Chantix Overview
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Pharmacist explains: Watch out for Chantix; It Can Be Dangerous;
Frequently Asked Questions; Prescribing Information; How To Spot Problems

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What Is Chantix?

Chantix is a prescription pill taken twice per day that is designed to help adults stop smoking.  Chantix comes in two strengths.  It is available as a white tablet (which contains 0.5mg of Chantix) and a blue pill (that contains 1 mg of Chantix).

How Does Chantix Work?

To understand how Chantix works you need to understand dopamine (a brain chemical).  Dopamine is associated with pleasure. 

When you smoke cigarettes, the nicotine binds to nicotine receptors in your brain and causes a small jolt of dopamine to be released.  This dopamine is what causes the soothing, pleasurable effect of nicotine in smokers.  The problem is, with cigarettes the dopamine jolt is short lived.  When it wears off, you want another dopamine jolt so you reach for another cigarette and so on.

Chantix is believed to work by mimicking nicotine - stimulating the nicotine receptors to cause the release of dopamine while at the same time blocking nicotine from stimulating the nicotine receptors.

However the dynamics of the Chantix modulated dopamine release are different.  The Chantix dopamine jolt is less than what you get with a cigarette but it is longer lasting and remains throughout the day as long as you take it as directed. 

Bottom line: Chantix blocks nicotine from activating the nicotine receptors in the brain so if you relapse and have a cigarette the cigarette doesn't give you the pleasurable sensation you are used to.

Although Chantix is not nicotine nor does it contain nicotine, it occupies and activates the nicotine receptors in the brain, producing a pleasurable sensation just like nicotine without the carbon monoxide, tar and cancer-causing compounds present in tobacco smoke.

Unlike Nicorette, Commit, nicotine patches or other nicotine replacement products Chantix is a twice-per-day pill that does not cause an unpleasant burning sensation in the throat or skin irritations.

Unlike Wellbutrin, Chantix is not associated with convulsions.  Is it not an antidepressant like Wellbutrin, nor does it contain andidepressants.   

Chantix will not automatically stop you from smoking.  Chantix makes it easier to quit but it is not a substitute for willpower.  Chantix works best as part of an overall program that includes information, education and support from your doctor and loved ones.

How Effective Is Chantix?

In scientific studies comparing Chantix to a sugar pill, 44% - 51% of the Chantix patients quit smoking compared to 12% - 18% of the sugar pill patients. 

How much does Chantix cost?

  • Chantix costs about $3.00 per pill.

Who Should Stay Away From Chantix?
  • Chantix is not for people who are under the age of 18.  Also, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients of Chantix, you must not take it.

What Are Some Chantix Precautions?

  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems before you take Chantix; she may want to use a lower dose in this instance.
  • You should not take Chantix if you are pregnant - Chantix was not tested on pregnant women and it may harm the baby.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding before you take Chantix.  Chantix can get into the breast milk and could harm the baby.
  • Before you take Chantix, tell your doctor if you are a diabetic, if you take insulin, blood thinners or asthma medicines or if you are taking vitamins because all these things can have an effect on how the Chantix works in your body.

How Do I Take Chantix; What is the Dose Of Chantix?

  • In order to minimize the chance of side effects, you start with a baby dose and increase to full strength therapy gradually.
  • For the first three days, you take a 0.5mg pill of Chantix daily;
(one white pill once per day).
  • On day four through day seven, you take a 0.5mg Chantix tablet  twice per day (one white pill in the morning and one white pill 12 hours later)
  • On day eight until you complete your treatment with Chantx you take 1 mg twice per day (one blue pill in the morning and one blue pill 12 hours later).

How long should I take Chantix?
  • Most people take Chantix for twelve weeks.  Some people take chantix for twenty four weeks.

What are the common side effects of Chantix?
  • Chantix' most common side effects are gastrointestinal in nature;  nausea (in about 30% of people taking Chantix), constipation, gas, and vomiting.  Chantix can also effect the way you sleep and dream.  Other than this, Chantix is generally well tolerated.
  • There are case reports in the literature regarding Chantix exacerbating schzophrenia and inducing a manic episode in a patient with bipolar disorder.  However, it is important to remember that these are anecdotal ion nature, not scientific studies

Are there any Chantix drug interactions?
  • Chantix is not known to have any clinically significant drug interactions.

Should I take Chantix on an empty stomach or with food?
  • You should take Chantix on a full stomach - after you eat.  You should take it with a large glass of water (8 ounces).

What happens if I forget to take a dose?

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless you forget altogether and it is time to take your next dose unless it it practically time to take your next dose.  If this happens, just wait until your next dose. 

How is Chantix different from other smoking cessation products?

  • Other smoking cessation products such as Commit, Nicorette contain nicotine.  Chantix contains no nicotine but it causes a similar reaction in the brain as nicotine and it blocks nicotine from attaching to nicotine receptors in the brain.

  • Chantix differs from buproprion (Wellbutrin) also.  Buproprion (Welbutrin) is an antidepressant.  Chantix is not an antidepressant.  Chantix has no antidepressant activity.

More Chantix Information

Buying Chantix Online
  • Chantix Price Comparison Ten Internet Chantix Vendors Compete for your business; also strategies to avoid getting ripped off when  you buy Chantix.

General Pharmacology:

Brief Monograph

Official Website

FDA Information regarding Chantix

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This Page Last Updated: 2/6/2012