What is this medication?
Varenicline, Champix (CDN)/Chantix (US)
Description: Partial Nicotine Agonist; Smoking Cessation Aid
Brand Name US: Chantix
Canadian Equivalent: Champix
How does this medication work?
Varenicline, Champix/Chantix is a partial neuronal α4 β2 nicotinic receptor agonist which prevents nicotine stimulation of mesolimbic dopamine system associated with nicotine addiction. It also binds to 5-HT3 receptor with moderate affinity, but the clinical significance is unknown. Varenicline stimulates dopamine activity but much less significantly than nicotine, resulting in decreased craving and withdrawal symptoms.
How should I take this medication?
Days 1 to 3: 0.5 mg once daily.
Days 4 to 7: 0.5 mg twice daily.
Maintenance (day 8 and later): 1 mg twice daily; may consider a temporary or permanent dose reduction if usual dose is not tolerated. Continue maintenance dose for 11 weeks (for a total of 12 weeks of treatment); if the patient successfully quits smoking at the end of 12 weeks, an additional 12-week course may increase likelihood of success.
How to Take: Follow instructions provided by physician/pharmacy label, take consistently at same times each day unless otherwise directed, store at room temperature. Administer after eating and with a full glass of water.
You Need to Avoid: Avoid alcohol consumption while on this medication as it may increase risk of CNS depression and the rate of psychiatric side effects.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting Varenicline, Champix/Chantix make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, if you have kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, a history of seizures, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Varenicline, Champix/Chantix use has been association with rare but serious adverse events such as hypersensitivity reactions, somnambulism (sleepwalking), and neuropsychiatric effects such as depression and suicidal ideation. If any behavioral changes are noted they should be reported to the prescriber immediately.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
How should I store this medication?
Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C). Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
Headache, insomnia, abnormal dreams, irritability, suicidal ideation, depression, nausea, vomiting
Note this is not a complete list of side effects, only the most common ones