Friday, August 03, 2007

Something New Every Day (and Go Cubs)

It's still Chantix Day 58 and still Smoke-free Day 46 (and I mention it again because I do like hearing it but also just in case I ever do another re-cap or summary kind of thing again because this makes my life easier).

I've been reading enough about Chantix and taking it long enough that I didn't expect there would be much I hadn't seen or heard, but today I learned that it's possible the light nosebleeds I've had the past couple of days could be related to Chantix. Epistaxis is the fancier name, and it's listed as a side effect of Chantix in a few places, including here (and now added to my Linky Loos) where I found some other info that I didn't know and that I'll get to in a minute. Honestly, I have no idea whether my nosebleed thing is just a coincidence or related because I've also been having that crazy eustachian tube dysfunction ear thing going on where the doctor says to use Afrin (or generic if you are me, nose spray) to unplug my ears and stop feeling like I can't hear well, am in a cloud, and get just a hint dizzy once in awhile (the nose spray worked last time, but I haven't done it yet because I didn't like the thought of squirting something into my nose right now, and sometimes being in a little cloud and not hearing stuff isn't really all that bad of a deal). Anyway, maybe my nosebleed thing is and maybe it isn't related to Chantix. Thankfully, it doesn't bother me enough to stop.

**update: it wasn't the Chantix causing the nosebleed, see here**

While I'm on the topic, I do know that over on Stan's blog, he had major issues with itching (fancy name: pruritus) on Chantix unbearable enough to stop taking it, and I will say that I've noticed the past several weeks that I do itch a bit more than normal, on my face in particular. Again, for me it's barely an issue, doesn't keep me awake or make me nuts, so it's not bad enough to for me to discontinue Chantix, but it's something that I've noticed that might maybe possibly be Chantix related. Or might not. I can't tell since it's not severe enough and didn't start immediately after I went on Chantix to really say for certain. I guess I'll know more when I stop taking the Chantix.

It's so hard to tell how any one person will react to a medication, and it's intimidating to see all kinds of possible side effects even when so few or none might even happen for you (or a rare one might get you pretty bad). Frankly, I'm surprised to see numbers (from same article as above) like flatulence at only 10% (very thankfully the farting and bloating left me within the first couple of weeks), abnormal dreams at only 19% (the side effect that I actually miss once it became more subtle), and nausea at only 35% (my nausea came, went, came, went, now varies). I was also kind of surprised to see insomnia listed as 37% because I didn't experience it (I've always been a night owl, but I sleep well once I actually drag my ass to bed). I guess we sometimes tend to think that everyone experiences things as we do, so that's why it's surprising to me that gas, nausea and funky Chantix dreams are apparently not necessarily the standard issue effects for everyone taking Chantix that I thought they were (though those do seem the most discussed). By the same token, other even more common side effects like insomnia didn't happen to me.

If there was a point to any of the above, I guess it's just that I still think Chantix is definitely worth a try for anyone wanting to quit even in spite of the long list of possible but not promised side effects (in conjunction with advice from a doctor, of course). Being aware of some of the possible side effects and chatting with a doc about stopping if they get too extreme is probably good advice, too.

The last little tidbit from the article that I'd actually searched for and hadn't found an answer and made up on my own as I went is about Chantix dosing in terms of just when to take the second Chantix pill. The same article finally answers the question head on and says at least 8 hours between doses. All of my different variations on creative Chantix dose timing worked out about that way anyway - until the past handful of days of more like dinner and then before bed roughly 6 hours later and noticing that the second pill was making me feel nauseous, so today I'll go back to taking it after lunch and bedtime again (not that I care whether I'm nauseous while sleeping since it's never woken me up).

Well, that was educational for me; was it educational for you? ;)

PS - Cubs tied for first place in their division last night, and while it can all change in the beat of a Cubs fan's hopeful yet afraid to hope and fragile little heart (in fact, currently playing as I type and a few runs behind), I'm a happy/hopeful fan right about now and letting the hope carry me along just in case this really is the year they win the 2 words I'm too fearful yet to utter. Perspective: two people I loved and miss most dearly, my mom and her mom, waited and hoped and still never saw it happen in their entire lifetimes. For me and many, whether the Cubs do or don't make this "the year" is a big deal on levels so much deeper than just a game. It's almost spiritual for me - someday I'll explain about my dear mother. Until then, if you don't already get it, I can't explain it, but just repeat after me: Go Cubbies!


  1. Oh, no, Maggie. I hope those nosebleeds are nothing major for you. That's crazy, all the weird side effects popping here and there...and it's so hard to figure out what it's related to - Chantix, your quit in general, or something else. Did you have those before you went on Chantix?

    Same with the listed Chantix side effects - a lot of them could be from the actual quitting, not the medication. They had no way of separating what caused them, I'm very sure of that.

    Maggie, by the way, I know you want to stay on Chantix the full three months, and all. But have you thought about starting the slow wean NOW? I mean you already know how long Chantix stays in your body. Even if you switched today to 1.5 mgs a day for the next month, it would take pretty much the whole month to bring your Chantix concentration level down to what it would be if you were taking 1.5 mgs of it all along. It really is a slow process if you do it gradually. Trust me, you wouldn't even feel it....

  2. Yep, Stan, it's hard to say whether it's related to quitting, the Chantix or neither, but I've rarely had nosebleeds. At least is is extremely light and might already be clearing up.

    I'm glad that you mentioned the tapering off because I do intend to do that and have some thoughts that I really should hammer out so that I can plan accordingly and make myself a little chart ;)

    I'll be asking you do to some of that Stan Chantix math that you do once I get going on the tapering off stage.

  3. Hey, Maggie! Day 27 smokefree for me, Day approx 40 on Chantix. I was really lucky because I didn't have any of the side effects except maybe a bout or two of constipation. I didn't have insomnia, vivid dreams, gas, and the nausea was very slight and only on the days I upped my dosage.

    I threw a graduation party for my daughter this past weekend. It felt weird not to light up when everyone had left and I finally put my feet up. A smoke and a thorough discussion of all the party gossip has been my routine for years. But I just popped a piece of Trident White (my gum of choice) and shared party gossip without the smoke. I did use the party as an opportunity to share the news with my smoking friends who I hadn't seen lately that I was now a non-smoker. I didn't want to be one of those annoying ex-smokers who preach, so I kept it low key, but I did mention using Chantix and told them how well it worked for me. Hopefully the ones who are seriously interested in quitting will give it a try.

    The thing that keeps freaking me is the whole reward thingy. I could make it through movies, long plane flights, parties at my in-laws, etc. because I knew at the end I would have the reward of lighting up. But now it feels incomplete because I am accomplishing this major feat of abstaining, but there is no reward for closure. I've tried other things to reward myself, but haven't found the magic answer quite yet. I'm still working on it though.

    Good luck with the nosebleeds. It really is bizarre how the same medication can affect everyone so differently.

  4. Hi Judy! Thanks for stopping by again. Wow, you are darn close to the month mark. That's just wonderful. It's nice to hear and be reminded that some, like you, have even fewer side effects than me (and I've thought of mine as fairly minor).

    I'm with you on not being one of those annoying non-smoking nagging people, but I do mention Chantix anytime I get the chance ;)

    I do know what you mean on the reward issue. I wish I had a decent idea for you, but for me that "habit" of waiting for the reward at the end of a task or in between things just sort of went away after awhile. In time, I'm sure yours will, too, but it's always worth trying new ways to reward yourself in the meantime.

    Wishing you continued success, and I do hope you'll keep chiming in with updates. Congrats again on your month milestone. Awesome!

  5. "and sometimes being in a little cloud and not hearing stuff isn't really all that bad of a deal"

    I love that line in particular.

    When I was on Chantix, the insomnia was pretty brutal the first couple of days. So bad I would wake up and be sweating and itching and just kind of freaking out. Then, of course, we share the "vivids". I did not suffer nausea, constipation or gas. Or nosebleeds... but I've never had a nosebleed in my entire life.

    You know, in case you are taking a survey. :)

  6. Danielle, you crack me up, and yes, kind of like an informal survey in my mind I have going on, collecting bits about who experienced what - wow, no nausea or gas kind of throws off my Chantix world view.

  7. I'm lucky in that I really haven't had any side effects to deal with on Chantix ... of course, we can add a "so far" to the end of that. I'm hoping it stays that way, because I really could do without the nausea and nosebleeds.

  8. Oh yeah, wouldn't it be nice if we had a closer who wouldn't give games away? Man, that would be nice! Glad we went out and got that Gagne fella. I hear he's pretty good. Oh, oh wait ... we didn't, did we? *sigh*

    So it is, the life of a Cubs fan.

  9. Awesome the side effects are not an issue for you, Frank! Mine have been so mild overall, that I'm content enough.

    The life of a Cubs fan...

  10. Great page Maggie, I'm on Chantix. I get to light my last cig tonight. I was looking around on the net because i am itching like crazy. I'm not breking skin but it feels like things crawling on me. YUCK. I have enjoyed all the post of people on this drug. Best of luck to you all. P.S. My husband is from Chicago but gave up on the cubbies a long time ago. I'm a fan though. Marilynn

  11. Thank you, Marilynn! I'm wishing you all the absolute best on your quit. Especially since you've kept the Cubbies faith. Really, good luck. I do hope you'll pop in anytime with a comment on any post to say how you are doing. I also hope that the itching subsides.

  12. Hi Maggie, thanks for this wonderful site. I'm Debbie and I started Chantix today. I am a little scared of what side effects I may get BUT I am keeping an open mind and plan to read all through your site.

  13. Thank you, MontanaDeb! Congrats on starting Chantix, and I do hope that you will have as much luck with it as I have - and few side effects! If you have a blog, I'd love to read along. Writing has helped me tremendously!

  14. Thanks for the welcome! I do not have a blog though. We have been renovating this old home we bought and I figure this will be a good time for me to really get going on finishing up some things I have put off. I still need to tape and mud the drywall in the upstairs bathroom, then sand, texture and paint it and then put the new floor in so that will keep me busy for a little while I think. Then I will just pick another spot that needs finishing. Like around the new windows, those all need to get finished off and detailed. I know I need to have some sort of project to help me get through the first hard stages. Thanks again for the welcome and I will be around

  15. MontanaDeb, sounds like you are on your way, and I do think that such an involved project will help keep you more than busy. And that can be very helpful right about quitting smoking time. Continued good luck to you!


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