Chantix is commonly prescribed to help people quit smoking. The drug works by blocking some of the pleasurable effects of smoking and decreasing the effects of nicotine withdrawal. It comes in tablet form and is taken once or twice a day for 12 weeks. Side effects of Chantix may include insomnia, abnormal dreams, nausea, and headache.
Chantix™ (varenicline tartrate) is a prescription medication used to help people stop smoking. Unlike many other medications used for this purpose, this medication does not contain nicotine.
Chantix is made by Pfizer, Inc.
Chantix works in a unique manner. Although the drug does not contain nicotine, it binds to nicotine receptors in the brain. This helps people quit smoking in two different ways. First, when Chantix binds to the nicotine receptor, it blocks nicotine from binding, which prevents some of the pleasurable effects of smoking. Secondly, the drug acts a little like nicotine when it binds to the receptor, which helps to decrease effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Studies have shown Chantix to be effective at helping people stop smoking. One study evaluated whether people were still smoking during the last month of treatment (weeks 9 through 12 of treatment). Up to 51 percent of people taking the drug did not smoke at all during this time, compared to only 12 percent of those not taking it.
Two studies compared Chantix to Zyban® (bupropion SR), another smoking cessation medication. These studies also evaluated whether people were still smoking during weeks 9 through 12 of treatment. Up to 44 percent of those taking Chantix did not smoke during this period, compared to just 30 percent of those taking Zyban.
Even though Chantix was only used for 12 weeks, some of these studies observed people for an entire year to see if they started smoking again. Up to 23 percent of those who took Chantix had quit and had not started again, compared to just 16 percent of those who took Zyban and only 8 percent of people who received no treatment.