How does Champix Work?
The medication, whose non-drug name is “varenicline” is prescribed to people who wish to quit smoking because it is a “nicotine recepotor partial agonist.” This is a long term that just means varenicline will reduce your brain’s cravings for nicotine. At the same time, if you do smoke, your brain will be less capable of feeling pleasure from it. Combined, this makes smoking a thoroughly joyless activity.
In studies, varenicline has been shown to make it three to five times more likely a person will quit smoking when it is used. The Food and Drug Administration has approved it for use up to twelve weeks. If the user has been successful in using it up to that point, they can use it for another twelve.
What are the Side Effects?
Sadly, this miracle drug isn’t perfect. Varenicline has some serious side effects that deserve consideration.
Nausea is one of the most commonly reported side effects of the drug, though its severity can vary. People have also reported having headaches after taking the drug, sleep difficulties and nightmares.
Other more severe side effects, though rare, include things like a change to the pallet, vomiting, pain in the abdominal region and bowel movement stress. This last reason has been identified as a significant motive for many people quitting the medication.
Unfortunately, there have been much greater side effects reported associated with varenicline. The American version, Chantix, has been linked to a worsening in condition of patients with cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, the effect seems to be small.
Lastly, there have been reports that associate the use of Champix with depression and even suicide. Back in 2007, the Food and Drug Administration revealed that they had received information identifying vareincline in playing a role in patients beginning erratic and even suicidal behavior. Two years later, the FDA required the American version, Chantix, be sold with a black box warning.
Is It Worth It?
Ultimately, that’s a question only you can answer for yourself. However, it’s not one you should answer without consulting a doctor (which you’ll need to do for the prescription anyway). If you begin taking the drug, be sure to note your mental state regularly and listen to those around you if they say they see a marked difference.