Chantix® Side Effects: Depression

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Although the pharmaceutical company Pfizer markets Chantix® as a safe and effective smoking-cessation aid, there appear to be a number of very severe potential side effects including depression.

What’s the problem?

Depression is a mental health issue that can adversely affect all aspects of a person’s life. For some, it can be difficult to admit or realize that they are suffering from depression, especially if it is a recent development. If you or others close to you have noticed a negative change in your behavior, either gradually or suddenly, you may be afflicted with depression.

Chantix & Depression

On November 20, 2007 the FDA issued an “Early Communication About an Ongoing Safety Review Varenicline (marketed as Chantix)” to inform healthcare providers about reports the agency had received of people exhibiting various types of abnormal behaviors while using Chantix. These reports included new-onset of depressed mood and suicidal ideation, as well as other unusual changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks of initiating Chantix treatment.

In that November 2007 Early Communication item regarding Chantix, the FDA recommended the following measures:

  • Healthcare professionals should monitor patients taking Chantix for behavior and mood changes.
  • Patients taking Chantix should contact their doctors if they experience behavior or mood changes.
  • Patients should use caution when driving or operating machinery until they know how quitting smoking with Chantix may affect them.

Symptoms of Chantix Depression

When it causes depression, Chantix will cause patients to start experiencing the following symptoms:

  • disinterest
  • fatigue
  • feelings of sadness and/or worthlessness
  • hopelessness
  • insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • irritability
  • lack of focus
  • low or absent sex drive
  • uncontrollable crying
  • unintentional, dramatic weight gain or loss

Because Chantix may also cause patients to develop suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors, it is vital that they seek immediate medical attention as soon as any depression symptoms develop.

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