New Stop Smoking Drug: Chantix

Varenicline, or the brand name Chantix, is a fairly new stop smoking drug specifically designed to help people quit smoking.This is one of two FDA approved stop smoking pills that do not contain nicotine. It works by blocking the receptors in the brain that nicotine attaches to. Therefore, you do not get the same "pleasure" out of smoking, thus reducing your craving for nicotine. Clinical trials have shown some positive results for Varenicline as a quit new stop smoking drug however, recently some safety concerns have been raised.

Varenicline has not been studied in pregnant or nursing mothers1. It is advised to quit smokingbefore becoming pregnant. Additionally, the safety of use in pediatric patients (under age 18) has not been studied1. It is not advised to use Varenicline if you are under age 18.

Patients start the stop smoking medicine up to a week before their actual quit date. Varenicline is generally started with a low dose (.5 mg) and gradually increased to 2 mg/day (1 mg, twice per day). Always follow the prescribing information from your doctor. Varenicline should be taken after eating and with a full glass of water1.

The most common side effects are nausea and difficulty sleeping with others including: gas, constipation, and vomiting. Generally these side effects are mild and will subside after a few weeks. If symptoms persist, talk with your health care provider. In some patients, mild physical dependence may occur1. Recent research has also shown an increase in suicidal and depressive thoughts in some people. Be sure to discuss with your provider if any depressive thoughts occur. Additionally, recent research suggests that Chantix is not recommended for people who opperate machinery (such as aircraft, trains, buses, etc.) - See Institute for Safe Medication Practices article.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any and all side-effects that you experience.

While this medication can be an effective quit smoking tool, it works best when used as a part of a quit smoking program. For complete prescribing information, visit reference link below. And always consult with your doctor before making any decisions about quit smoking products.

REFERENCE: 1Chantix medication Guide. Pfizer. NY, NY 10017. Accessed Dec. 16, 2007,

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