Varenicline (Chantix)

Full prescribing guide

This medication is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for smoking cessation. Marketed by Pfizer, Inc. under the brand name Chantix, this prescription-only medication is intended to help smokers quit in two ways. It blocks some of the rewarding effects of nicotine (acts as an antagonist) and at the same time stimulates the receptors in a way that reduces withdrawal (acts as an agonist).

LA Times: Chantix May Work Better If Taken Before Quitting

FDA Removes Boxed Warning
On December 16, 2016, t
he FDA has removed the boxed warning regarding serious neuropsychiatric events from two stop-smoking medicines, varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban). Based on a review of a large clinical trial, FDA has determined the risk of serious side effects on mood, behavior, or thinking is lower than previously suspected.


The risk of these mental health side effects is still present, especially in those currently being treated for mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia, or who have been treated for mental illnesses in the past. However, most people who had these side effects did not have serious consequences such as hospitalization. The results of the trial confirm that the benefits of stopping smoking outweigh the risks of these medicines.

Health care professionals
 should counsel patients about the benefits of stopping smoking and how they can get help to quit, and discuss the benefits and risks of using medicines to help them quit smoking.


Patients should stop taking Chantix or Zyban and call their health care professionals right away if they notice any side effects on mood, behavior, or thinking. Patients should also talk to their health care professionals for help and information about stopping smoking, including about whether stop-smoking medicines may help or if they have any questions or concerns about taking a medicine (See Related Information for more quit smoking resources).

See Your Doctor
There’s no magic medication to cure addiction to nicotine. However, these medications can increase your chances of quitting two- or three-fold. It’s important to discuss any medication with your doctor to be sure you're using it safely, at the correct dosage and for the appropriate duration.    

You CAN Afford to Quit