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Chantix (Varenicline) Dosage and Side Effects
Chantix (Varenicline) is a prescription drug that is given to patients to help them quit smoking. This medication does not contain nicotine it works by blocking certain receptors in the brain to prevent the nicotine from binding to them. This process will help eliminate your desire to smoke and reduce withdrawal symptoms with stopping smoking.
The active medicinal ingredient in Chantix is Varenicline tartrate and is available in 0.5mg tablets which are white color and 1mg tablets that are blue color. Chantix is manufactured by Pfizer and also know as Champix in Canada. This medication is available as a starter pack which has both the Chantix 0.5mg and 1mg tablets and a continuation pack of either 0.5mg or 1mg tablets.
Chantix (Varenicline) is prescribed to patients in the following dosages: Chantix (Varenicline) 0.5 mg and Chantix (Varenicline) 1 mg tablets. If you are not ready to quit smoking, do not take Chantix (Varenicline). Once you’ve determined that you are ready to stop smoking, follow the direction of physician and pharmacist on how to take Chantix (Varenicline). In most cases, your doctor will increase your dose over time. Unless directed by your doctor, do not take more than 2mg of Chantix (Varenicline) in a day. Chantix (Varenicline) is often taking for at least 12 weeks. And in some cases, you may need to take Chantix (Varenicline) again to be successful.
Chantix Side Effects
The common side effects of taking Chantix (Varenicline) include: Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Constipation, diarrhea, indigestion or gas
- Changes in appetite and altered taste buds
- Problems breathing
- Sleepiness, sleeping disorders and difficulty sleeping
- Vivid and unusual dreams
Serious side effects of taking Chantix (Varenicline) include:
- Mood changes, including depression
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of killing others
- Swelling of the face, lips, throat, mouth and tongue
- Skin sensitivity and life-threatening skin reactions
- Stroke, chest pain, heart attack and irregular heartbeat
- Sudden kidney failure or kidney stones
- Blood disorders
Warnings and Precautions
Take precaution while taking Chantix (Varenicline), as the FDA has issued a black box warning that this medication has been associated with an increased risk of serious mental health problems, like suicidal thinking.
Chantix (Varenicline) may cause patients taking this medication to have quick mood changes and become hostile, depressed and hostile.
If you have existing mood problems, such as depression or have been suicidal in the past, you may see an increase in the associated symptoms with taking Chantix (Varenicline).
Chantix (Varenicline) has the following warning and precautions:
- Avoid drinking alcohol, as it increases the intoxicating effects
- Do not take if you are under the age of 18 years
- Do not take Chantix (Varenicline) if you are allergic to it or its other ingredients
- Chantix (Varenicline) increases the risk of heart conditions
If you have the following conditions, speak to your physician about the risks and benefits associated with taking it:
- Heart disease
- Regularly use alcohol
- Mood problems or history of mood problems
- Kidney problems
Chantix (Varenicline) may cause unusual or vivid dreams. In some cases, taking Chantix (Varenicline) may cause patients to not know if they are hallucinating or dreaming. Tell your doctor, if your dreams become severe while taking Chantix (Varenicline).
Chantix (Varenicline) may have an effect on the health of an unborn child.
It is unknown if it is safe to breastfeed while taking Chantix (Varenicline).
Talk to your physician about the risks associated with taking Chantix (Varenicline) while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Interactions with this medication
As with all prescriptions drugs, tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to avoid interactions. In the case of Chantix (Varenicline), there is not a long list of drugs to avoid.
The following anti-smoking medications should be avoided:
- Zyban or Aplenzin (bupropion)
- Catapres (clonidine)
To help your doctor and pharmacist to identify possible interactions with Chantix (Varenicline), make a list of all of the prescription, nonprescription, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take and provide them with the list. A list of these medications will help you to avoid interactions.
A known interaction with Chantix (Varenicline) is alcohol. Avoid consuming alcohol while you are taking Chantix (Varenicline). Alcohol is may lower your tolerance for alcohol. If you continue to consume alcohol while taking this prescription medication, have less alcohol to see how you respond with the Chantix (Varenicline). The FDA has also reported that some people who consume alcohol while taking Chantix (Varenicline) may exhibit unusual acts of aggressiveness and experience blackouts.
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.