Varenicline is utilized in conjunction with educational and counseling interventions to support individuals in their efforts to cease smoking. Belonging to a category of pharmacological agents known as smoking cessation aids, varenicline functions by obstructing the pleasurable impact of nicotine derived from smoking on the brain.
Uses and Dosage
Varenicline is administered orally in tablet form. Typically, it is initially taken once a day and then increased to twice a day, in the morning and evening. Consume varenicline with a full glass of water (8 ounces [240 mL]) after eating and at consistent times each day. Ensure that you strictly follow the prescribed dosage regimen without exceeding or reducing the amount or frequency of administration, as directed by your doctor.
To initiate treatment, your doctor will likely commence with a low varenicline dose and gradually escalate it during the first week.
There are three approaches to taking varenicline to aid in smoking cessation:
- Select a quit date to cease smoking and commence varenicline one week prior to that chosen date. During the initial week of varenicline treatment, you may continue smoking; however, make a concerted effort to quit on the specified quit date.
- Begin varenicline treatment and quit smoking between 8 and 35 days after starting the medication.
- If sudden smoking cessation is impractical or undesirable, start varenicline treatment and gradually reduce smoking over a 12-week period. During weeks 1-4, aim to smoke only half the usual number of cigarettes per day. During weeks 5-8, reduce it further to one quarter of the starting daily quantity. From weeks 9-12, continue decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked each day until complete cessation is achieved. Strive to quit entirely within 12 weeks or earlier, if you feel prepared.
The full benefits of varenicline may take several weeks to manifest. It is possible to experience temporary lapses and smoke during the treatment period. In such instances, it may still be feasible to successfully quit smoking. Continue taking varenicline and endeavor to abstain from smoking.
Typically, varenicline is prescribed for a duration of 12 weeks. If you have successfully quit smoking at the end of this period, your doctor may advise continuing varenicline treatment for an additional 12 weeks to help prevent relapse.
If smoking cessation has not been achieved after 12 weeks, consult your doctor. They can assist in evaluating the reasons behind the inability to quit smoking and devise alternative plans for future cessation attempts.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- abdominal pain
- bad taste in the mouth
- dry mouth
- increased or decreased appetite
- trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- unusual dreams or nightmares
- lack of energy
- back, joint, or muscle pain
- abnormal menstrual cycles
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, gums, eyes, neck, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- swollen, red, peeling, or blistering skin
- blisters in the mouth
- pain, squeezing, or pressure in the chest
- pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- shortness of breath
- nausea, vomiting, or lightheadedness with chest pain
- slow or difficult speech
- sudden weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- calf pain while walking
Prior to initiating varenicline treatment, inform your doctor or pharmacist about any known allergies, including allergies to varenicline itself, as well as any other allergies you may have. This product may contain inactive ingredients that could potentially trigger allergic reactions or other adverse effects.
Before using this medication, provide your doctor or pharmacist with your comprehensive medical history, particularly if you have kidney disease, mental/mood disorders, heart/blood vessel disease, or a seizure disorder.
This medication may induce dizziness, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or difficulty concentrating. Consuming alcohol or using marijuana can exacerbate these effects. Refrain from driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any activity requiring alertness until you can safely do so.
Furthermore, this medication may increase sensitivity to alcohol, resulting in heightened intoxication, unusual behavior, or impaired memory recall. Moderate your alcohol consumption and remain mindful of how alcohol affects you while taking this medication.
During pregnancy, varenicline should only be used if absolutely necessary. Discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
The passage of this medication into breast milk is currently unknown. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding while using varenicline.
Form and Strength
Chantix Starting Pack is available in the following forms and strengths:
Chantix Starting Pack tablet:
Does Chantix cause withdrawal symptoms?
It shouldn’t. Because Chantix doesn’t contain nicotine, you should not experience withdrawal symptoms when you finish it like you would if you stopped smoking “cold turkey.”
What happens if you smoke a cigarette while on Chantix?
If a person smokes while taking Chantix, they do not get the normal nicotine boost and smoking actually becomes bland.