Review

Chantix Review—Can It Help You Quit Your Bad Habits?

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Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant that can be the cause of some very nasty conditions such as blood clots, atherosclerosis, peptic ulcers, and many others. Trying to fight and suppress nicotine addiction can be an uphill battle, which is why many people seek help in medicine – especially Chantix.

This “cure” is becoming increasingly more popular due to its alleged benefits, but it does have a fair share of side effects. Is Chantix really worth using, and can it help you quit your bad habits?

Contents

A Closer Look

Chantix is a prescription medication that works in two different ways: it replicates the effects of nicotine in a person’s brain, but also prevents any interaction between the actual nicotine and the human organism. Essentially, it blocks off the euphoria associated with nicotine consumption, which translates into reduced cravings.

When you smoke or vape, nicotine comes into contact with its corresponding receptors. Once these receptors are activated, they affect breathing, heart rate, overall brain chemistry, and even mood – which is where the feeling of joy comes from. Still, Chantix isn’t a replacement for nicotine like patches and lozenges are.

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Efficacy Studies

A study conducted in 2016 separated almost 2000 participants who smoked into three groups. The first group was subjected to a 12-week Chantix treatment, the second group to a bupropion treatment (another type of nicotine addiction medicine), while the third group took a placebo. 44% of the participants who took Chantix stopped smoking within those 12 weeks, compared to 30% in the bupropion group and 18% in the placebo group.

One year after the study, participants were questioned about their smoking habits. 23% of the people who underwent Chantix treatment remained abstinent from smoking, compared to 15% and 8% for bupropion and placebo groups, respectively.

Further research showed that prolonging the treatment for an additional 12 weeks can significantly reduce the chances of relapse and nicotine cravings. This establishes Chantix as the most effective medicine, far above bupropion.

Preparation

Chantix is a drug with potent effects. Under no circumstances should it be taken on one’s own accord. It’s important to regularly consult a medical professional and strictly follow their dosage instructions. Before you start using Chantix, there are a couple of preemptive measures that can help improve your experience while on the drug.

Setting a Date

When starting the treatment, you should have an idea of the timeframe in which you want to cut off all nicotine consumption completely. This date can also be set after you’ve already started using Chantix. For most people, this will be one to two weeks from the day that they took their first pill. If you’re having trouble finding the most appropriate date, your doctor can set it for you. Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to stick to your plan.

Finding Support

Even if you think that you’re strong enough to go through the treatment on your own, having some support can make a huge difference. Each new Chantix user is encouraged to participate in a quit-smoking program or seek counseling simultaneously. This can help ease any potential side effects and reduce the chances of relapse.
chantix review--Can it help to quit bad habits

Proper Usage

Unsurprisingly, studies show that users who took higher dosages had the best quit rates. Although it might be tempting to start with the highest possible intake, this can be dangerous when you’re unsure of the effect that it might have on your overall state. The dosage will differ among individuals in accordance with their age and their initial reaction to it.

Chantix use is not recommended to people under the age of 18. Most of the treatments start with lower doses in the first couple of days – around 0.5mg a day. From there, the dosage gets increasingly higher up to 1mg twice a day. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and not take any more medicine than prescribed. This can only worsen the side effects and ultimately harm your progress.

To get the biggest benefit, try to consume Chantix around the same time each day. It works best when taken after a meal with plenty of water. The treatment process usually lasts for 12 weeks. Even if you do manage to quit in that time frame, your doctor might prescribe you an additional 12 weeks to help keep you off of smoking.

Health Concerns

Unfortunately, Chantix carries some very serious potential adverse effects with it, which is why some experts discourage its use. These are mostly related to overall mental health, but it can also have a big impact on a person’s physical condition.

A testament to these effects is a black box warning which the FDA organization had to introduce to this cure after a large number of users issued complaints. This warning notifies potential consumers about possible neuropsychiatric events such as depression, suicidal thoughts and a number of other mental health problems.

A recent study showed a significant connection in the cases of self-harm and depression, with more than 90% of them being linked to Chantix use. This is what caused many medical professionals to recommend this type of treatment only as of the ultimate last resort. The risk of mental health problems might be increased by consuming alcohol during treatment, as well as going through withdrawal symptoms.

Other problems include an increased risk of a heart attack or a stroke, seizures, shortness of breath, chest pain, etc. They are a lot less prominent, but you should take any symptoms seriously and immediately notify your doctor about them. This might prompt a lower dosage, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In case you happen to miss a dose, never take the double amount on your next one. If you notice it early, it’s safe to take it then, but make sure that you do it as soon as possible.

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Interactions with Other Drugs & Previous Health Problems

Although Chantix doesn’t seem to interact with a lot of other medicines, it’s essential to give your doctor a list of everything that you’re currently taking. Your dosage might be slightly modified if you’re taking multiple medications simultaneously. Chantix also has a moderate interaction with ethanol, which is why you should ideally stop any alcohol consumption.

As far as disease interactions are concerned, there are a couple of highly significant ones. If you already have existing mental health issues, risks far outweigh the benefits, and you should avoid Chantix altogether. Other possible interactions include alcoholism, renal impairment, and seizures.

Alternatives

These are some of the safer ways that might help you quit smoking, so you don’t have to risk the numerous side effects of Chantix:

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

One of the most popular methods out there, NRT implies the use of nicotine patches, lozenges, inhalers, or nose sprays to consume nicotine. They increase the chances of quitting by 55%, but you’re still going to experience withdrawal symptoms. Also, they can get pretty expensive and can’t be used during pregnancy. On the bright side, their adverse effects are minimal, and they have no impact on mental health.

Bupropion

Bupropion, also known as Zyban, is another top-rated medicine that can reduce cravings and mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Unlike Chantix, bupropion isn’t plagued by as many side effects, but it should still be taken with caution. The success rate is a bit lower, which is to be expected since it’s a lot less dangerous. Still, it’s potent and should be your second-to-last resort.

Quit Smoking Programs

Many people swear by well-organized quit smoking programs. These can be either in-person, online, or over the phone, with the first option being the most effective. Sessions give you an ability to talk about your problems and receive support from those going through the same experience. Knowing that you’re not the only one struggling could be enough to get you to quit successfully.

Deciding to stop with your bad habits is half the job done. Whether you choose Chantix, bupropion, or any other method, the most crucial thing is being persistent and not giving up. A lot of people have managed to quit before you, which is why you can do it too. Before using any medication, make sure to consult a medical professional.

Should You Try It?

This is a tough question to answer since it all depends on the individual. You won’t find any other medicine with a better success rate, but this also goes for the number of side effects that it may cause. Thoughts of medical professionals are conflicted – some claim that the chances of severe impacts far outweigh the potential benefits, while others say that the dangers are blown out of proportion. Which side is right remains to be seen, as there aren’t enough studies to draw a definite conclusion.

If you’ve been smoking for a long time and no other options worked for you, the chances are that Chantix is going to be your saving grace. Keep in mind that successful treatment still isn’t guaranteed – its success rate is less than 20% over one year. Using Chantix alongside nicotine patches and having a positive, determined mindset could boost your chances of success. Still, there are other options which might be a better choice for you.

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