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Can Chantix Cause Depression?

The stop-smoking drug Chantix can trigger serious depression, especially in those who have had past episodes of depression.
Can Chantix Cause Depression?
Nicotine addiction

Q. I am taking Chantix to quit smoking.  I have had no urge to smoke, but I am seriously depressed.

In the past I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I attempted suicide 10 years ago and was hospitalized for depression.

I am concerned that my recent bout of severe depression may be a result of taking Chantix.  Has this topic been researched? I want to stop smoking but I don’t want to be this depressed. I am still seeing a therapist. Should I tell him about this?

A. Chantix is a relatively new oral prescription medication to help people stop smoking. It works in a completely different way from nicotine replacement gum, lozenges and patches.

In clinical studies Chantix was somewhat more effective than another oral medication, Zyban (bupropion SR), in helping people stay off cigarettes.

The most common side effects of Chantix are nausea, headache, sleep problems and strange dreams. Although depression is not listed as a common side effect, it was frequently reported among people who participated in the clinical trials.

Please contact your therapist about your depression. Your doctor may consider whether Zyban, which also has antidepressant activity, might be more appropriate for you.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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