Varenicline (US brand name Chantix®) is a nicotinic receptor partial agonist.
On this page, we present some basic information about this medication. Other articles on this website with more advanced information and tips related to this medication are linked to under Related Pages below.
“For use as an aid to smoking cessation treatment.”
When should varenicline be started?
Varenicline should be started BEFORE the person stops smoking cigarettes. But, there is more than one way to do this.
1. Treatment with varenicline can be started one week before the patient stops smoking.
2. Alternatively, if the date on which the person intends to stop smoking has not yet been decided, varenicline can be started and the person can plan to stop smoking somewhere between 8 to 35 days after the varenicline was started.
Potential side effects of varenicline
Please see THIS PAGE for a handout listing both the common and less common side effects of this medication along with the percentages of patients who report them.
Dosage and Administration
0.5 mg once daily on days 1 to 3.
Then, 0.5 mg twice daily on days 4 to 7.
Weeks 2 to 12:
1 mg twice daily
If the patient cannot tolerate the side effects, then, obviously, we should consider a temporary or permanent reduction in the dose.
Duration of treatment
If the patient is able to stop smoking cigarettes, then varenicline should be continued for another 12 weeks after the date that the person completely stopped.
On the other hand, if the patient is motivated to stop smoking cigarettes but hasn’t been able to do so despite being on varenicline, then, before restarting varenicline, we need to evaluate and address the reasons why the person was not able to stop smoking.
a. Impaired renal function: Mild to moderate impairment requires no dosage adjustment. In severe impairment start with 0.5 mg once daily, then titrate to a maximum of 0.5 mg twice daily.
b. Impaired hepatic function: No dosage adjustment is necessary
c. Elderly: Monitor renal function
Dosage forms and strengths
In the United States, varenicline is available in tablets of 0.5 mg and 1 mg.
Important! Please refer to Prescribing Information (see link below) for a complete discussion of dosage, administration, warnings and precautions, contraindications, etc.
Are varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion safe for smoking cessation in persons with mental disorders?
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