Varenicline or Chantix is a smoking cessation drug that is prescribed to individuals whore 18 years and over. Besides oral pills, you may incorporate counseling and quit-smoking programs to ensure your gradually quit smoking. Pfizer, the company that manufacturers Chantix, acknowledges that sometimes you may slip up while on Chantix. In such cases, you should maintain the standard dose while making a greater effort to discard the vice.
It is incredibly important to know how nicotine affects you in order to understand how Chantix can curb your smoking addiction.
When you smoke, Nicotine gets absorbed into the bloodstream. It travels to the brain where it latches onto the nicotine receptors, causing the release of dopamine. The dopamine (a chemical that makes you feel good) creates the psychotropic effect cigarette addicts seek.
Unfortunately, dopamine effects are short-lived, and when the levels drop, you feel the urge to have another cigarette. Even though tar and other carcinogenic compounds cause the greatest health risk, nicotine is the compound that causes cigarette addiction.
Chantix works by latching onto the nicotine-binding receptors in place of nicotine. As a result, dopamine is released, but in low quantities. Pfizer research indicates that when dopamine is released in small quantities, you can curb the cigarette craving.
Most nicotine replacement therapies (NTRs) such as nasal sprays, patches, gum, inhalers, and lozenges, use nicotine to curb smoking. The NTRs simply swap one addictive substance for another without dealing with the nicotine addiction. However, Chantix offers a nicotine-free alternative that is more efficient in reducing the urge to smoke. Ensure you ask your physician about the differences between NTRs and Chantix so that you could make an informed decision on the best option to help you fight your addiction.
Even though deciding to quit is a significant first step, you should understand that everyone has his/her ways of quitting smoking. The decision of whether Chantix is the right choice for you should, thus, be made after consulting with your physician. Here are three suggestions to take Chantix:
• First, you can take an oral Chantix dose for three months. If you manage to quit smoking by the end of the three months, your physician may give you another three-month Chantix prescription to ensure you do not get the urge to smoke.
• Second, your physician may suggest using the Gradual Quitting Approach, which involves taking Chantix continuously for six months (24 weeks). During this period, you should notify your physician if you develop any side effects. You are required to take Chantix pills after meals with a full eight-ounce glass of water.
• Third, you can continue smoking after starting your Chantix treatment until you get to your target quit date. The quit date is based on your personal goal to stop smoking. For your body to build up the required levels of Chantix, you should start the dose before the cease date.
As highlighted above, integrating Chantix into your cigarette smoking can significantly help you stop completely. You can decide on the date to quit and that should be in a week or up to a month. However, if you are unable or unwilling to cease smoking abruptly, you can take Chantix and reduce the number of cigarettes you take by half every month. Keep in mind the goal should be to quit in three months, or sooner.
Quitting smoking is a personal decision and, therefore, you should have control on when and how to cease smoking. For this reason, Pfizer developed three strategies that can help you quit smoking using Chantix.
• Fixed quitting approach: The approach is suited for individuals who are willing to cease smoking within a week.
I. After you set a quit date, start taking Chantix around one week before the date.
II. During the week, you can simultaneously take Chantix while smoking.
III. After the quit date, exclusively take Chantix for 12 additional weeks.
IV. Even if you slip up, you should continue taking Chantix.
Research conducted by Pfizer found that 44 percent of those on Chantix entirely ceased smoking in 9-12 weeks as compared to 18 percent who were on a placebo.
• Flexible quitting approach: If you want to cease smoking, but you dont want to set a fixed date, the flexible quitting approach might be best for you.
I. Start the Chantix dose before picking a date. Just ensure that the quitting time is within 8-35 days after the onset of the dose.
II. Continuously maintain the Chantix dose for three months
Pfizers research found that 54 percent of those on Chantix entirely ceased smoking in 9-12 weeks as compared to 19 percent on a placebo.
• Gradual quitting approach: The progressive quitting approach is suited for individuals who are unwilling or unable to cease smoking in a conventional way.
I. Once you start your Chantix dose, you should ensure you reduce your daily cigarette number by half each month of the treatment.
II. Repeat this each month with the aim of completely ceasing in the last month of the treatment or sooner.
III. Once you complete the three-month dose, take Chantix for an additional three months to reduce the chance of relapse.
Pfizers research found that the gradual quitting approach led to 32 percent of those on Chantix completely ceased smoking by week 15-24 as opposed to seven-percent taking a placebo.
How to take Chantix
Always take Chantix oral pill after meals with a full eight-ounce glass of water. The dose should start low and gradually increase to reduce adverse side effects.
Important Patient InformationVARENICLINE - ORAL (var-EN-i-kleen) COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Chantix
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
USES: Varenicline helps you stop smoking. To increase your chance of success, use this medication with a stop-smoking program that includes education, support, and counseling. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of heart and lung disease, as well as cancer. Varenicline works by blocking nicotine's effects in the brain that make you want to smoke. Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, as well as other ways to quit smoking (such as nicotine replacement treatment), with your doctor.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking varenicline and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. There are several ways to use varenicline. The first way is to set a date to quit smoking before beginning treatment with this drug. Begin taking varenicline as directed by your doctor, 1 week before the quit date. When you first start taking this medication, take one 0.5-milligram tablet once a day for 3 days, then increase to one 0.5-milligram tablet twice a day for 4 days. The dose is slowly increased to lessen the chance of side effects (such as nausea, unusual dreams). During this first week, it is okay to smoke. Stop smoking on the quit date and begin taking the dose prescribed by your doctor twice a day for the rest of the 12-week treatment period. The second way to use varenicline is to start taking the drug before you choose a date to quit smoking. Start with the 0.5-milligram tablets and increase the dose as directed by your doctor. Pick a date to quit smoking that is between days 8 and 35 of treatment. Stop smoking on the chosen quit date. No matter which way you use varenicline, always follow your doctor's directions carefully. If you are not able or willing to quit smoking right away, your doctor may prescribe a third way to take varenicline. Follow your doctor's directions carefully and reduce your smoking as directed. If this medication comes in a dosing package, carefully follow the directions on the dosing package. There are two types of dosing packs: a starting pack and a continuing pack, each containing different strengths of this medication. If this medication comes in a bottle, carefully follow your doctor's directions on the prescription label. If you have any questions about how to take this medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth after eating food and with a full glass of water. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase. Do not take more than 1 milligram twice a day. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. Tell your doctor if you continue to smoke after a few weeks of treatment. If you are not able to quit smoking after 12 weeks of treatment, talk to your doctor. If you are successful and cigarette-free after 12 weeks of treatment, your doctor may recommend another 12 weeks of treatment with varenicline.
SIDE EFFECTS: See also Precautions section. Nausea, headache, vomiting, drowsiness, gas, constipation, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, or changes in taste may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: burning feeling in feet/toes, unusual pain in the legs when walking. Stop taking varenicline and get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizure, symptoms of a heart attack (such as chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating), signs of a stroke (such as weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, sudden vision changes, confusion), harmful behavior to self/others/property. Rarely, varenicline may cause serious mental/mood changes, even after stopping the medication. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication may increase the risk for mental/mood changes. Quitting smoking itself may also cause mental/mood changes. Stop taking varenicline and tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have symptoms such as depression/suicidal thoughts, agitation, aggression, or other unusual thoughts or behavior. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking varenicline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, mental/mood disorders (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression), heart/blood vessel disease (such as coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke), seizure. This drug may make you dizzy, drowsy, lose consciousness, or make it difficult to concentrate. Alcohol or marijuana can worsen these effects. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana. This drug may also make you more sensitive to alcohol (including increased drunkenness, unusual behavior, and limited or no memory of things that happened). Limit alcoholic beverages. Be aware of how alcohol affects you while taking this medication. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Smoking can affect the way your body removes certain drugs such as insulin, theophylline, warfarin, among others. When you stop smoking, your doses of these drugs may need to be adjusted by your doctor. Tell all your doctors and pharmacists that you are quitting smoking and of all the products you take.
OVERDOSE: If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company. safely discard your product.
This product information is intended for United States residents only. Before prescribing, please refer to the patient information. You can view the document and also download it on your computer. You may also consider printing out a copy for yourself. View US Prescribing Information - PDF Version
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