What is Chantix?
Chantix is a medicine created to help people stop smoking. One of the biggest pharmacies in the world Pfizer produces it. Food and Drug Administration approved it in May 2006. Chantix is antagonistic to nicotine drug. It is proved that Chantix works better than nicotine patch, nicotine gum or even nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Chantix is produced in the form of tablets that should be taken orally. According to doctors` recommendations, the patients should take Chantix for 12 days. However, Chantix provides you with a GetQuit Plan, with its help you can go through the quitting process more comfortable. As practice shows, a lot of patients who took Chantix and followed the advice of the GetQuit Plan got excellent results.
How Does Chantix Work?
To get to the heart of the matter let us see what influence nicotine addiction has on a human body. When a person smokes, blood absorbs nicotine and transports it to all the organs of the human body at once. First of all, the nicotine damages brain. It attaches to acetylcholine receptors and mimics the action of acetylcholine. Moreover, the nicotine activates those areas of the human brain that are responsible for producing a feeling of pleasure. It is proved that nicotine raises the levels of dopamine in the brain. As a result, a person feels pleasure and becomes addicted to smoking.
What is more, smoking for an extended period of life leads to active addiction. That is why It is challenging to kick this addiction. Researchers say that addiction to cigarettes is even much stronger than cravings to potent drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Chantix uses an excellent strategy in kicking the addiction to smoking.
In the first run, Chantix stimulates nicotine receptors in the brain. That is how it relieves the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. In the second run, Chantix cuts down the reward and pleasure response pathways. And it makes a person quit quicker. A person would not have a desire to take a cigarette and would still get the same pleasure like when smoking.
Chantix success rate
Pfizer conducted a study devoted to the use of Chantix. Over a thousand of people took part in the study. All of them were addicted to smoking and wanted to give up. They were divided into two groups. One group received sugar pills. The volunteers from another group took Chantix. After 12 weeks of the study, both groups showed different results. 44% of those who were taking Chantix stopped smoking by the 12th week. While only 18% of the sugar pills users were abstinent. Then in a year, the participants were interviewed. And it turned out that the number decreased to 25%. But the number of sugar pills users dropped to 10%.
Still, we can observe that Chantix is much more effective than other ways of quitting. Apart from this, you should take into account that Chantix only eases the withdrawal symptoms. It does not have a psychological impact on a person. An individual must be strongly motivated to give up smoking. In this case, the withdrawal will be successful. And Chantix will help to make it much easier.
It is not news that each person who smokes is afraid to face the issue of quitting smoking. And it is a challenge. But Chantix is ready to help with it. The only thing you need is a personal motivation.
How to take Chantix?
Before taking Chantix, you should consult a doctor, and he will prescribe you the necessary dosage. You should be very responsible and take Chantix according to your doctor’s prescription. Do not create your schedule and do not change the doctor’s one. Follow all the doctor’s recommendations.
Chantix contains varenicline and, in its turn, does not have any nicotine. You are free to take Chantix while smoking.
Here you have a strict plan. Follow these pieces of advice to make the process of withdrawal easier and more effective.
1. You should set up an exact date when you want to start quitting. It should be not more than two weeks from the day you start to take Chantix.
2. Start taking Chantix with small doses and increase within the next few days. Your doctor will recommend you the dose which is necessary precisely for you. So follow his instructions.
3. It is essential that you stop smoking on the day you settled. (Look at №1).
4. Take the pills on time.
5. Take them half an hour after your meals with a glass of water.
6. According to your doctor’s recommendations buy a necessary amount of pills so that you will not run out of them.
7. Consult your doctor when you have any questions.
The approximate price for a 30-day dosage is $300. However, if you have insurance, it can cover the expense. Most insurance companies do it. What you need to do is to contact your company and ask about it.
What is more, there is no exact price because it depends on where you buy the pills, the dose you need, etc. Chantix is more expensive than other medications used for quitting smoking. But it is already proved that it is much more effective.
Chantix Side Effects
Before taking Chantix, you should be aware of the side effects that can appear. Among them:
That is why it is critical to consult a doctor beforehand. He will examine your body and check whether you are in a proper health condition to take the pills. Your doctor also must tell you about the side effects that may appear. According to the study conducted by Pfizer, some mental changes occurred to the participants.
Changes that occurred during the experiment:
1. General behavioral changes;
2. Some of the participants suffered from depression;
3. Increased aggression;
4. Suicidal thoughts;
7. Panic attacks, paranoia, and confusion.
Why Side Effects Occur?
There are three reasons why side effects may appear:
1. You take a higher dose than necessary;
2. You continue to consume Chantix for a more extended period than recommended.
3. You may have described side effects if you have ever suffered from them before or you have those currently. Taking Chantix may increase aggression, panic, depression, anxiety, etc.
According to the FDA’s recommendations, you should take one tablet of 0.5 mg for the first three days, followed by two 0.5 mg tablets for the next four days, and then 1 mg tablet twice a day for the rest of the period of your treatment. Usually, the period is 12 weeks.
It is not 100% probability that you would have those side effects. They may appear or may not. To exclude a possibility of having ones do not drink alcohol during the period of treatment.If you have to take other medicine apart from Chantix, consult your doctor beforehand. Sometimes it is not recommended to take varenicline along with other medication.
NOTICE THAT THOSE SIDE EFFECTS MAY APPEAR NOT NECESSARY BECAUSE OF TAKING CHANTIX.
You are facing such a severe problem of quitting smoking. Any nicotine replacement therapy may cause those symptoms. What is more, they may appear even if you do not use any NRT. Your body already got used to taking nicotine. And it is under significant stress when you stop taking it. You would be irritated, frustrated, confused or depressed.
Side effects of Chantix that commonly appear
Usually, a producer indicated possible side effects of a medicine on a package or medication guide. If we talk about Chantix the side effects are:
• Neuropsychiatric and Suicidal Symptoms
• Angioedema and Hypersensitivity Reactions
• Cardiovascular Events
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Accidental Injuries
If a patient has one of those, a doctor does not recommend to take Chantix.
Uncommon side effects of Chantix
You are not likely to get difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, suicidal thoughts, fever, cough, chills, itching, loss of appetite, sneezing, hyperventilation, sore throat, stuffy nose, loss of voice, or hallucination if you take Chantix.
You may happen to have:
– skin rash;
– difficulty breathing;
– swelling of your face, tongue or lips;
– extremely high heartbeat;
– sudden severe headache;
– sudden numbness of some body parts;
– tightness in the chest.
If you feel any of those possible side effects, stop taking Chantix and immediately call your doctor.
Can pregnant or lactating women take Chantix?
The impact of Chantix on a pregnant or lactic woman is not extensively studied at the moment. There is not enough data to state that is entirely safe for pregnant women to take varenicline. Usually, people stop smoking when they are planning to have a child. Anyway, talk to your doctor about it. He may recommend you other ways of how to give up smoking.
Is Chantix an antidepressant?
Also, Chantix may cause suicidal behavior. There was an accident in Texas. A man called Carter Albrecht, who was taking Chantix for already a week, tried to kick the door of his girlfriend’s neighbor`s home. Nobody could stop him. In the end, he was shot in the head.
And It is essential to mention that he was drunk. The alcohol level in his blood was three times higher the limit. Carter`s girlfriend, family, and friends say that he started to be very aggressive and even had hallucinations since he had begun to take varenicline. This news is quite shocking and gave us food for thoughts. It is necessary to delve deeper into this issue.
However, some patients even recovered from depression with the help of Chantix. Noah Philip, a medical resident at Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island examined those patients and noticed significant changes. It was recorded that varenicline could be used along with antidepressants to treat depression. Marina Picciotto, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University states: “I had a feeling that once patients start to take varenicline, they might start reporting to their doctors that they felt less depressed.”
There were many studies dedicated to this issue. A lot of researchers found varenicline useful in treating depression. They state that there is a lot of evidence to believe that Chantix can be therapeutic in cases of depression. And it can be used with other antidepressants.
Many smokers have said that varenicline has made them suffer from severe depression. But as it was explained before, many other factors may cause depression. To sum it up, Chantix turned out to be much more useful than placebo.
How to Minimize the Risk of Chantix Side Effects?
First of all, patients who are under the age of 18 should not take Chantix. You should keep in mind that it is very individual. If you have some symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that others would have the same. What is more, if you want to use varenicline as a treatment talk to your doctor beforehand. Recall when you have ever had any physical disorders. Check the history of seizures, kidney problems, kidney dialysis, alcohol addiction, heart diseases, blood vessel disorders, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or any mental issues.
Chantix is a well-known drug. Often advertised on television as an effective method of quitting smoking. However, it is also usually specified that “common side effects include unusual dreams.”This issue is quite a controversial. Let us talk about dreams in detail.
What is a dream? It is a story or an image created in our mind while we sleep. Freud famously saw dreaming as “the royal road to the unconscious.” Dreaming can make a person happy, sad, or scared.
Many researchers conducted different studies about why we dream, why we have different dreams, under what conditions, and what our thoughts depend on. Why do we see pleasant images when we sleep? And why do we see scary ones? There is no exact answer.
Other studies prove that if we feel cold when we sleep, we see horrific and scary pictures. And at the same time, if we are warm, we see something enjoyable.
Many people think that the dreams are signs. They believe that through the dreams they get critical information. Or even sometimes the dreams may predict and warn them about something significant.
It is true that under some conditions our dreams can vary. So what is the connection between taking Chantix and having unusual dreams?
Let us try to recall any weird dream that we had once in our life. For example, a serial killer wanted to kill you in your dream, and then you found a gun on your shelf and shot him.
Once I had a similar dream, and notice, I was not taking any medicines at that period of my life. Yes, this dream seems quite strange and scary. What if a person who consumes Chantix also has a similar thought. Does it mean that this is an adverse effect of taking varenicline?
All the people have ever seen at least one strange or scary dream during his or her lifetime. What if a child wakes up and starts to recall that in the dream she or he was escaping from a big ugly monster. She was screaming, calling for help and there was nobody to help. Can we state that that child was taking Chantix that is why she had a dream like that? Of course, it would make no sense.
Researchers agree that anxiety causes most nightmares. A study has shown that after watching horror movies, listening to scary stories or thinking about something horrific we may have weird dreams. Eventually, it has nothing to do with Chantix.
My friend told me about her first nightmare. “The very first nightmare I can remember was when I was five. I had a friend named Gracie, and in my dream, we were at her house drawing with chalk on her deck. She lived on a cliff and beneath it instead of water it was kind of like the badlands in Lion King, just thickets of thorns stretched out as far as I could see.
Well, Gracie’s mom came out and started yelling at us for drawing on the deck. But the weird thing was this lady wasn’t Gracie’s mom. She was something evil, and I could tell. It was like she was transforming into something dark and ugly in front of my eyes, but Gracie couldn’t see it. Long story short she finds out that I know she is evil and throws both of us off the cliff. I hit bottom and open my eyes and see Gracie with thorns sticking to her. Then the dream ends.
Fast forward to second grade, I go to school one day, and Gracie isn’t there. My teacher told the class that she had drowned while riding her tricycle beside the pool at her house. Gracie’s parents fill in the pool, file for divorce and move. Fast forward eight years, (my younger brother has been born now) my church builds a walking trail through her backyard. My brother is seven, and I’m 14. We are walking, and out of nowhere he points to her house and says ‘Gracie says hello.’ I said ‘what are you talking about Cam?’ And he says, ‘the wet girl.’ I have never told him about Gracie.”
Somewhat scary and creepy, isn’t it? I want to point out that my friend was five years old when she saw this dream. Do you think she was taking Chantix at that time? Probably, not. She didn’t even know what smoking was.
Here is another story my close friend told me. “There is this monster that used to appear regularly in my dreams. I call it ‘The Darkness.’ I’ve never seen the monster’s primary form, but it can seem in any way it wants to. Usually, there are two ways this monster will look.
The monster will at first appear like an average person in a crowded place, like a mall. I will, at first, not even realize that it is the Darkness, but then things in my dream will change.
It will continue to appear, more and more, in its human form. Usually, when I feel something’s not right. Then, everyone else, except for the Darkness, still in its human form, will disappear.Then, keeping in its human form, it will run towards me at breakneck speeds, and once it reaches me, it will grab me. After that, the dream will end.
This way is rarer, but it is where this monster got its name. I will usually be in some room in my house, and for whatever reason, I will go to another place. The room I enter will be dark, and as soon as I come, I know what is going to happen.If I try to escape this room, I will be pulled right back. Things get suspenseful. Then I close my eyes. It is a habit for me to do this because I can escape my dreams this way. Then it grabs me, and the dream ends.
The only detail I have gotten from when it has grabbed me in my real form is that it has incredibly long fingers. I don’t know what it looks like because like I said, I always close my eyes when it appears. As I’ve gotten older, the Darkness has been appearing less and less. So, I can’t describe some details because it has been a long time since it has last appeared.” It is important to mention that she has had this dream a few times. But she didn’t smoke and did not take any pills.
To conclude, having dreams is a normal process and any person can have disturbing thoughts. It does not always depend on some medicine.
Zyban Vs. Chantix
There is also another antidepressant that is used as a nicotine cessation aid. It is called Bupropion. It is sold under the name of Zyban. It has a very similar effect on humans as Chantix does. It has been approved by Food and Drug Administration and doesn’t contain nicotine.
Talking about price, Zyban a cheaper comparing with Chantix. However, it is not as effective as varenicline.
One more study was conducted. The researchers compared the effectiveness of three methods of quitting smoking. They were:
2. Zyban (Bupropion);
3. Placebo (sugar pills).
The participants were divided into three groups. The first group was taking Chantix. Second – Zyban. And third – sugar pills. The duration of treatment was three months. The participants were taking the capsules two times a day every day. Moreover, were also offered support in the form of reading materials and counseling.
In the end, the results showed clearly that Chantix was the most effective. Placebo success rate was 17%, Zyban rate was 30% and Chantix success rate – 44%.
To cut a long story short, Zyban and Chantix are very similar nicotine replacement therapies, and they have similar side effects as well. But before taking this or that one you have to make sure that it won’t do any harm to your life and health. For that purpose visit your doctor and discuss all possible methods of your therapy as well as all possible solutions in case of emergency.