Chantix (or Varenicline) is available by prescription only and was approved by the
FDA in 2006 with tremendous excitement as it showed dramatic success over the
previous quit smoking pills or aids. However, safety concerns have tempered that
early enthusiasm. Chantix works by out-competing nicotine for receptors cells in the
brain. Once these cells are bound to the Chantix, the nicotine finds itself all dressed
up but with no where to go. It also decreases the pleasure associated with nicotine,
so it basically breaks the hallmark conditioning associated with nicotine addiction.
Chantix boasts a three-fold quit rate over quitting cold turkey, between 15 - 21%
This drug should be taken after eating with a full glass of water. It has been shown
to be superior to Zyban® (another one of the quit smoking pills) in helping people
stop smoking. After one week of use, the person should try to stop smoking. It is
recommended they continue taking this medication for another 12 weeks. If they
stopped smoking, then they may continue for another 12 weeks. But if they have not
stopped, then it's time to visit the doctor to receive some follow up counsel.
Chantix Side Effects
Common side effects include nausea and bazaar dreams. It has been reported
that some people taking this have developed suicidal thoughts while others have
displayed erratic behavior. It is not known whether the medication itself causes this
change in behavior or whether it is merely an affect associated with nicotine
withdrawal; further study is needed. Nevertheless, the FDA was prompted to place a
"Black Box" warning on the label to inform the public of the possible dangers
associated with the medication. If these occur, it is recommended the person stop
taking it immediately and contact their doctor. As with any medication, it is important
to discuss any possible side effects with your physician or other health care
Chantix should not be used in combination with any kind of nicotine replacement
therapy as it blocks the uptake of nicotine in the brain.
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