Jump to Navigation

Chantix Fact Sheet

Printer-friendly version
Medication Name (brand): 
Chantix
Medication Name (clinical): 
varenicline
Manufacturer: 

Pfizer; patent expires 2018.

Indications: 

Smoking cessation.

Mechanism: 
  • Dual mechanism of action: 1) Partial agonist at nicotinic receptors, mimicking nicotine

  • effects on the brain; 2) Blocks nicotine from binding to these receptors, thereby decreasing the
  • reinforcing effect of smoking.

Dosing: 
  • Supplied as 0.5 mg white tablet and 1 mg light blue tablet.

  • Because of high risk of nausea, titrate slowly: Days 1-3: 0.5 mg/day; Days 4-7: 0.5 mg BID;
  • thereafter: 1 mg BID. Continue for 12-24 weeks depending on response.
  • Most convenient way to prescribe: “Starting Month Pak,” which contains 0.5 mg x 11 tablets
  • and 1 mg x 42 tablets.
  • Price varies depending on pharmacy, but a month-long course costs around $130.00.
  • Patients should take it after eating and with a full glass of water.

Evidence of Efficacy: 

Quit rates about 40% after 3 to 4 months, vs. 30% with Zyban and 20% with placebo.

Side Effects: 
  • Most common: nausea (30%-40% of patients), insomnia, constipation, flatulence.

  • Not a controlled substance, no abuse potential.

Drug-drug Interactions: 
  • Can be combined with Zyban.

  • When combined with nicotine replacement therapy, causes a high incidence of nausea,
  • headache, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • No other drug interactions

Pharmokinetics: 
  • Half-life 24 hours.

  • Excreted unchanged in urine, no hepatic metabolism.

Pearls: 

Patients should set a quit date and start Chantix one week before quitting.

Return to issue area