"The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed the labeling on the smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix, Pfizer Inc) to reflect concerns that the drug may lower tolerance to alcohol and is linked to a rare risk for seizures"...
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
VARENICLINE - ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Chantix
WARNING: Infrequently, varenicline may cause serious mental/mood changes, even after stopping the medication. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication may increase the risk for mental/mood changes. Quitting smoking itself may also cause mental/mood changes. Stop taking varenicline and tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you have symptoms such as depression/suicidal thoughts, agitation, aggressiveness, or other unusual thoughts or behavior.
USES: This medication is used in combination with a stop-smoking program (e.g., education materials, support group, counseling) to help you quit smoking. Varenicline works by blocking nicotine's actions in the brain. Quitting smoking decreases your risk of heart and lung disease, as well as cancer.
Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, as well as other ways to quit smoking (such as nicotine replacement treatment), with your doctor.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking varenicline and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. There are two ways to use varenicline to help you quit smoking. The first way is to set a date to quit smoking before beginning treatment with this drug. Begin taking varenicline as directed by your doctor, 1 week before the quit date. When you first start taking this medication, take one 0.5-milligram tablet once a day for 3 days, then increase to one 0.5-milligram tablet twice a day for 4 days. The dose is slowly increased to lessen the chance of side effects (such as nausea, unusual dreams). During this first week, it is okay to smoke. Stop smoking on the quit date and begin taking the dose prescribed by your doctor twice a day for the rest of the 12-week treatment period. The second way to use varenicline is to start taking the drug before you choose a date to quit smoking. Start with the 0.5-milligram tablets and increase the dose as directed by your doctor. Pick a date to quit smoking that is between days 8 and 35 of treatment. Stop smoking on the chosen quit date. No matter which way you use varenicline, always follow your doctor's directions carefully.
If this medication comes in a dosing package, carefully follow the directions on the dosing package. There are two types of dosing packs, a starting pack and a continuing pack, each containing different strengths of this medication. If this medication comes in a bottle, carefully follow your doctor's directions on the prescription label. If you have any questions about how to take this medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth after food and with a full glass of water.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.
Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and the risk of serious side effects may be increased. Do not take more than 1 milligram twice a day.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
Inform your doctor if you continue to smoke after a few weeks of treatment.
If you are successful and cigarette-free after 12 weeks of treatment, your doctor may recommend another 12 weeks of treatment with varenicline.
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