Varenicline (branded as Chantix and Champix) is a medication prescribed to patients to treat nicotine addiction which you begin taking 1 to 2 weeks before your set quit date and usually lasts over a period of 8 to 12 weeks, both reducing cravings for and decreasing the pleasurable effects of cigarettes and tobacco. It is a high-affinity partial agonist for the alpha-4 beta-2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtype (nACH) that leads to the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens when activated, and therefore, has the capacity to reduce the craving and withdrawal symptoms caused by smoking cessation. In this respect it is different from the nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) we provide such as nicotine patches, sprays and gum.
Varenicline is not available for pregnant women nor anyone under the age of 18, around 1 in 3 people suffer mild nausea as a result of this medication but it is not necessary to discontinue use unless the symptoms persist. Other less common side effects include:
- sleeping difficulties