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50+ Side Effects and Uses of Chantix (Stop Smoking)

By Jemima Faith

Description of Chantix

Chantix is a prescriptive drug used along with education to help people quit smoking. Chantix is in a group of medications called partial cholinergic nicotinic agonists. While it does not contain nicotine, it operates by stimulating nicotine receptors in the brain, reducing the desires for cigarettes. It equally decreases the pleasurable effects of cigarettes. Chantix tablets contain varenicline (as the tartrate salt), which is an incomplete agonist selective for α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes. Varenicline is used together with a support program to help you stop smoking. It is used together with behavior modification and counseling support to help you stop smoking. Varenicline (Chantix) is a drug used to help people quit smoking. It can reduce the symptoms caused by quitting smoking. This medicine is more popular than comparable drugs. A generic type of Chantix may become available in 2020. It is covered by most Insurance and Medicare plans, but some pharmacy cash prices or coupons may be lowered.

Chantix is supplied for oral administration in two capacities: a 0.5 mg capsular biconvex, white to off-white, film-coated tablet disposed with "Pfizer" on one side and "CHX 0.5" on the other side and a 1 mg capsular biconvex, light blue film-coated tablet disposed with "Pfizer" on one side and "CHX 1.0" on the other side. Each 0.5 mg Chantix tablet contains 0.85 mg of varenicline tartrate corresponding to 0.5 mg of varenicline free base; each 1mg Chantix tablet contains 1.71 mg of varenicline tartrate corresponding to 1 mg of varenicline free base.

Possible side effects of Chantix

An effective aid in quitting smoking, Chantix has helped more individuals quit smoking and remain quit than similar medications like bupropion and nicotine replacement therapies, including gum and patches. There are many side effects of Chantix that smokers should be aware of before trying this method of quitting, however. These side effects Chantix range from mild symptoms that are often already linked with nicotine withdrawal (nausea, headache, etc.) to more serious psychiatric symptoms like suicidal thoughts and depression.

Many Chantix users experience nausea, especially those taking the full dosage. Some individuals will have these signs throughout the period of treatment. Other common Chantix side effects could be the result of nicotine withdrawal rather than a direct outcome of the medication and include:

  • Headache
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleep disruptions
  • Heartburn
  • Unusual taste in mouth
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Strange or vivid dreams and nightmares: Another side effect of Chantix reported by several users is extremely vivid nightmares or unusual dreams. Some of these symptoms may improve as the treatment progresses. If the side effects Chantix become troublesome, contact your doctor to discuss other options.
  • Serious Chantix side effects: A number of other rare, but serious, side effects Chantix have been linked with the uses of Chantix. If any of the following symptoms happen, call your physician immediately or visit the nearest emergency care unit:
  • Swelling, especially of the face, throat, eyes or tongue, that may be the outcome of an allergic reaction, depicts Chantix side effects
  • Persistent dizziness with vomiting
  • Blisters inside the mouth
  • Pressure or pain or in the chest
  • Skin rash, blistering or peeling
  • Back pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Profuse sweat
  • Pain in the arm, jaw or neck
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Limb tingling or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Immobility or difficulty moving the legs or arms
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Recurring insomnia
  • Vision changes or problems
  • Extreme unusual behavior or mood changes

There may be other side effects Chantix that are not listed here. Discuss any changes in your mental or physical wellbeing with your physician while you are taking the medication, as well as after the therapy.

  • Chantix and mental illness, depression: One of the most alarming side effects of Chantix is the psychiatric signs some users experience. Occasionally, individuals will witness changes in their mental state as a result of nicotine withdrawal, even without quitting treatment, but the FDA notes that these side effects were noticed in Chantix users who were still smoking as well as those who were not. Some patients encountered the Chantix side effects early in their therapy, while others did not show any signs of mental illness or behavioral changes until much further into the treatment cycle. The effects are often more complicated among users with a history of mental illness.

Tell your doctor if you have ever been diagnosed with any mental condition, including bipolar disorder and depression. If you notice any of the following symptoms while taking Chantix, stop taking the medication at once and call your physician:

  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Excessive anger, violent behavior or aggressive
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Abnormally excited
  • Panic or anxiety attacks
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Unusual feelings or  thoughts
  • Thoughts of suicidal actions or suicide
  • Chantix and the heart: Recent studies in (July 2011) carried out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that Chantix uses may increase the risk of certain heart-related conditions, especially in patients who already have cardiovascular illnesses. If you have a heart problem or a family history of heart disease, be sure to discuss with your doctor before deciding to embark on the uses of Chantix. There may be other smoking cessation medications with a lower risk to cardiovascular patients. Common difficulties include irregular heart rhythms, heart attack and angina pectoris.

For several people, Chantix used have made it possible to finally quit smoking and to stay quit. Not everyone gives up smoking with Chantix but it is a very effective cessation method for those who do quit. Mind you that some side effects are serious and sudden. Call your physician immediately if you notice any changes in your overall wellbeing and health. Also, be sure to let your physician know about other medications you are taking to prevent any adverse reactions.

Patients Counseling information about Chantix

i). Initiate treatment and continue to attempt to quit if lapse

Instruct patients to set a date to quit smoking and to initiate Chantix treatment a week before the quit date. On the contrary, the patient can begin Chantix dosing and then set a date to quit smoking between days 8 and 35 of treatments. Motivate patients to continue to attempt to quit if they have early lapses after quit day.

ii). How to take

Advise patients that Chantix should be administered after eating, and with a complete glass of water.

iv). Starting week dosage

Instruct patients on how to titrate Chantix, starting at a dose of 0.5 mg/day. Explain that one 0.5 mg tablet have to be taken daily for the first three days, as well as the other for the next four days, one 0.5 mg tablet should be administered in the morning as well as one 0.5 mg tablet should be administered in the evening.

v). Continuing weeks’ dosage

 More often, it is important that the patients should be advised that, after the first seven days, the dosage of Chantix should be added to one 1 mg tablet in the morning and one 1 mg tablet in the evening.

vi). Dosage adjustment for Chantix or other drugs

Inform patients that nausea and insomnia are side effects of Chantix and are usually transient; however, advise patients that if they are consistently troubled by these signs, they should notify the prescribing doctor so that a dosage of Chantix reduction can be considered. Inform patients that some medicines may require dose adjustment after quitting smoking. Provide patients with necessary counseling or educational materials to support an attempt at quitting smoking.

vii). Neuropsychiatric symptoms

Inform patients that some patients have witnessed changes in mood (including mania and depression), hallucinations, psychosis, delusions, paranoia, aggression, homicidal ideation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation and suicide when trying to quit smoking while taking Chantix. If patients develop hostility, agitation, changes in behavior or depressed mood or thinking that are not typical for them, or if patients experience suicidal ideation or behavior, they should be encouraged to discontinue Chantix uses and report these symptoms to their health care provider without any waste of time.

viii).  History of psychiatric illness

Patients should be urged to reveal any history of psychiatric illness in view of initiating treatment.

ix). Nicotine withdrawal

Inform patients that quitting smoking, with or without Chantix, may be linked with nicotine withdrawal symptoms (including agitation or depression) or exacerbation of already psychiatric illness.

x). Angioedema

Inform patients that there have been reports of angioedema, with swelling of the mouth, face, gum, lip, neck and tongue and (pharynx and larynx) that can result to life-threatening respiratory convergence. Moreover, the patients should be instructed to discontinue Chantix and immediately seek medical care if they experience these signs.

xi). Driving or operating machinery

Advise patients to use caution operating machinery, or driving until they know how quitting smoking and/or varenicline may affect them.

xi). Pregnancy and Lactation

Pregnant or breastfeeding patients, or those anticipating to becoming pregnant should be advised of: the dangers of smoking to a pregnant mother and her developing baby, the potential dangers of subscribing to the uses of Chantixduring pregnancy and nursing, and the benefits of smoking cessation with and without Chantix.

 

Warnings and Precautions of Chantix

i). Neuropsychiatric adverse events including suicidality

Serious neuropsychiatric adverse events have been exposed in patients being treated with Chantix. These post marketing reports do incorporate changes in mood (including mania and depression), hallucinations, psychosis, paranoia, homicidal ideation, delusions, aggression, hostility, anxiety, agitation, and panic, as well as completed suicide, suicide attempt and suicidal ideation. Some patients who stopped smoking may have been witnessing the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, including depressed mood. Depression, hardly including suicidal ideation, has been disclosed in smokers undergoing a smoking cessation attempt without treatment. However, some of these adverse events happened in patients taking Chantix who continued to smoke.Neuropsychiatric adverse events happened in patients without and with pre-existing psychiatric disease; some patients witnessed worsening of their psychiatric diseases. Some neuropsychiatric adverse incidence, including unusual and sometimes violent behavior directed to one or another may have been worsened by concomitant use of alcohol. Observe patients for the occurrence of neuropsychiatric adverse reaction.

ii). Seizures

During clinical trials and the post marketing experience, there have been reports of seizures in patients treated with this medication. A handful of patients had no history of seizures, meanwhile others had a history of seizure disorder that was well-controlled or remote. In most cases, the seizure occurred within the first month of treatment. Access this potential risk against the potential benefits before prescribing Chantix uses in patients with a history of seizures or other factors that can lower the seizure threshold. Patients should be advised to discontinue Chantix and contact a healthcare provider immediately if they notice a seizure while on treatment.

iii). Interaction with alcohol

There have been post marketing reports of patients experiencing accelerated intoxicating effects of alcohol while under Chantix. Some cases described unusual and more often violent behavior, and were often accompanied by amnesia for the events. Advise patients to reduce the degree of alcohol they consume while taking Chantix until they know whether Chantix affects their tolerance for alcohol or not.

iv). Accidental injury

There have been post marketing reports of traffic occurrences, near-miss incidents in traffic, or different accidental damages in patients taking Chantix. In some situations, the patients reported dizziness, somnolence, loss of consciousness or difficulty concentrating that resulted in impairment, or concern on potential impairment, operating machinery or driving. Advise patients to use caution operating machinery, or driving or engaging in other potentially hazardous activities until they know how Chantix may affect them.

v). Cardiovascular events

In a placebo-managed clinical trial of Chantix given to patients with stable cardiovascular disease, with exactly 350 patients per treatment arm, all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was lower in patients treated with Chantix, but certain nonfatal cardiovascular events happened more frequently in patients treated with Chantix than in patients treated with placebo.

vi). Angioedema and hypersensitivity reactions

There have been postmarketing reports of hypersensitivity reactions couple with angioedema in patients treated with Chantix Clinical signs included swelling of the mouth, face, (lips, tongue and gums), extremities, and neck (larynx and throat). There were infrequent reports of life-threatening angioedema requiring emergency medical attention due to respiratory convergence. As such therefore, the patients should be instructed to discontinue Chantix and immediately seek medical care if they experience these signs.

 

Uses of Chantix

Chantix is indicated for use as an aid to smoking cessation treatment. Take Chantix exactly as prescribed by your physician.

• Fix a quit date when you will cease smoking.

• Start taking Chantix 1 week (7 days) before your quit date. This lets Chantix develop in your body. You can keep smoking during this time. Endeavor that you try and stop smoking on your quit date. If you slip-up and smoke, retry again. Some people need to take Chantix for a few weeks for Chantix to work best.

• Take Chantix after eating and with a complete glass (8 ounces) of water.

• Most people will take Chantix for up to three months. If you have completely quit smoking by 12 weeks, your physician may prescribe Chantix for another 12 weeks to assist you stay cigarette-free.

• Chantix comes as a white tablet (0.5 mg) and a blue tablet (1 mg). You begin with the white tablet and then usually go to the blue tablet.

• If you miss a dose of Chantix, take it as soon as you recall. If it is close to the time for your next dose, wait. Just take your next dose at your normal regular dose.

 

Dosage of Chantix

i). Usual dosage for adults

Smoking cessation treatments are more likely to succeed for patients who are encouraged to stop smoking and who are provided additional support and advice. Provide patients with appropriate counseling or educational materials to support the quit attempt. The patient should fix a date to stop smoking. Start Chantix dosing one week before this date. On the contrary, the patient can begin Chantix dosing and then quit smoking between days 8 and 35 of treatments. Chantix should be taken after eating and with a complete glass of water.

ii).Dosage in special populations

No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with moderate to mild renal impairment. For patients with intense renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance <30 mL/min), the approved starting dose of Chantix is 0.5 mg once a day. The dose may then be prescribed as needed to a maximum dose of 0.5 mg two times a day. As for the patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis, a maximum dose of 0.5 mg to be administered in a day may be taken if tolerated. No dosage adjustment is advisable for patients with hepatic impairment. Form the fact that the elderly patients are more likely to have reduced renal function, attention should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to follow up renal function. Patients as well as the elderly with Impaired Hepatic Function.

 

Dosage forms and strengths of Chantix

Capsular, biconvex tablets: 0.5 mg (white to off-white, disposed with. "And on one side "CHX 0.5.

Overdose of Chantix

If you take too much Chantix, call your health care provider or local Poison Control Regulatory Center, or seek emergency medical help right away. If Chantix is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical milieu, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is noticed, seek urgent medical attention.

i). Storage conditions of Chantix

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, far from moisture, and away from direct light and heat. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated drug no longer required. Discuss with your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any drug you do not use.Store at 25ºC (77ºF); excursions permitted to 15–30ºC (59–86ºF).

j). Use in specific populations

i). Pregnancy (risk summary)

Available human data on the use of Chantix in pregnant women are not adequate to inform a drug associated risk. Smoking during pregnancy is linked with fetal, maternal, and neonatal risks. In animal research, varenicline did not lead to major malformations, but caused reduced fetal weights in rabbits when dosed during organogenesis at exposures equivalent to 50 times the exposure at the maximum approved human dose (MRHD). Furthermore, administration of varenicline to pregnant rats during organogenesis through lactation produced developmental toxicity in children at maternal exposures equivalent to 36 times human exposure at the MRHD.

ii). Lactation (risk summary)

There are no data on the presence of varenicline in human milk, the effects on the child fed with breast milk, or the effects on the production of milk. In animal research varenicline was present in the milk of lactating rats. However, because of the species-specific differences in lactation physiology, animal data may not reliably anticipate drug levels in human milk of breastfeeding mothers. The insufficiency in clinical data during lactation precludes a clear determination of the danger of Chantix to an infant during lactation; however the developmental and health benefits of nursing should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for Chantix and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from Chantix or from the underlying maternal condition.

iv). Pediatric use

Effectiveness and safety of Chantix in pediatric patients have not been set up.

v). Geriatric use

A combined single- and multiple-dose pharmacokinetic study showed that the pharmacokinetics of 1 mg varenicline given once daily or twice daily to 16 healthy elderly male and female smokers (aged 65–75 years) for 7 consecutive days was similar to that of younger subjects. No overall differences in effectiveness or safety were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other published clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but enormous sensitivity of some older persons cannot be ruled out. Varenicline is said to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the danger of toxic reactions to this medicine may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. And for the fact that elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, attention should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to follow-up renal function. No dosage of Chantix adjustment is approved for elderly patients.

vi). Renal Impairment

Varenicline is substantially eliminated by renal glomerular filtration couple with the tubular secretion actively. The reduction of the dose is not allowed in patients with moderate to mild renal impairment. For patients with intense renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance <30 mL/min), and for patients with end-stage renal infection undergoing hemodialysis, dosage adjustment is required.

A disclaimer: The article is aimed at disclosing relevant and updated information prior to the drug Chantix. In a nutshell, all the information in this article plays the role of a guide with regards the drug Chantix. However, giving preferential treatment to the sources in this article prior to the drug Chantix and what it treats as stated in this article over a professionally trained doctor’s prescription is strictly forbidden.

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