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Did Stop-Smoking Drug Cause Hallucinations?

Did Stop-Smoking Drug Cause Hallucinations?

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.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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