January 31st, 2011 by Helen Scholz
The FDA made Chantix available (generic: varenicline) in the United States in 2006 as a medicine for smoking cessation. Chantix blocks nicotine by hitting the brain’s nicotine receptors. About a year of being on the market, reports emerged about patients showing strange and dangerous behavior while using Chantix; the FDA received these reports of adverse events and issued information on the risks. In 2009, the FDA announced that a Warning regarding such side effects would be put on the Chantix label.
A study from the ISMP found a link between some prescription medicines–including Chantix–and violent actions. The study revealed that Chantix is a huge 18 times likelier to be associated with “violence and aggression” than other drugs.
Varenicline (marketed as Chantix)
What Is Chantix?
Chantix is a prescription medicine to help adults stop smoking.
Chantix has not been studied in children under 18 years of age. Chantix is not recommended for children under 18 years of age.
Who Should Not Take Chantix?
Do not take Chantix if you are allergic to anything in it.
What Are The Side Effects?
The following are common side effects of Chantix therapy. However, this list is not complete.
* changes in dreaming
Tell your healthcare professional about side effects that bother you or that do not go away.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?
Before you start taking Chantix, tell your healthcare professional if you:
* have or had kidney problems, or get kidney dialysis
* are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant, or are breast-feeding
Can Other Medicines Or Food Affect Chantix?
Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your healthcare professional if you take:
* asthma medicines
* blood thinners
When you stop smoking, there may be a change in how these and other medicines work for you. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them with you to show your healthcare professional.
How Should I Take Chantix?
* Choose a quit date when you will stop smoking.
* Start taking Chantix 1 week (7 days) before your quit date. This lets Chantix build up in your body. You can keep smoking during this time. Make sure that you try and stop smoking on your quit date. If you slip, try again. Some people need a few weeks for Chantix to work best.
* Take Chantix after eating and with a full (8 ounces) glass of water.
* Most people will keep taking Chantix for up to 12 weeks. If you have completely quit smoking by 12 weeks, ask your doctor if another 12 weeks of Chantix may help you stay cigarette-free.
* Chantix comes as a white tablet (0.5 mg) and a blue tablet (1 mg). You start with the white tablet and then usually go to the blue tablet. Follow the dosing schedule prescribed by your healthcare professional.