Chantix (Marketed as Champix in Canada and the UK).
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HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is intended as a summary and does not replace medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist. Always consult a physician for personalized medical advice as this summary does not contain all possible information about this product.
VARENICLINE – ORAL (var-EN-i-kleen)
Common Brand Name(s)
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Champix
What are the Uses of this Medication?
Varenicline (Champix) helps with quitting smoking. For increased chance of success use this medication in conjunction with a stop-smoking program that includes support, education, and counseling. Quitting smoking will lower risk of lung and heart disease and additionally cancer. Varenicline blocks nicotine’s effects in the brain which reduces your desire to smoke. Discuss all methods of quitting with your doctor as well as the risks and benefits of this drug.
How do I Use This Medication?
Read the Medication Guide given by your pharmacist before you start Varenicline (Champix) and every time you get it refilled. There are many ways to use this drug. Firstly you can set a date to quit before starting this drug. Begin taking Varenicline as told by your doctor 1 week before the quit date. When you begin this treatment take one 0.5mg tablet once a day for 3 days, then increase to one 0.5mg tablet twice a day for 4 days. Slowly increasing the dose lessens the chance of side effects. It is ok to smoke during this week. On your quit day stop smoking and take the dose prescribed by your doctor twice per day for the remainder of the 12 week treatment. The second way to use this drug is to start taking it before you choose a date. Start with the 0.5mg tablet and increase the dose as directed. Pick a date to quit that is between days 8 and 35 of the program. Stop smoking on your chosen quit day. Always follow your doctor’s instructions, they may prescribe you a third method that suits you better. Follow the directions on the dosing package if your medication comes in one. There are two different kinds: a starting and continuing pack which contain different strengths of the drug. If the medication is in a bottle follow your doctor’s directions on the label of the prescription. Take this medication with a full glass of water and food. The dosage is based on response to treatment and your medical condition, do not take medication more often than you doctor’s prescribed it, your condition will not improve any faster. Do not exceed 1 milligram twice a day. If you continue smoking after 1 week of treatment tell your doctor and if after 12 weeks you’re unable to quit tell your doctor. If after 12 weeks you are successful your doctor may prescribe another 12 week treatment.
What are the Side Effects?
The following side effects may occur while taking Champix: drowsiness, constipation, trouble sleeping, nausea, changes in taste, unusual dreams, headaches, vomiting, gas. If any of the aforementioned effects persist or worsen tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately. The doctor has assessed the benefits and risks of this medication and has chosen to prescribe it to you as they believe the benefits outweigh the risks. If any of these serious side effects occur immediately inform your doctor: unusual pain in legs while walking, burning sensation in feet/toes. If any of these very serious side effects occur stop taking Varenicline right away and seek medical attention: symptoms of a heart attack, signs of stroke, seizure, harmful behaviour to others/property/self. Varenicline may rarely cause serious mental or mood changes even after you’ve stopped taking it. Consuming alcohol while taking the drug may also result in mental/mood changes. The act of quitting smoking can also cause mental or mood changes. If you experience any agitation, unusual thoughts/behavior, depression/suicidal thoughts or aggression stop the medication and talk to your doctor. Serious allergic reactions to this drug are rare. If you notice any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction get medical help immediately: severe dizziness, swelling/itching, rash, trouble breathing. This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, if you notice changes not listed above contact your doctor or pharmacist.
What Precautions Should I Take while taking Champix?
Tell your pharmacist and doctor about your allergies and other medications/products you’re using as this product may contain inactive ingredients which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Inform your doctor of your medical history before use especially concerning: mental/mood disorders, seizure, heart/blood vessel disease, kidney disease. Marijuana and alcohol can worsen these effects. This drug can increase sensitivity to alcohol so limit alcoholic beverages. This medication should only be used during pregnancy when clearly needed. It is unknown if this medication will pass along to breast milk.
Are there any Drug Interactions?
Drug reactions can change how your medication works or increase the risk of serious side effects. Keep a list of medications and products you use (including herbal remedies as well as prescription/non-prescription drugs) and tell your doctor and pharmacist. Consult your doctor before changing dosage or starting or stopping this medication. The way your body removes certain drugs can be affected by quitting smoking so doses of those drugs can be affected when you quit. Tell your doctors and pharmacists that you’re quitting and about all the medications you take.
What if I Overdose?
If someone overdoses and has symptoms like trouble breathing or passing out call 911 or poison control right away.
What if I Miss a Dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, if it is near the time of your next dose take it then and do not double the dose to catch up.
Store away from light and moisture at room temperature, not in the bathroom. Keep medication away from children and animals. If you need to dispose of the medication when it expires or is no longer needed contact a pharmacist or waste disposal company.