10 Facts about Chantix

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in chantix

Dr. Howell

Varenicline tartrate, commonly known as Chantix is a medication that is developed to help people quit smoking. Unlike other smoking cessation treatments, Chantix works differently. There have been many rumours about this drug – some good, some bad.  It’s time that you learn the real facts about this seemingly controversial medication.

 1. Chantix is a prescription medication.

This smoking cessation drug is not dispensed without obtaining prescription from a doctor. Before the smoker is permitted to take the medication, the doctor initially makes an assessment, taking into consideration the medical history and present medical conditions of the patient.

2.  Chantix works into levels.

First, it blocks the nicotine receptors in the brain. This reduces the “pleasure” felt by a person as he smokes and at the same time, alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. Second, it neutralizes the effects of nicotine in the smoker’s body.

3. Chantix doesn’t make smokers nicotine dependent while undergoing therapy.

Unlike the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), Chantix doesn’t use nicotine in order to relieve the withdrawal pangs associated with smoking cessation. The drug activates a set of nicotine receptors called alpha4beta2 which has a lower to moderate nicotine-like effect.

4. Chantix is scientifically proven to work.

Despite the claims that varenicline is not safe, there is strong scientific evidence that proves its ability to help smokers quit the habit. As of the moment, there were 6 clinical studies that were carried out, involving 3659 heavy smokers. It was revealed that the drug is more effective than placebo smoking cessation treatments. In two of these studies, 22% of smokers successfully quit, which led to the conclusion that Chantix is better than Zyban.

5.  It has long-term effects

Studies show that people who quit smoking during Chantix are able to abstain from smoking for as long as one year, as compared to placebo treatments.

6. There is poor evidence supporting the claims on severe side effects

It is widely believed that Chantix can cause agility, depression, and other mental and behavioural disorders. However, clinical trials show that Chantix is no higher than the nicotine replacement therapy when it comes to psychological side effects.

7.  It comes with side effects too


Just like other smoking cessation medications, Chantix isn’t a magic bullet. It does have downsides too. Possible side effects include nausea, constipation, and changes in mood.

8.  Chantix is only for smoking adults.


This drug is strictly prescribed to smoking adults only. According to the manufacturer, Chantix can be taken by smokers 18 and above. Thus, teenage smokers who are looking to quit for good should look for more appropriate treatments.

9.  Not for pregnant women

Chantix is not recommended to pregnant or lactating women. It is also not prescribed to those who have kidney problems and some other medical conditions unless otherwise allowed by the doctor.

10. Treatment is for 12 weeks.

Smokers don’t need to be dependent on Chantix for the rest of their life. According to experts, long-term benefits of Chantix can be achieved after 12 weeks of continued use. However, there is no hundred percent guarantee that the smoker will never light up again.



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