Common Questions | CHANTIX® (varenicline) | Safety Info
Quitting with CHANTIX
In the largest study evaluating smoking cessation medications, CHANTIX helped more people quit smoking by weeks 9 to 12 AND weeks 9 to 24, compared with the nicotine patch, bupropion, or placebo (sugar pill). This study evaluated people both with and without a history of mental health conditions.
After you start taking CHANTIX, you can smoke up until your quit date, which depends on the quit approach you choose.
There are 3 approaches to using CHANTIX to help you quit. When taking CHANTIX, you can choose a quit date in a week or up to a month after starting CHANTIX. Or, if you're sure you're not willing or able to quit that abruptly, you start CHANTIX and then cut your smoking in half each month with the goal of quitting at the end of 12 weeks (3 months), or sooner. Learn more about the 3 quit approaches.
Taking CHANTIX properly
CHANTIX should always be taken after eating, with a full glass (8 oz) of water. During the first week of CHANTIX, your dose will gradually increase.
|CHANTIX dosing at a glance*|
|Days 1-3||Take 1 white pill (0.5 mg) daily|
|Days 4-7||Take 1 white pill (0.5 mg) in the morning and 1 in the evening|
|Day 8 to end of treatment||Take 1 blue pill (1 mg) in the morning and 1 in the evening|
*This dosing schedule may not be right for everyone—talk with your healthcare provider.
Most people will take CHANTIX for 12 weeks (3 months). If you have completely quit smoking by the end of 12 weeks, your healthcare provider may prescribe CHANTIX for another 12 weeks to help you stay smokefree. Or, if you and your healthcare provider decide that the Gradual Quit Approach is right for you, you will take CHANTIX for a total of 24 weeks.
Watch a video to learn more about getting started with CHANTIX.
You should take CHANTIX for the full 12 or 24 weeks (3 or 6 months), depending on the quit approach you and your healthcare provider decide is right for you. Always take CHANTIX as prescribed.
Potential side effects
When you try to quit smoking, with or without CHANTIX, you may have symptoms that may be due to nicotine withdrawal, including:
- Urge to smoke
- Depressed mood
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling anxious
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased heart rate
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
Some people have even experienced suicidal thoughts when trying to quit smoking without medication. Sometimes quitting smoking can lead to worsening of mental health problems that you already have, such as depression.
Some people have had serious side effects while using CHANTIX to help them quit smoking including:
New or worse mental health problems, such as changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking CHANTIX, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment, or after stopping CHANTIX. These symptoms happened more often in people who had a history of mental health problems before taking CHANTIX, than in people without a history of mental health problems.
Stop taking CHANTIX and call your healthcare provider right away if you, your family, or caregiver notice any of these symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to decide whether you should continue to take CHANTIX. In many people, these symptoms went away after stopping CHANTIX, but in some people symptoms continued after stopping CHANTIX. It is important for you to follow-up with your healthcare provider until your symptoms go away.
Before taking CHANTIX, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had depression or other mental health problems. You should also tell your healthcare provider about any symptoms you had during other times you tried to quit smoking, with or without CHANTIX.
Serious side effects of CHANTIX may include:
- See What is the most important information I should know about CHANTIX?
- Seizures. Some people have had seizures during treatment with CHANTIX. In most cases, the seizures have happened during the first month of treatment with CHANTIX. If you have a seizure during treatment with CHANTIX, stop taking CHANTIX and contact your healthcare provider right away.
- New or worse heart or blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems, mostly in people who already have cardiovascular problems. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any changes in symptoms during treatment with CHANTIX.
Get emergency medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of a heart attack, including:
- Chest discomfort (uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain) that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or feeling lightheaded associated with chest discomfort
- Sleepwalking can happen with CHANTIX, and can sometimes lead to behavior that is harmful to you or other people, or to property. Stop taking CHANTIX and tell your healthcare provider if you start sleepwalking.
- Allergic reactions can happen with CHANTIX. Some of these allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
- Serious skin reactions, including rash, swelling, redness, and peeling of the skin. Some of these skin reactions can become life-threatening.
Stop taking CHANTIX and get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Swelling of the face, mouth (tongue, lips, and gums), throat, or neck
- Trouble breathing
- Rash with peeling skin
- Blisters in your mouth
The most common side effects of CHANTIX include:
- Sleep problems (trouble sleeping or vivid, unusual, or strange dreams)
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are having side effects such as nausea, strange dreams, or sleep problems. Your healthcare provider may want to reduce your dose.
Tell your healthcare provider about side effects that bother you or that do not go away.
These are not all the side effects of CHANTIX. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.
You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Do not take CHANTIX if you have had a serious allergic or skin reaction to CHANTIX. Symptoms may include:
- Swelling of the face, mouth (tongue, lips, gums), throat, or neck
- Trouble breathing
- Rash, with peeling skin
- Blisters in your mouth
Use caution when driving or operating machinery until you know how CHANTIX affects you. CHANTIX may make you feel sleepy, dizzy, or have trouble concentrating, making it hard to drive or perform other activities safely.
Decrease the amount of alcoholic beverages that you drink during treatment with CHANTIX until you know if CHANTIX affects your ability to tolerate alcohol. Some people have experienced the following when drinking alcohol during treatment with CHANTIX:
- Increased drunkenness (intoxication)
- Unusual or sometimes aggressive behavior
- No memory of things that have happened
Cost and support
CHANTIX offers a savings card that eligible patients can use to save money on their monthly prescription of CHANTIX. Download a Savings Card to use when you fill your CHANTIX prescription at a participating pharmacy, and you may be able to save up to $75 per month (Terms and Conditions apply).
With the CHANTIX Savings Card:
- If your out-of-pocket costs are $115 or less, you pay up to $40
- If your out-of-pocket costs are more than $115, you save $75 off your costs
Offer can be used up to 6 times per calendar year.
GET QUIT serves as a guide through your quit journey and provides you with the tools and resources you may need to stay inspired.
Here’s what you’ll get if you join GET QUIT:
- Information on what to expect while taking CHANTIX
- A personalized dashboard, at your fingertips, to help track your quit journey
- Check-in emails with tips to help you through your toughest moments
- Tips on how to manage behaviors related to smoking
Talking to your healthcare provider
Before you take CHANTIX, tell your healthcare provider if you:
- Use other treatments to quit smoking. Using CHANTIX with a nicotine patch may cause nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, upset stomach, and tiredness to happen more often than if you just use a nicotine patch alone.
- Have kidney problems or get kidney dialysis. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a lower dose of CHANTIX for you.
- Have a history of seizures
- Drink alcohol
- Have heart or blood vessel problems
- Have any other medical conditions
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if CHANTIX will harm your unborn baby.
- Are breastfeeding. It is not known if CHANTIX passes into breast milk. If you breastfeed and take CHANTIX, monitor your baby for seizures as well as spitting up or vomiting more than normal.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Your healthcare provider may need to change the dose of some of your medicines when you stop smoking.
You should not use CHANTIX while using other medicines to quit smoking. Tell your healthcare provider if you use other treatments to quit smoking.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them with you to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
For help starting the conversation with your healthcare provider, click here.
There are 3 ways to use CHANTIX to help you quit smoking. Depending on your quit approach, your quit date could be a week or up to a month after starting CHANTIX. Or, if you're sure you're not willing or able to quit that abruptly, you start CHANTIX and then cut your smoking in half each month with the goal of quitting at the end of 12 weeks (3 months), or sooner. Learn more about the 3 quit approaches.
There are many health benefits of quitting smoking, starting on day 1.
20 Minutes After QuittingYour heart rate may drop
12 Hours After QuittingCarbon monoxide levels in the blood may drop to normal
2 Weeks to 3 Months
After QuittingYour heart attack risk may begin to drop and your lung function may begin to improve
1 to 9 Months After QuittingYour coughing and shortness of breath may decrease
1 Year After QuittingYour added risk of coronary heart disease may be half that of a continuing smoker
2 to 5 Years After QuittingYour risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder may be halved within 5 years. Your stroke risk may reduce to that of a non-smoker 2 to 5 years after quitting
10 Years After QuittingThe risk of dying from lung cancer may be half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancers of the kidney and pancreas may decrease
15 Years After QuittingYour risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of
To find more information about the benefits of quitting, visit the Resources page.
CHANTIX has not been studied in patients using e-cigarettes and is not indicated for use in these patients.