quit smoking – cessation by drug – nicotine blocker chantix – how good is it? side effects and risks?


The latest news on this new nicotine receptor blocker to assist you to quit smoking is good but not the great breakthrough. Research is getting hotter.  And we can help patients "shock" that habit with this new drug at a brain receptor level.

What castMD has been told is a reality of about 25 % of patients on this medicine (lest we forget…risks of medicine exist here also) continue to be smoke-free at about 3 months, and about 45 % are smoke-free at about 6 months.  This is the latest scoop on this as compared to previous numbers below.  As with all new drugs, the love affair of the honeymoon settles in to reveal the subsequent anniversaries and the baseline love still there.  Thus, as with new drugs…but this addiction research is approaching marvelous breakthroughs with the MRI, PET, 3D scanners and high tech computer software in the brain research world. 

Many patients have success with the gum, patch, or control device.  Yet many simply quit cold turkey…but often this is after "an event" such as a heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, emphysema attack…landing that patient in the hospital.

The "click of the heels" and make a wish still remains hard work, commitment, and desire to stop smoking.  Moral, family, and friend support must be involved to a level that they all qualify for an "Oscar" for best supporting role!



Journal of the AMA published an article in July, 2006 on the Chantix nicotine receptor blocker and its goal of stopping smoking:

44% of those on Chantix were not smoking at 12 weeks 
29.5%% of those on Zyban were not smoking at 12 weeks 
18% of those on a placebo were not smoking at 12 weeks 
22% of those on Chantix did not smoke from week 9 to 52 
16% of those on Zyban did not smoke from week 9 to 52 
8.4% of those on a placebo did not smoke from week 9 to 52


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced approval of Chantix (varenicline tartrate) tablets, to help cigarette smokers stop smoking. The active ingredient in Chantix, varenicline tartrate, is a new molecular entity that received a priority FDA review because of its significant potential benefit to public health.

Chantix acts at sites in the brain affected by nicotine and may help those who wish to give up smoking in two ways: by providing some nicotine effects to ease the withdrawal symptoms and by blocking the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if they resume smoking.

"Tobacco use, particularly cigarette smoking, is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States and is responsible for a growing list of cancers as well as chronic diseases including those of the lung and heart," said Scott Gottlieb, MD, Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs. "The agency is committed to helping facilitate the development of products to help people quit smoking and improve their overall quality of life."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 44.5 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes and more than 8.6 million of them have at least one serious illness caused by smoking.

"Cigarette smoking is a very difficult habit to break due in large part to nicotine dependence or addiction" said Dr. Steven Galson, Director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Chantix therapy has proven to be effective in smokers motivated to quit and will provide another tool for physicians to use for the millions of smokers who want to quit."

The effectiveness of Chantix in smoking cessation was demonstrated in six clinical trials, which included a total of 3659 chronic cigarette smokers who were treated with varenicline. Five of the six studies were randomized, controlled clinical trials in which Chantix was shown to be superior to placebo in helping people quit smoking.

The approved course of Chantix treatment is 12 weeks. Patients who successfully quit smoking during Chantix treatment may continue with an additional 12 weeks of Chantix treatment to further increase the likelihood of long-term smoking cessation.

In clinical trials, the most common adverse effects of Chantix were nausea, headache, vomiting, flatulence (gas), insomnia, abnormal dreams, and dysgeusia (change in taste perception).

Chantix is manufactured and distributed by Pfizer, Inc., New York, NY.

(adapted from FDA-AMA sources)

One thought on “quit smoking – cessation by drug – nicotine blocker chantix – how good is it? side effects and risks?”

  1. This is absolutely the best thing I have ever had to quit smoking. I have tried the patches twice, hypnosis twice and gums. This hs really worked for me.

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