Nicotine addiction occurs when people smoke cigarettes. When smokers light up their cigarette and take their first drag, an instantaneous effect on the brain happens within the first 10 seconds and they will continue to pursue the effects ongoing. The buzz that a nicotine user gets comes from the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors which affect brain neurotransmitters that also influence appetite, memory, and mood. The nicotine connects with nerve cell receptors in the brain that create the same pleasant reaction.
Once someone is addicted to the nicotine that is found naturally in tobacco that is rolled in cigarettes, it can be a difficult process to stop smoking. People may try to go cold turkey without being successful. While some may use other methods such as the patch, nicotine gum, or lozenges to try to stop smoking only to find themselves still addicted to just another form of nicotine.
Another method to stop smoking came onto the market in 2006 in the form of prescription medication. Chantix, a nicotine antagonistic drug also known as Varenicline Tartrate, is a cessation aid to kick nicotine addiction. A 12-week plan is put into motion by taking a tablet orally to stop smoking once a day for the first three days and twice a day until the end of the 12-weeks.
There are mixed reviews about the success rate of Chantix. Although, the manufacturer of Chantix, Pfizer, promotes a success rate of 44 percent, there have been other clinical reports that suggest that only 14 percent of people using Chantix quit smoking. The difference between the numbers comes from the length of time that each study took, as well as, different variables that contributed to both studies. One of the main factors was the professional therapy and support that Chantix used for their 2006 study that they still use today as the data collected for their success rate. Chantix does work for some people, but with any addiction it is important to have support to maintain long-term cessation.
People using Chantix have reported serious side effects that have started with taking the drug. Some have had health issues that include nausea, sleep disturbances along with crazy dreams, and gastrointestinal issues. Others have had changes in their mental health that have made them hostile or depressed, and have brought up thoughts of suicide in which they have succeeded in.
Like with any prescription drug that is taken, a doctor should be consulted and given a full disclosure of any previous mental health problems that include depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. If someone can identify these risks, Chantix may not be the miracle drug to quit smoking that they were hoping for.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at: 1-800-273-8255
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