Why I Can’t Take Chantix to Quit Smoking

Several of my doctors are really pushing me to quit smoking. I know – intellectually – that I do need to quit. The problem is, in 1999 I quit for three years and never got to the point where I was comfortable. I wanted to smoke every single day of those three years. Finally I couldn’t stand it any more and started up again.

This dramatic failure – and the fact that I really enjoy smoking – are two huge factors playing against my even making another attempt.

Still, I was willing to try bupropion (generic version of the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the anti-smoking aid Zyban). This was a major disaster.

I do have e-cigarettes, but they aren’t satisfying (maybe I bought the wrong brand?). Then they died, I couldn’t find the charger, and it took weeks for the company to send me a new one (promised in 3 days). That kind of killed my interest in using them.

My ashtray at the end of the day

My ashtray at the end of the day

But I smoke a lot: at least 2 packs a day. I have developed wheezing when I lie down. I really don’t want COPD, and I was told that smoking could have contributed to the attack of ischemic colitis I had a few years back (which could have been fatal, though I didn’t know it at the time).

There’s one more drug that has a very good record in helping people quit smoking: Chantix. But my doctors refuse to prescribe it because of my bipolar II disorder, and I agree with them. My current meds’ control over my BP and anxiety is precarious enough without adding a drug known to cause problems to people with mental illnesses. Continue reading

Bupropion Disrupts Major Goals

Damn you, bupropion. You’ve stolen from me the last few cool days when planting would be relatively easy. I’m beaten. I’m NOT going to get the island garden bed planted before the permanent hot weather sets in… because today is the last cool day for the foreseeable future. Right now it’s 69 degrees, the forecast high for the day. Tomorrow’s forecast is for 85, and the rest of the ten days have forecast highs no lower than 76. And I’m heat intolerant.

Bupropion SR 150mg

Bupropion SR 150mg

Nine days ago I had a physical and my doctor was adamant that I have to quit smoking. She prescribed bupropion, which used to be sold under the brand names Wellbutrin (as an antidepressant) and Zyban (as a quit-smoking aid). I took it for 8 days. My sleep was so disrupted and unrestful that I was left exhausted all the time. Even when I was asleep, my dreams were frenetic. It felt like I was getting no delta (deep) sleep at all. I would fall asleep twice during the day, be down for 3 hours each time, and still get up unrefreshed.

In fact, increased REM sleep is listed as one of the advantages of this drug.[1] Yeah, right.

Yesterday I talked to the pharmacist, who told me this side effect is not likely to go away and is the #1 reason people stop taking this drug. I contacted both my primary care doctor’s office and my psychiatrist. They both told me to stop taking it. Hallelujah! But now I have to wait for it to clear my system enough for me to function (likely to take 4-7 days, though possibly less because I took it for such a short time).

I had BIG PLANS for this past week. My roommate moved out on Saturday, and I was all geared up to do all the housework myself again. I knew I could do it on my own – and I could have, if the damned medication hadn’t knocked me flat. I was going to eradicate the trumpet vine sprouts, then design and plant the island bed. I could have, too.

Instead, I got worse and worse as the days passed. Depression symptoms popped up and haven’t gone away yet. I tried, today. I really did. I got nowhere. I’m too groggy from rotten sleep.

Yes, I’ll be able to do what I wanted to do with the housework – but right now it is depressing that I can’t start with the clean state I had when my roommate left. I’ll get over that. As far as the garden goes – I don’t know, I don’t know. My plans have tumbled down around my ears. I’m going to have to wait for the medication-induced depression to go away. To do anything, I have to wait till I get restful sleep again.

No, that’s not true. My first step will be doing tasks in 5-minute segments. I’ll report back on my progress.

For more about the island garden, see Designing a Garden. For more about my landscape renewal and renovation, see my blog at Echo’s Gardens.

[1] eMed Expert. Bupropion (Wellbutrin). 10 August 2014.