CHANTIX® (varenicline) tablets

CHANTIX® (varenicline) tablets

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CHANTIX® (varenicline) tablets

CHANTIX tablets contain varenicline (as the tartrate salt), which is a partial nicotinic agonist selective for α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes.

Varenicline, as the tartrate salt, is a powder which is a white to off-white to slightly yellow solid with the following chemical name: 7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-6,10-methano6H-pyrazino[2,3- h][3]benzazepine, (2R,3R)-2,3-dihydroxybutanedioate (1:1). It is highly soluble in water. Varenicline tartrate has a molecular weight of 361.35 Daltons, and a molecular formula of C13H13N3 • C4H6O6.

Indications and usage

CHANTIX is a nicotinic receptor partial agonist indicated for use as an aid to smoking cessation treatment.

Mechanism of Action

Varenicline binds with high affinity and selectivity at α4β2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The efficacy of CHANTIX in smoking cessation is believed to be the result of varenicline’s activity at α4β2 sub-type of the nicotinic receptor where its binding produces agonist activity, while simultaneously preventing nicotine binding to these receptors.

Electrophysiology studies in vitro and neurochemical studies in vivo have shown that varenicline binds to α4β2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and stimulates receptor-mediated activity, but at a significantly lower level than nicotine. Varenicline blocks the ability of nicotine to activate α4β2 receptors and thus to stimulate the central nervous mesolimbic dopamine system, believed to be the neuronal mechanism underlying reinforcement and reward experienced upon smoking. Varenicline is highly selective and binds more potently to α4β2 receptors than to other common nicotinic receptors (>500-fold α3β4, >3,500-fold α7, >20,000-fold α1βγδ), or to nonnicotinic receptors and transporters (>2,000-fold). Varenicline also binds with moderate affinity (Ki = 350 nM) to the 5-HT3 receptor.

Dosage and administration

  • Begin CHANTIX dosing one week before the date set by the patient to stop smoking. Alternatively, the patient can begin CHANTIX dosing and then quit smoking between days 8 and 35 of treatment.
  • Starting Week: 0.5 mg once daily on days 1-3 and 0.5 mg twice daily on days 4-7.
  • Continuing Weeks: 1 mg twice daily for a total of 12 weeks.
  • An additional 12 weeks of treatment is recommended for successful quitters to increase likelihood of long-term abstinence.
  • Consider a gradual approach to quitting smoking with CHANTIX for patients who are sure that they are not able or willing to quit abruptly. Patients should begin CHANTIX dosing and reduce smoking by 50% from baseline within the first four weeks, by an additional 50% in the next four weeks, and continue reducing with the goal of reaching complete abstinence by 12 weeks. Continue treatment for an additional 12 weeks, for a total of 24 weeks.
  • Severe Renal Impairment (estimated creatinine clearance less than 30 mL/min): Begin with 0.5 mg once daily and titrate to 0.5 mg twice daily. For patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis, a maximum of 0.5 mg daily may be given if tolerated.
  • Consider dose reduction for patients who cannot tolerate adverse effects.
  • Another attempt at treatment is recommended for those who fail to stop smoking or relapse when factors contributing to the failed attempt have been addressed.
  • Provide patients with appropriate educational materials and counseling to support the quit attempt.


History of serious hypersensitivity or skin reactions to CHANTIX.

Warnings and precautions

  • Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events: Postmarketing reports of serious or clinically significant neuropsychiatric adverse events have included changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, aggression, hostility, agitation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide. Observe patients attempting to quit smoking with CHANTIX for the occurrence of such symptoms and instruct them to discontinue CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider if they experience such adverse events.
  • Seizures: New or worsening seizures have been observed in patients taking CHANTIX. CHANTIX should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or other factors that can lower the seizure threshold.
  • Interaction with Alcohol: Increased effects of alcohol have been reported. Instruct patients to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume until they know whether CHANTIX affects them.
  • Accidental Injury: Accidental injuries (e.g., traffic accidents) have been reported. Instruct patients to use caution driving or operating machinery until they know how CHANTIX may affect them.
  • Cardiovascular Events: Patients with underlying cardiovascular (CV) disease may be at increased risk of CV events; however, these concerns must be balanced with the health benefits of smoking cessation. Instruct patients to notify their healthcare providers of new or worsening CV symptoms and to seek immediate medical attention if they experience signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke.
  • Somnambulism: Cases of somnambulism have been reported in patients taking CHANTIX. Some cases described harmful behavior to self, others, or property. Instruct patients to discontinue CHANTIX and notify their healthcare provider if they experience somnambulism.
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  • Angioedema and Hypersensitivity Reactions: Such reactions, including angioedema, infrequently life-threatening, have been reported. Instruct patients to discontinue CHANTIX and immediately seek medical care if symptoms occur.
  • Serious Skin Reactions: Rare, potentially life-threatening skin reactions have been reported. Instruct patients to discontinue CHANTIX and contact a healthcare provider immediately at first appearance of skin rash with mucosal lesions.
  • Nausea: Nausea is the most common adverse reaction (up to 30% incidence rate). Dose reduction may be helpful.

Adverse reactions

Most common adverse reactions (>5% and twice the rate seen in placebo-treated patients) were nausea, abnormal (e.g., vivid, unusual, or strange) dreams, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting.

Drug interactions

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): Although co-administration of varenicline (1 mg twice daily) and transdermal nicotine (21 mg/day) for up to 12 days did not affect nicotine pharmacokinetics, the incidence of nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, dyspepsia, and fatigue was greater for the combination than for NRT alone. In this study, eight of twenty-two (36%) patients treated with the combination of varenicline and NRT prematurely discontinued treatment due to adverse events, compared to 1 of 17 (6%) of patients treated with NRT and placebo.

Effect of Smoking Cessation on Other Drugs: Physiological changes resulting from smoking cessation, with or without treatment with CHANTIX, may alter the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of certain drugs (e.g., theophylline, warfarin, insulin) for which dosage adjustment may be necessary.

Use in specific populations

Pregnancy: Available data have not suggested an increased risk for major birth defects following exposure to varenicline in pregnancy, compared with women who smoke. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with maternal, fetal, and neonatal.

Smoking during pregnancy causes increased risks of orofacial clefts, premature rupture of membranes, placenta previa, placental abruption, ectopic pregnancy, fetal growth restriction and low birth weight, stillbirth, preterm delivery and shortened gestation, neonatal death, sudden infant death syndrome and reduction of lung function in infants. It is not known whether quitting smoking with CHANTIX during pregnancy reduces these risks.

Lactation: There are no data on the presence of varenicline in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. In animal studies varenicline was present in milk of lactating rats. However, due to species-specific differences in lactation physiology, animal data may not reliably predict drug levels in human milk. The lack of clinical data during lactation precludes a clear determination of the risk of CHANTIX to an infant during lactation; however the developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for CHANTIX and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from CHANTIX or from the underlying maternal condition.

Because there are no data on the presence of varenicline in human milk and the effects on the breastfed infant, breastfeeding women should monitor their infant for seizures and excessive vomiting, which are adverse reactions that have occurred in adults that may be clinically relevant in breastfeeding infants.

Pediatric Use: CHANTIX is not recommended for use in pediatric patients 16 years of age or younger because its efficacy in this population was not demonstrated.

Geriatric Use: A combined single- and multiple-dose pharmacokinetic study demonstrated that the pharmacokinetics of 1 mg varenicline given once daily or twice daily to 16 healthy elderly male and female smokers (aged 65-75 years) for 7 consecutive days was similar to that of younger subjects. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

Renal Impairment: Varenicline is substantially eliminated by renal glomerular filtration along with active tubular secretion. Dose reduction is not required in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment. For patients with severe renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance <30 mL/min), and for patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis, dosage adjustment is needed.


In case of overdose, standard supportive measures should be instituted as required.

Varenicline has been shown to be dialyzed in patients with end-stage renal disease, however, there is no experience in dialysis following overdose.


Store at 25ºC (77ºF); excursions permitted to 15–30ºC (59–86ºF) (see USP Controlled Room Temperature).

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