Information about Varenicline

Varenicline Uses

Varenicline is used for quitting smoking.

How Varenicline works

Varenicline is a smoking cessation aid. It works by mimicking the effect of nicotine by binding to the nicotine receptors in the brain. This reduces the urge to smoke, relieves withdrawal symptoms, and helps you quit smoking.

Common side effects of Varenicline

Nausea, Headache, Insomnia (difficulty in sleeping), Abnormal dreams, Nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the throat and nasal passages)
Written By
Reviewed By
MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
Last updated:
20 Feb 2020 | 02:10 PM (UTC)
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Available Medicine for Varenicline

ChampixPfizer Ltd
1516 to ₹17002 variant(s)

Expert advice for Varenicline

  • Varenicline helps you to quit smoking by reducing the craving for a cigarette and the irritable feeling that occurs when you stop smoking.
  • In addition, counselling should be done to increase the chances of a successful quit attempt.
  • Quitting smoking can lower your chances of having lung disease, heart disease or getting certain types of cancer that are related to smoking.
  • Varenicline can make you very sleepy. Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Stop taking Varenicline and inform your doctor if you notice sudden mood and behavior changes or develop suicidal thoughts.
  • Inform your doctor if you have a history of heart diseases, fits (seizures), or other mental disorders.

Frequently asked questions for Varenicline


Q. Is Varenicline an anti-depressant?

No, Varenicline is not an anti-depressant medicine. It belongs to a class of medicines known as smoking cessation aids. It does not contain any nicotine. It blocks the action of nicotine in your brain and helps to reduce cravings. It also helps with the withdrawal symptoms associated with giving up smoking. Quitting smoking feels like a loss as people associate smoking with pleasure but Varenicline is not an antidepressant.

Q. What's the best time of day to take Varenicline?

You can take Varenicline at any time of the day. However, it is advised to take the medicine at the same time each day so that you remember taking it. Initially, it is prescribed once daily and then twice, morning and evening. Take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Check with your doctor if you are not sure or if you have any queries.

Q. Does Varenicline affect sleep?

Yes, Varenicline may cause sleepiness. It may also cause dizziness, trouble in concentrating, and transient loss of consciousness. You should avoid driving, operating complex machinery, or engaging in any potentially hazardous activity until and unless you know how this medicine affects you.

Q. Can you just stop Varenicline?

If you really want to quit smoking you should continue taking Varenicline as advised by your doctor. However, if you experience serious side effects or if you are not sure consult your doctor. Sudden discontinuation of Varenicline in some cases have resulted in irritability and sleep disturbances. In such cases, gradual tapering of Varenicline is recommended.

Q. Can I take Varenicline and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), together?

Yes, you can take both together for better results, as they do not interfere with working of each other. However, taking these medicines together is not recommended since there are increased chances of side effects, which might force you to stop all treatment together. The side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, upset stomach, and tiredness.

Q. How should I take Varenicline?

Take it as prescribed by your doctor. Take it after a meal with a full glass of water. Swallow the medicine without breaking or crushing. There are 3 ways which can help you quit with Varenicline. Firstly, choosing a quit date when you will stop smoking and start taking Varenicline 1 week prior to that date. Secondly, take Varenicline for 12 weeks. Pick a date to quit smoking between days 8 and 35 of treatment and take it for 12 weeks. Lastly, if you are sure that you are not able or willing to quit smoking right away, start taking Varenicline and reduce smoking during the first 12 weeks of treatment. Aim to quit smoking by the end of 12 week. An additional 12 weeks of treatment is recommended for successful quitters to increase the likelihood of complete cessation of smoking.

Q. Can I continue smoking while on Varenicline?

If you really want to quit smoking, it is best to first decide on a quit date and stick to it. Initially the process to quit smoking may seem very difficult. However, for the first 1-2 weeks you can continue smoking. Continuing to smoke after your ‘quit date’ is not dangerous but will mean that you are less likely to quit successfully. Varenicline may help you in the process as it reduces the effect of cigarettes if you do smoke when on treatment.

Q. Can I take again if I took it before and did not quit?

Speak to your doctor about whether another course of Varenicline will be right for you. Another course can only be started if you are motivated to quit smoking and were not able to do so during prior Varenicline treatment for reasons other than side effects or you returned to smoking after quitting.


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