The majority of smokers would like to quit smoking but have no idea which is the best method. Besides psychotherapy, acupuncture and other alternative healthcare treatments, there are also drugs that have been widely hyped to help individuals discontinue smoking.
So far, all drugs available to help discontinue smoking have been an abysmal failure. Now there is a new drug to help smokers kick the habit. The drug called varenicline (Chantix) is claimed to be the panacea for all smokers.
Varenicline is classified as a nicotine-receptor blocker. The drug has an affinity for nicotine receptors in the brain and, as a result, decreases or stops the pleasant effects of nicotine derived from smoking. In addition, by binding to nicotine receptors, Chantix does induce a mild stimulation, thus decreasing chances of developing withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike all previous non-smoking aides, Chantix appears to work differently. It is believed to act directly on nicotine receptors in the brain and help individuals overcome nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is known to act in such a way as the pleasure derived from nicotine is abolished. Pfizer, the company that produced Chantix, claims that, unlike all other previous anti smoking drugs, it is not a replacement for nicotine, nor is it an antidepressant like bupropion (Zyban).
Recent clinical data from a few clinical trials showed that Chantix was effective as an aid to stopping smoking and was much more effective than Zyban (another drug which was supposed to be the panacea for smokers). After 12 weeks, a significant number of smokers quit smoking. However, despite these trials, reports of individuals who have been helped by Chantix are rare.
Like all drugs, Chantix does have a few side effects, which include:
- Excessive gas
- Difficulty sleeping
- Bizarre dreams
Do not take Chantix if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, or if you are breast-feeding. Chantix has not been studied in these situations, so it is not clear if it is safe for these women.