19 Reasons Why Chantix is More Effective Than Zyban for Smoking Cessation

by Dr. Antonio Howell, MD

in Blog

Dr. Howell

So, what are the advantages of Chantix over Zyban? Here are 19 reasons that explain why Chantix is better than Zyban:

1. Chantix is Highly Selective for Nicotine Receptors

Chantix is a medication that is known to partially block a certain subtype of the nicotine acetylcholine receptor known by the name alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is a type of protein receptor in the brain that induces feelings of pleasure. Chantix generates chemicals that create a sensation of pleasure like the sensation created by smoking. However, it selectively binds to the receptor and is able to block off the receptor. As a result, when you take Chantix while smoking, you do not experience these pleasurable sensations, which make you abhor smoking even more.

2. Chantix Reduces Craving

In a study by West et al, Chantix was proven more effective than Zyban in reducing craving for smoke. The fact that Chantix reduced craving in smokers who did not completely abstain from smoking suggests that it may be of benefit in helping smokers reduce consumption before quitting. 1

3. Chantix Reduces Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Because of a high attraction to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Chantix mimics the effect of nicotine and diminishes craving and withdrawal symptoms. While doing this, it also blocks nicotine from binding and reduces the rewarding the effect of cigarettes.

It is said that the most difficult time for a smoker who is trying to quit is the first few weeks after quitting. He or she has to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as headache, anxiety, nausea and a craving for more tobacco. By blocking nicotine from binding to its receptors, Chantix reduces and eliminates the need for a certain level of nicotine at all times.


4. Chantix is Effective

Five studies have measured the efficacy of Chantix versus Zyban or placebo. In these studies about 20% of patients who take Chantix did not smoke for one year after treatment compared with about 10% of patients who took placebo and 14.6 % of patients who took Zyban. These studies reflect that Chantix was effective in stopping smokers from smoking compared to Zyban. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

5. Chantix is Safe

According to an article by Love et al, which appeared on the 2007 issue of the American Family Physician, there were studies that involved more that 4,500 patients noting the safety of Chantix. In these studies, there were no reports of misuse or abuse and there were not serious safety issues. There were no reported drug interactions, although the dose has to be reduced in those with impaired kidney function. 7

6. Chantix is Tolerable

It is said that Chantix has no serious side effects. The most common side effect encountered with studies is nausea. Nausea occurs in about 30% of patients who are already taking the maintenance dose. Other side effects were found to appear in only slightly more than 10% of patients and include headache, difficulty in sleeping, abnormal dreams, and flatulence. Chantix is deemed tolerable as compared to placebo because discontinuation due to side effects was seen in only 12% of the patient population.

7. Chantix Leads to Easy Dosage Titration

Chantix is easy to take, at a dosage of twice daily after a meal. Initially, doctors can start with 0.5 mg once daily for one week before the quit date, which may later on be increased to 0.5 mg twice daily after 3 days. During the second week, the dose may then be increased to 1 mg twice daily for 12 weeks. This is an easier and more effective regimen compared to Zyban dosage titration. This makes compliance easier for the patient.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS TOPIC SIGN-UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES (click here)

8. Chantix Helps People Quit Alcohol


Chantix also helps heavy drinks quit alcohol along with smoking! Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it? The basic mechanism of Chantix is that it binds to the receptors of the brain’s pleasure centers. Alcohol also acts on the same pleasure zones of the brain. It was hypothesized that Chantix could do the same with alcohol and would make people stop taking too much alcohol. A study done in rats revealed that Chantix affected the way rats drank alcohol. Chantix led to less alcohol consumption in rats and even when they stopped taking Chantix, the rats resumed drinking but did not resort to binges.

Chantix works by latching onto the same receptors in the brain that nicotine binds to when inhaled in cigarette smoke, an action that leads to the release of dopamine in the brain’s pleasure centers.

9. Chantix Benefits Patients with COPD

We know that smoking is a risk factor for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. This is a condition wherein there is a long-lasting obstruction of the airways that occurs with other lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

One clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of Chantix in patients with mild to moderate COPD. This trial found out that Chantix was effective in making COPD patients quit smoking. There were no adverse events noted. This trial hypothesized that Chantix can help those COPD stop smoking and thus leads to a better quality of life in these patients, since smoking is the number one risk factor in developing COPD and its resultant complications. 8

10. Chantix Benefits Patients with Heart Disease

Smoking is also one risk factor for heart disease and increases the death rates related to this condition. In one European study by Wilson et al, Chantix was shown to be effective in making patients with heart disease cease smoking. If this always the case, then there would be greater risk reductions in deaths from heart disease. The risk for heart disease events while using Chantix is small as compared to its benefits. One should always consult the doctor when one has heart problems and other medical conditions. 9

11. Chantix Improves Blood Vessel Problems

It is said that smoking contributes to blood vessel problems because it leads to arterial stiffness, thus causing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attacks, and other dangerous consequences. One study found out that Chantix significantly decreased central blood pressure, and pressure in the blood vessels. This has led the researchers to think that Chantix can help improve arterial stiffness and decrease blood pressure. 10

12. Chantix Benefits Smokers with Schizophrenia

Smoking rates are higher in patients with schizophrenia, a form of mental disorder, and other psychiatric problems. This can create many health problems for them. It is said that Chantix can help in reducing cognitive problems in people with schizophrenia. One trial studies 120 people with schizophrenia who were given antipsychotic medications and Chantix. Their findings suggest that Chantix with antipsychotics are beneficial in reducing cognitive problems in patients with schizophrenia. 11

Another study combined cognitive behavioral therapy with Chantix in making people with schizophrenia stop smoking. Their findings revealed that the patients who exhibit less flat affects are more likely to succeed in abstaining from smoking. 12

13. Chantix is Safe to Use in HIV Infected Smokers


Do you know that Chantix can be used in HIV patients who smoke? It is said that a person who has a depressed immune system who smokes is more prone to other infections and other life-threatening medical conditions.

One clinical trial studied the effect of Chantix on HIV patients who smoke. The study found out that Chantix appears safe and effective in this group of people. These patients should have regular blood chemistry testing every now and then to ensure that there will be no changes in liver and kidney function. 13

14. Chantix Helps Treat Substance Abuse in Smokers

People who use illegal drugs are also heavy smokers. There was one study done by Plebani, et al that studied the effects of Chantix on concomitant cocaine use and smoking. This study found out that Chantix decreases cocaine use and reward along with smoking. Who knows, Chantix may be the next substance-abuse tool! 14

15. Chantix Has Some Benefit in Movement Disorders

It is not only in smoking cessation that Chantix shows promise. It also shows promise in movement disorders. One study evaluated the effect of Chantix on ataxia and imbalance. It studied Chantix use in two people with spinocerebellar ataxia, a disorder in movement. These two patients experienced marked improvement in their symptoms after taking Chantix. 15

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS TOPIC SIGN-UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES (click here)

16. Chantix Improves Mood during Smoking Withdrawal

Smoking withdrawal often affects a person’s mood because of the low levels of nicotine to stimulate the nicotine receptors in the brain. A study by Patterson et al showed that Chantix reduced withdrawal symptoms, smoking urges and negative affect during smoking abstinence. There was also improvement in memory, facial expression, and attention to details. 16

17. Chantix Offers No risk of Convulsive Fits

The nice thing about Chantix is that there were very few to none reports of epileptic fits and seizures during use. On the other hand, Zyban has a huge potential to cause seizures so that intake with other medications that can predispose to seizures should not be given.

18. Chantix Can Be Used as Combination Therapy

Previously there was no study or guideline recommending the use of Zyban with other medicines or quit smoking aids. However, with the discovery of Chantix, there are now many trials advocating the use of Chantix with Zyban and other anti-smoking aids. These studies even progressed long term and efficacy was increased, with minimal side effects. 17, 18

19. Chantix is Cost Effective

It is said that a one-month supply of Chantix will only cost approximately $120 for the maintenance dose. This is less than the cost of Zyban (Wellbutrin) SR ($150). Patients who smoke one pack per day will spend an average of $130 per month on cigarettes.
One study utilizing Finnish smokers commented that Chantix resulted in cost savings of 15 million and 43 million Euros (€) compared with Zyban and smoking cessation without medications, respectively. Chantix was more effective and cost effective than its competitors. 19
Don’t forget to subscribe by email here and never miss an update.
Email me any time with comments, questions, or suggestions at: drantoniohowell [at] drantoniohowell.com.

References:

1. West R, Baker CL, Cappelleri JC, Bushmakin AG. Effect of Chantix and Zyban SR on craving, nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and rewarding effects of smoking during a quit attempt.. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Apr;197(3):371-7.

2. Oncken C, Gonzales D, Nides M, Rennard S, Watsky E, Billing CB, et al. Efficacy and safety of the novel selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, Chantix, for smoking cessation. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1571–7.
3. Tonstad S, Tonnesen P, Hajek P, Williams KE, Billing CB, Reeves KR, for the Chantix Phase 3 Study Group. Effect of maintenance therapy with Chantix on smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2006;296:64–71.
4. Gonzales D, Rennard SI, Nides M, Oncken C, Azoulay S, Billing CB, et al., for the Chantix Phase 3 Study Group. Chantix, an alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, vs. sustained-release Zyban and placebo for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2006;296:47–55.
5. Jorenby DE, Hays JT, Rigotti NA, Azoulay SA, Watsky EJ, Williams KE, et al., for the Chantix Phase 3 Study Group. Efficacy of Chantix, an alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, vs. placebo or sustained-release Zyban for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial [Published correction appears in JAMA 2006;296:1355]. JAMA. 2006;296:56–63.
6. Nides M, Oncken C, Gonzales D, Rennard S, Watsky EJ, Anziano R, et al. Smoking cessation with Chantix, a selective alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor partial agonist: results from a 7-week, randomized, placebo- and Zyban-controlled trial with 1-year follow-up. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1561–8.
7. Love B, Merz T. Chantix (Chantix) for Smoking Cessation. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Jul 15;76(2):279-280.
8. Tashkin DP, Rennard S, Hays JT, Ma W, Lawrence D, Lee TC. Effects of Chantix on smoking cessation in patients with mild to moderate COPD: a randomized controlled trial. Chest. 2011 Mar; 139(3):591-9.
9. Wilson K, Hettle R, Marbaix S, Cerezo SD, Ines M, Santoni L, Annemans L, Prignot J, Lopez de Sa E. An economic evaluation based on a randomized placebo-controlled trial of Chantix in smokers with cardiovascular disease: results for Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2011 Aug 12.
10. Takami T, Saito Y. Effects of smoking cessation on central blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2011;7:633-8.
11. Shim JC, Jung DU, Jung SS, Seo YS, Cho DM, Lee JH, Lee SW, Kong BG, Kang JW, Oh MK, Kim SD, McMahon RP, Kelly DL. Adjunctive Chantix Treatment with Antipsychotic Medications for Cognitive Impairments in People with Schizophrenia: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Nov 2.
12. Dutra SJ, Stoeckel LE, Carlini SV, Pizzagalli DA, Evins AE. Chantix as a smoking cessation aid in schizophrenia: effects on smoking behavior and reward sensitivity. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Jan;219(1):25-34.
13. Cui Q, Robinson L, Elston D, Smaill F, Cohen J, Quan C, McFarland N, Thabane L, McIvor A, Zeidler J, Smieja M. Safety and Tolerability of Chantix Tartrate (Champix(®)/Chantix(®)) for Smoking Cessation in HIV-Infected Subjects: A Pilot Open-Label Study. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2012 Jan;26(1):12-9.
14. Plebani JG, Lynch KG, Yu Q, Pettinati HM, O’Brien CP, Kampman KM. Results of an initial clinical trial of Chantix for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Sep 16.
15. Zesiewicz TA, Sullivan KL. Treatment of ataxia and imbalance with Chantix (chantix): report of 2 patients with spinocerebellar ataxia (types 3 and 14). Clin Neuropharmacol. 2008 Nov-Dec;31(6):363-5.
16. Patterson F, Jepson C, Strasser AA, Loughead J, Perkins KA, Gur RC, Frey JM, Siegel S, Lerman C. Chantix improves mood and cognition during smoking abstinence. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Jan 15;65(2):144-9.
17. Ebbert JO, Hays JT, Hurt RD. Combination pharmacotherapy for stopping smoking: What advantages does it offer? Drugs. 2010;70(6):643–650.

18. Ebbert JO, Croghan IT, Sood A, Schroeder DR, Hays JT, Hurt RD. Chantix and Zyban sustained-release combination therapy for smoking cessation. Nicotine Tob Res. 2009;11(3):234–239.

19. Lindena K, Jormanainenb V, Linnac M, Sintonend H, Wilsone K, et al. Cost effectiveness of Chantix versus Zyban and unaided cessation for smoking cessation in a cohort of Finnish adult smokers. Current Medical research and Opinion. March 2010 : 26, 3: 549-560


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 samantha dearnaley March 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

Chantix, can trigger nocturnal epilepsy, look it up. If you have a mutation
in one of the genes that chantix targets, it can trigger this kind of epilepsy when you stop taking the drug. It dose not happen until you withdraw from taking the drug.

2 Samantha Dearnaley June 11, 2012 at 7:06 am

I dont know where you are getting your info from but you are reading it wrong or something. I am in touch with Dr Barkley Philips the medical director for Pfizer themselfs, and what i have told you is fact not theory. Look up varenicline nocturnal epilepsy, at the human gene home, it tells you it can trigger it in some people. The test to ditermin this were only done march 2012. The drug does stop you smoking when your on it, but it is the coming off the tablet suddenly after twevle weeks. Pfizer are looking into it to see if people should be weened off the tablet, instead. This may stop some of the problems from happening. This is a completly new drug, and it needs a lot more testing yet before they can be sure of every side effect. If you know anything about epilepsy sir, you would know that it can also be mistaken, for some forms of mental illness. And also blocking dopamine receptors in the brain can actually, trigger mental illness and depression not help it. Nicotine can help people with mental illness and depression, the problem is the other chemicals in the cigs, that cause lung cancer through smoking, having nicotine on its own, should be safe unless you have to much. Like the saying go,s to much of anything is bad for you. The fact is champix is a drug that effects the brain, by blocking receptors, if you block receptors in a human brain, and that person has a genetic mutaion, in the area of the brain what the drug targets, it can trigger certain illnesses. Look up a book called drug induced diseases, varenicline is in there. Iam not saying that it is just champix can do this all drugs that target receptors could cause problems for some people. What iam saying is that people should be given all the facts about these sort of drugs before we are given them. Once brain cells have been killed off you dont get new ones. If people are going to be used as lab rats, we should be told every possable outcome, no matter how rare the occurance. So that we can deicide our own risk benifit.

3 Dr. Antonio Howell, MD June 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm

We must agree to disagree
There comes a time with most arguments that nothing is gained by continuing the discussion. Each side just digs in deeper in their conviction that they are right and the other side is wrong. Only time will tell who is right. Here are my views posted on this blog if anyone wants to read it: http://drantoniohowell.com/blog/what-is-the-big-problem-with-chantix/

4 http://Codesets.com/UserProfile/tabid/490/userId/80721/Default.aspx August 12, 2014 at 3:05 am

It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you shared
this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.
Thank you for sharing.

Previous post:

Next post:

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list