Question

Dependency Agent

What are the side effects of varenicline?

A Answers (4)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Most side effects of varenicline (Chantix), such as nausea, sleep problems, constipation, gas and vomiting, are minimal and resolve on their own. Tell your doctor if these persist or become bothersome.

    Call your doctor if you experience other, more serious side effects, including coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or hyperventilation.

    Some side effects can affect your mood and cause feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness, panic or depression. Call 911 if you have hallucinations, restlessness, agitation or suicidal thoughts.

    Call 1-800-FDA-1088 to report any side effects of varenicline to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • AFrank Leone, MD, Addiction Medicine, answered on behalf of Penn Medicine

    Varenicline can be used to help you stop smoking, as it reduces the urge to smoke. However, it may cause some side effects. These include:

    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Insomnia
    • Abnormal dreams

    It is recommended that you take varenicline with food and/or water to reduce nausea.

  • AHoward Shaffer, MD, Addiction Medicine, answered
    When varenicline (Chantix) was first approved as a stop-smoking aid, doctors and smokers were eager to try it. After all, it was significantly more effective than bupropion or nicotine replacement. As is the case for all new drugs, unexpected side effects began to pop up as millions of people tried the drug. Some of the more serious problems are agitation, depression, suicidal thinking, vivid dreams, and drowsiness. The medication also has been linked to a small increase in the risk of heart attacks and related problems among people who have heart disease.
  • ARealAge answered
    As with all drugs, varenicline has some possible drawbacks you need to be aware of:
    • Before taking varenicline, tell your healthcare provider if you have any history of psychiatric illness.
    • If you have feelings of anxiety, nervousness, tension, depression, unusual behavior, or thoughts about suicide while taking varenicline or after you stop taking it, call your healthcare provider immediately.
    • If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or hope to become pregnant, you cannot take varenicline.
    • If you are taking varenicline, you cannot use nicotine replacement therapy.
    • If very vivid and unusual dreams disturb your sleep, talk with your doctor about lowering the dose.
    • Be alert to any change in your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.
    • As your body adjusts to varenicline, you may have digestive side effects, such as constipation and gas. If you experience nausea or vomiting, try taking the drug after eating and with a full glass of water.
    • If you have kidney problems, a lower dose of varenicline may be safer for you.

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When should I call the doctor if I am taking varenicline?