What You Need to Know about Chantix
Chantix is very effective but it won’t work if the patient isn’t committed to quitting. For it to work the patient needs to stop during the first few weeks. You will still need to make a plan and stick to it. What it does is help curb the urge, but it doesn’t completely end all urges. A few tips are to 1) Drink a ton of water (one gallon day to cleanse the body is recommended). Exercise especially when you get an urge. Take it with food and be sure to get extra sleep because it will affect rest especially in the initial weeks.
There are many quit-smoking aids you can choose from today, from nicotine patches to hypnotherapy to medication. One medication that is usually prescribed as a smoking cessation aid is Chantix or varenicline tartrate. Produced by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Chantix has been approved by the FDA as a quit-smoking aid since 2006. To support the effort of reducing the smoker population for the health of the general public, the drug had been on the FDA’s priority list for review.
Chantix tablets are usually taken orally. Aside from providing the prescription for Chantix, medical professionals also recommend that the tablet be taken for twelve weeks, as part of a quit-smoking plan. What’s great is that many health insurance plans now offer coverage for Chantix and other smoking cessation aids that need a doctor’s prescription. This means more people can have access to these quit-smoking medications as needed.
What Chantix does
Chantix works for the brain in two important ways. First, it provides relief in almost the same way that nicotine does. Nicotine acts a stimulant, so it gives you that positive rush or that happy buzz whenever you smoke. This is highly addictive and your body goes through withdrawal when it doesn’t get its nicotine fix for a long period of time. Chantix helps you deal with the withdrawal by providing nicotine-like relief without the side effect of addiction.
Second, Chantix blocks the brain’s nicotine receptors and cuts into the reward cycle that causes addiction. By blocking these receptors, Chantix prevents the brain from enjoying the nicotine high, making smoking less enjoyable. And since you don’t enjoy smoking as much anymore, you’re less likely to smoke more cigarettes.
Chantix is often prescribed as part of a twelve-week plan to quit smoking. Along with the medication, smokers who choose Chantix can use an exclusive GetQuit plan that also provides support through counseling and follow-ups during the quitting process. This is in line with the findings of many studies that indicate that the combination of counseling and prescription smoking cessation aids greatly increase success rates for smokers to be cigarette-free for more than a year.
Success rates with Chantix
The effectiveness of Chantix as a smoking cessation aid is often called into question. According to studies by Pfizer, 44% of smokers who use Chantix had successfully quit smoking by the twelfth week of the program, while only 18% of the placebo subjects had quit. The success rate drops from 44% to 25% after one year, but it’s still better than the 10% year-end success rate of the placebo group.
The long-term effectiveness of Chantix may need further study. It’s also best to keep in mind that Chantix isn’t a pill that is going to magically make you not want cigarettes anymore. The main purpose of the drug is to relieve withdrawal symptoms so your body stops its addiction to nicotine. The behavioral aspect of quitting smoking is out of the scope of Chantix, so that likely needs to be addressed through other methods. This will help boost success rates of completely quitting smoking in the long run.
Health risks of taking Chantix
Like all medications, Chantix causes some side effects when taken regularly. This is why it’s important that you get Chantix only from licensed medical professionals. Let your doctor know if you’re going to be taking any other medications aside from Chantix and if you have other health conditions, so he or she can give you some precautions if needed. It’s also best to let your doctor know if you’re planning to use other smoking cessation aids.
People suffering from diseases in the heart or blood vessels are said to be more susceptible to the side effects of Chantix. Nausea is reported to be the primary side effect of the medication, along with vomiting, constipation, gassiness, and sleep disturbance.
Some smokers who used Chantix to quit smoking have also reported more serious side effects, including mental or behavioral changes. Hostility, aggression, and depression are included among these behavioral changes, which occurred in early use, several weeks into taking Chantix. Some smokers also reported experiencing these changes even after stopping treatment through Chantix.
Other documented behavioral effects of Chantix include hallucinations, panic, confusion, paranoia, anxiety, mania, and suicidal thoughts and actions. This is why smokers who have mental health problems should inform their doctors about these problems before using Chantix as a smoking cessation aid. In such cases, the smoker and his family members or friends are also advised to keep an eye for any mental or behavioral changes that may be caused by Chantix.