Chantix (Varenicline)

(℞) Prescription Required - Chantix is also marketed as Champix

    Chantix (Varenicline) Dosage and Side Effects

    CHANTIX  is used to help people quit smoking. CHANTIX blocks certain receptors in the brain so that nicotine cannot bind to them and trigger your desire to smoke.

    Warnings and Precautions

    The FDA requires a black-box warning for CHANTIX because the drug increases the risk of serious mental health problems, such as suicidal thoughts.

    In addition, some people taking CHANTIX find their moods changing and they become depressed, irritable, and hostile.

    People who already have mood problems, including depression, or who might have attempted suicide in the past may notice these symptoms worsening while taking CHANTIX

    The prescribing information now includes several precautions. For instance, there is a caution to avoid drinking alcohol, since its intoxicating effects may increase.

    Additionally, seizures have occurred in people who take CHANTIX.

    People who are allergic to CHANTIX or any other ingredient found in the medication, or who are under the age of 18, shouldn't take CHANTIX.

    In 2012, the FDA released an update warning that CHANTIX increases the risk of heart conditions.

    Ask your doctor about whether the benefits of CHANTIX outweigh its risks if you have:

    •Kidney problems

    •Seizures, either now or in the past

    •Heart disease

    •Use alcohol on a regular basis

    •Mood problems, either now or in the past

    CHANTIX Dreams

    Many people who take CHANTIX notice their dreams have become very vivid and unusual.

    According to anecdotal reports, some people taking the drug have nightmares or dreams so vivid that it's hard for them to know if they're dreaming, hallucinating, or experiencing some sort of euphoria.  

    If these CHANTIX dreams or nightmares become severe or problematic, speak to your doctor. 

    Pregnancy and CHANTIX

    CHANTIX may affect the health of an unborn child.

    It's not known if CHANTIX is safe to take while breastfeeding.

    To be safe, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of the drug and smoking if you're pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or are breastfeeding.

    Side Effects

    Common side effects of CHANTIX

    •Nausea and vomiting

    •Stomach pain

    •Constipation or diarrhea, gas, and indigestion

    •Dry mouth

    •Altered taste buds and changes in appetite

    •Vivid and unusual dreams

    •Sleepiness, trouble sleeping, and other sleep disorders

    •Problems breathing

    •Rash

    Serious Side Effects of CHANTIX

    •Changes in mood, including depression

    •Thoughts of killing yourself or others

    •Swelling of the face, mouth, lips, throat, and tongue

    •Skin sensitivity and life-threatening skin reactions

    •Stroke, heart attack, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat

    •Fainting

    •Sudden kidney failure or kidney stones

    •Bleeding from your stomach or intestines

    •Blood disorders

    Interactions with this medication

    While CHANTIX doesn't seem to interact with other drugs, avoid taking it with other antismoking drugs, like Zyban or Aplenzin (bupropion) or Catapres (clonidine).

    It's always important to share with your doctor and pharmacist all of the medications you are taking.

    This includes your prescriptions medications, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, nutritional supplements (nutritional shakes, protein powders, etc.), herbal remedies, and any illegal and recreational drugs.

    CHANTIX and Alcohol

    Avoid alcohol while taking CHANTIX. The drug can lower your tolerance for alcohol.

    If you are taking CHANTIX and have an alcoholic beverage, have less of it than usual until you know how you respond.

    Additionally, the FDA has reported that some people taking CHANTIX who also drink alcohol may act in an unusually aggressive manner, and may experience “blackouts” after which they have no memory of their behavior or actions.

    Proper Use of this medication

    CHANTIX comes in 0.5 milligrams (mg) and 1 mg tablets.

    One of the most important things to know about CHANTIX is that you should be ready to quit smoking before you start taking it.

    Once you've made up your mind to quit smoking and select a quit date, take CHANTIX for a week then stop smoking.

    If you start taking CHANTIX before you've set a quit date, try to stop smoking within the next 8 to 35 days.

    Doctors tend to initially prescribe low doses of CHANTIX and gradually increase the dose over several weeks.

    The usual dose is 0.5 mg once a day for three days, then 0.5 mg twice a day for four days.

    After the first 7 days, the dose is 1 mg twice per day, the so-called maintenance dose.

    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you shouldn't take more than 2 mg of CHANTIX a day.

    Be prepared to take CHANTIX for at least 12 weeks. After that period, see your doctor to talk about the next steps.

    You may be successful or you may need another 12-week course of CHANTIX.

    Other related products

    The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.