Generic Name: varenicline (ver EN e kleen)
Brand Names: Chantix
What is Chantix?
Chantix (varenicline) is a smoking cessation medicine. It is used together with behavior modification and counseling support to help you stop smoking.
Chantix may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Chantix may cause changes in your thoughts or behavior. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have: any mood or behavior changes, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, extreme fear, or if you feel impulsive, agitated, aggressive, restless, hostile, depressed, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
After you stop smoking, the doses of any medications you are using may need to be adjusted. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially insulin, blood thinners, or asthma medication.
Before taking this medicine
To make sure you can safely take Chantix, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
a history of depression or mental illness;
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
heart disease, circulation problems; or
if you drink alcohol.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Chantix will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
It is not known whether varenicline passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Chantix is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take Chantix?
Take Chantix exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may choose from 2 ways to use Chantix. Ask your doctor which of the following methods is best for you:
Set a date to quit smoking and start taking Chantix one week before that date. This will allow the drug to build up in your body. Make sure to quit smoking on your planned quit date.
You may also start taking this medicine before you set a planned quit date. Once you start taking the medicine, choose a quit date that is between 8 and 35 days after you start treatment.
To improve your chances for successful smoking cessation, be sure to quit smoking on your planned quit date.
Take Chantix after eating. Take the medicine with a full glass of water.
When you first start taking Chantix, you will take a low dose and then gradually increase your dose over the first several days of treatment. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
In most cases, treatment lasts for 12 weeks. Your doctor may recommend a second 12-week course to improve the chance that you will quit smoking long-term.
Use Chantix regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. You should remain under the care of a doctor while taking this medicine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Chantix dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Smoking Cessation:
Days 1 to 3: 0.5 mg orally once a day
Days 4 to 7: 0.5 mg orally twice a day
Days 8 to end of treatment: 1 mg orally twice a day
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Chantix?
Do not drink large amounts alcohol while taking Chantix. This medicine can increase the effects of alcohol.
Do not use other medicines to quit smoking while you are taking Chantix, unless your doctor tells you to. Using varenicline while wearing a nicotine patch can cause unpleasant side effects such as headache, dizziness, upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. You may also have mood or behavior changes when you quit smoking. Until you know how Chantix and the smoking cessation process are going to affect you, be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be cautious and alert.
Chantix side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Chantix: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Chantix may cause changes in your thoughts or behavior. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have any mood or behavior changes, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, extreme fear, or if you feel impulsive, agitated, aggressive, restless, hostile, depressed, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or behavior.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
shortness of breath;
sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, leg pain when you walk;
chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, vomiting, sweating;
the first sign of any blistering type of skin rash, no matter how mild; or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common Chantix side effects may include:
nausea (may persist for several months), vomiting;
sleep problems (insomnia); or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Chantix?
After you stop smoking, the doses of any medications you are using may need to be adjusted. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:
a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); or
asthma medicine (theophylline and others).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with varenicline, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Chantix (varenicline)
- Chantix (Advanced Reading)
- Chantix Start Month Pak (Advanced Reading)
- Chantix Starter Pack (Advanced Reading)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Chantix.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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