Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share

Varenicline Fact Sheet

Description of Product:
Varenicline, also known as Chantix®, is a prescription medication that eases nicotine withdrawal symptoms and blocks the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if the user starts smoking again.
Unlike NRT products, smokers should begin treatment with varenicline 1 week before they quit smoking. Take 0.5 mg once a day for 3 days. Then increase to 0.5 mg twice daily for 4 days. Then increase again to 1 mg twice daily for 3 months. For maintenance therapy, use varenicline for up to 6 months. Note: Smokers should quit smoking on day 8 when the dosage increases to 1 mg twice daily.
Side Effects:
Side effects may include:
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Change in dreaming
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
There have been rare reports of mood swings, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Your doctor will want to monitor this carefully. Please check the FDA Web site for updates about this medication:
This fact sheet was created to give you a general understanding of this medication. Please note that this fact sheet may not provide you with all the information you need to make a decision about using this medication. Always read the instructions on the package carefully and talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a severe medical problem, talk with your doctor before starting any new medication.
Special Precautions:
Pregnancy/breastfeeding: Smokers who are pregnant or breastfeeding should try to quit first without using varenicline. Varenicline should be used during pregnancy only if the associated benefits outweigh the associated risks.

Kidney problems: Smokers should not use varenicline if they have kidney problems.

Heart conditions: Smokers who have serious heart conditions should consult their doctor before starting varenicline.

References: Information in the medication guide and fact sheets is from a variety of sources, such as product information guides; manufacturers' Web sites, medical Web sites, and articles in the medical literature, including Corelli RL & Hudman KS. Pharmacologic interventions for smoking cessation, Crit Care Nurs Clin N Am 2006;18, 39–51.