Smoking Cessation Aids: Chantix

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Varenicline tartrate or “Chantix” is a prescription medicine developed by Pfizer, Inc. to help smokers quit. It activates the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in your brain. As a result, you feel a nicotine-like effect, which makes it easier to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Also, it has the unique ability to offset the effects of nicotine in case you smoke while using it.

A hand crushing cigarettesGetting a Closer Look

The Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine influences many of your bodily functions, like heart rate, breathing, memory and learning. It also influences your other neurotransmitters that affects your mood and appetite. Nicotine attaches to your nerve cell receptors where Acetylcholine would normally binds, and creates similar effects.


What Chantix Does…

Chantix partially activates a particular type of nicotinic receptor. The effect is similar to having a low dose of nicotine. As a result, Chantix helps lessen the withdrawal symptoms.

Dopamine

Smoking activates your body’s reward system. The same system that is activated when a person uses cocaine or amphetamine, only at lesser degree. Studies have shown that smoking increases the smoker’s dopamine level. So that when the nicotine level in your body starts to wear off, you feel the withdrawal symptoms. To avoid it, smokers would light cigarettes as soon as the symptoms kick in.


What Chantix Does…

Once in place, Chantix prevents nicotine from triggering the nicotinic receptors, which prevents dopamine from stimulating the brain. This means, even if you smoke while using the product you don’t get that “feel good” sensation. Smoking while using chantix is dull and unfulfilling. Making it easier for you to give up smoking.

What clinical trials say…

In a study, Chantix shows a 22% success rate. Though the number may not be that great, but considering the number of people dying because of smoking and nicotine addiction. This may be a good result. Around the world, 4 million smokers die each year or one smoker dies every eight seconds. 22% success rate is not bad after all.

But is it safe?


Since its introduction to the market, there are a number of serious health concerns about the use of Chantix. So it is important that you discuss it first with your doctor if you’re planning to use the product. Another important thing you need to remember when using this smoking cessation aid is to strictly follow the instruction.

Quitting smoking has never been as easy as these days. You can find several smoking cessation aids to help you deal better with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Smoking kills – it’s plain and simple. Products like Chantix, nicotine patches, gums, and sprays gives smokers hope to free themselves from the bond of nicotine addiction.

However, don’t forget that the success of your quit still depends on some other aspects, such as your will and determination to quit smoking for good, your support group, etc. Smoking cessation aids are just but one aspect, you still need to have the right mind set and attitude to be more successful in your quit.


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