Chantix, also known as varenicline (Chantix’s generic name), is a smoking cessation drug manufactured and marketed by Pfizer. Chantix received FDA approval in May 2006. Chantix is a popular drug with more than 3.5 million users in the United States. In 2007, Chantix sales reached $101 million.

How does Chantix Work?

Chantix works by blocking the effect nicotine has on the brain. Nicotine from cigarettes causes the brain’s receptors to release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine gives cigarette smokers a sudden and temporary positive feeling. When a person stops smoking, the dopamine withdrawal causes irritability and lack of concentration.

Chantix reduces nicotine withdrawal by releasing low levels of dopamine. Additionally, Chantix blocks the nicotine receptors in the brain. This prevents the brain’s receptors from releasing dopamine, thereby reducing nicotine pleasures. Eventually, Chantix will reduce, and may even stop, the smoker’s desire for cigarettes. Chantix is the only FDA approved medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and reduces nicotine pleasures.

Chantix Side Effects

Chantix is linked to several severe side effects including:

  • Depression / Suicidal thoughts
  • Violence
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Insomnia / Abnormal dreams
  • Heart rhythm disturbances

FDA Warning

On November 20, 2007, the FDA issued an Early Communication stating that it was studying reports that Chantix causes psychiatric problems. On February 1, 2008, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory (which is a stronger warning than an Early Communication) detailing the link between Chantix use and depression / suicide. The FDA requested that Pfizer, Chantix’s manufacturer, place a new safety warning on Chantix’s label and distribute Medication Guides to patients describing the side effect.

Contact Us Regarding Chantix

If you or a loved one has been injured by Chantix use, please contact us today to assess your legal rights.

Published November 17, 2011 by