Varenecline or popularly known as Chantix is a prescription drug developed for smokers to stop smoking. It works by interfering with the nicotine receptors in the brain and so the result is that you feel less urged to smoke. The drug mimics the effect of nicotine in the body so it can also relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Taking varenecline can increase your chances of quitting and staying quit.
Most people do not experience side effects but some people have reported headaches, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, flatulence and changes in taste. Depression and mood changes have also been reported. It is only very rare that smokers have reported depressed mood and suicidal thoughts. Also, these side effects will dissolve after a few weeks treatment.
If you are taking varenecline and are experiencing any or some of the side effects, here are some ways you can deal with them:
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea is often mild and tolerable. But what you can do is to take the tablets just after a mean and with a full glass of water. This practice is said to lessen or relieve the nausea.
Sleeping problems (unusual dreams, trouble sleeping)
Sleep-related problems such as insomnia, abnormal dreams is said to be resolved if you take the medicine after your evening meal. Reading your favourite novel or listening to relaxing music can also help with sleeping problems.
A way to help with the constipation is by eating foods rich in fibre such as oatmeal, prunes, and green leafy vegetables. You can also ask your doctor for medicines that can help you with it.
Depression and change in behaviour
This side effect was observed in some people who had a previous mental health problem. Depression can often be remedied by talking to your friend or family, reading a good book or novel, or doing meditation and relaxation exercises. Doing sports or getting a new hobby (knitting, sewing) may also help you take your mind off the effects of the drug.
It is recommended that you inform your doctor of any mood changes or behavioural changes you experience and as well as any other side effects you are feeling/observing.
As with taking other drugs, some people may develop side effects when taking varenecline. but an important thing to remember is that these side effects will dissolve in a few weeks and these side effects outweigh the benefits of quitting smoking for good.
Also, as with other smoking cessation drugs or as with NRTs, the most important thing in quitting smoking is determination and persistence. Don’t give up just because you experience these side effects. Remember that nicotine withdrawal symptoms may also produce depression, headaches, inability to concentrate, etcetera. You can succeed in quitting!