting school, and he was such a smart, talented person.
We are still struggling with what has happened. But after reading a myriad stories relating to Chantix, blackouts and violent/suicidal rage, that is the only explanation I have for what happened.
Our friend had been drinking over the weekend, so I don’t know how much that contributed to his psychosis, but either way, this medication is dangerous! Two lives were lost for no reason. We are so frustrated, sad and angry.

A. We are sorry to learn about your friend’s tragic experience with Chantix. This is not the first time we have heard that this drug was linked to violence: “I live in the UK. On Christmas Eve my boyfriend had been using Chantix for some months. He was drinking and went berserk for no reason, assaulted me and destroyed my apartment… As far as I know, he has no past mental health problems or history of violence.”
Another reader offered a similar report: “My brother took Chantix for about a month, went berserk, beat his wife with no provocation and then called the police. He has no recollection of the incident and had visual hallucinations before this bizarre and tragic episode. His wife of 19 years divorced him, he’s now homeless, and he’s facing multiple felony charges.”
The official prescribing information for Chantix lists depression and suicidal thoughts and acts as well as agitation, anxiety, psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, hostility and homicidal thoughts. We worry that alcohol might intensify this problem.
We recognize that some people are able to quit smoking successfully thanks to Chantix (verenicline). For that we are grateful. But some people experience intolerable complications from this drug that are sometimes long lasting.
Here are some links to other problems associated with this medication:
• Link 1
• Link 2
Share your own Chantix story below. Did it help you quit smoking successfully? Were you able to avoid side effects? Did you experience serious side effects and if so, what were they like? Would you recommend Chantix to others to help them quit smoking. Please let us know your experience.

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  1. MH

    I completely agree with you. I do not trust the FDA at all. I do not believe they are really concerned about our health and safety. There are many substances that are used in this country that are banned in most European countries and yet the poisons are still being used here. On the flip side there are many drugs available in Europe to help those with Cancer and similar diseases that are not approved here. You would think they would trade some info. and studies from what has been learned from others for the benefit of all. Sorry, it’s money that talks here. There seems to be a deaf ear to everything else.

  2. nb

    I took this drug and found that its efficacy was a function of usage over the prescribed limit. As it says in the literature, it produced in me symptoms similar to those of a stroke. It was effective; I stopped smoking; however, I never want to go through that again.

  3. RA

    My best friend of 50 years tried everything to quit smoking and tried Chantix. Within 4 weeks his personality completely changed. He became argumentative, sarcastic and difficult to be around. I had to tell him off on one occasion which did not even bother him nor when his wife made a threat to leave him or get off the Chantix, she being a nurse.
    His doctor said he did not understand the problem, Chantix has no side effects, it is the patients normal disposition. Needless to say, my friend stopped using Chantix and changed doctors. Unfortunately, he still smokes. Its strange, I smoked for 30 years, went cold turkey 6 months ago and have had very little cravings. I feel better, breathe better and just don’t miss the habit.

  4. DaveB

    My personal experience with Chantix was similarly horrible, but the symptoms (side effects) took longer to be noticeable with me (possibly because I was sober). By the time I was done with the 12 week (?) regimen, it was too late. My depression and suicidal thoughts got even worse for 2-3 months longer. Just before I “did myself in,” I bought some cigarettes and within 2 puffs, I felt that I would survive! I’m off nicotine, now, but had to do it the way most folks do: cold turkey. Whenever I hear the word Chantix, I cringe as if I have PTSD!

  5. lg

    Several years ago, I read about a similar case in Dallas. A well-known, normally mild-mannered band member had been out for an evening. Some drinks were involved but apparently not an obscene amount of them. Came home & was confused and went to the next door neighbors & beat on the door in a rage that his girlfriend was not letting him in his “home” (wrong “home”). Homeowner became alarmed and got his gun and shot high through the door to scare him off. Unfortunately, this was a tall man & it hit him in the head & killed him. Everyone who knew him was befuddled at this was normally such a kind soul and this was not his normal behavior at all – per family, friends and his girlfriend.
    was on chantix. believe there was a lawsuit. never heard the outcome…

  6. SD

    I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I have seen pts become unstable with mood sxs’s that include increased depression, irritability, sleep disturbance and suicidal thinking on Chantix. I tell anyone I treat to stay away from Chantix and explore other options for smoking cessation.

  7. Bonnie

    I have been smoking on and off since I was 12 years old. Quitting is horribly hard so when I heard from friends about Chantix I was anxious to try it. I am normally a very happy person and quite easy going.
    After taking Chanix for 5 days, I realized I was feeling agitated at everyone and everything. The least thing made me very angry.
    During this time, I also found that cigarettes started tasting really nasty so I could understand why it could help a person quit. However, the side effect of anger and hostility made me quit taking it.
    I do not drink but what is being said about the combination of Chantix and drinking makes perfect sense to me based on my experience. I do believe if I had continued taking the drug, I would have been capable of violence. The anger was so intense.
    Thanks for letting me share my experience. My warning would be to look for any symptoms of hostility and stop the drug if symptoms appear.

  8. Mary

    I doubt if you will print this, yet I write anyway.
    My own feeling is that “FDA approved” is a reason to avoid most of those things.
    FDA seems to support pharmaceutical interests rather than the health and safety of the rest of us.

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