Varenicline is used as an aid for smoking cessation. This medicine helps reduce your cravings to smoke and also the withdrawal symptoms if you stop smoking.
This medicine is meant to be taken as part of a complete smoking cessation programme that should include patient education and counselling.
Take Varenicline exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether you should take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water.
Varenicline must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take Varenicline if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine or any of its ingredients.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- heart disease
- history of mood disorders
- history of seizures
- kidney disease or undergoing dialysis
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
What lifestyle changes can I make to help myself quit smoking?
- Routine tests (e.g. kidney function, electrolyte levels) may be done while you are being treated with Varenicline. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring for unusual changes in mood or behaviour, signs of depression and suicidal thoughts may also be needed.
Do not give in to cigarette cravings even for one single puff. Avoid groups or places which may encourage smoking. Engaging in sports or exercise and eating healthy foods are effective methods in countering such cravings.
Communicate with others and establish a support group. Always remind yourself about the benefits of quitting smoking (e.g. reduced risk of developing diseases caused by smoking, improved general health, increased life expectancy).
Varenicline may cause dizziness, sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating and temporary loss of consciousness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, difficulty sleeping, abnormal dreams, nausea, constipation, vomiting, indigestion, dry mouth, diarrhoea, stomach wind, altered taste, toothache, cough, weight gain, increased or decreased appetite, tiredness, and joint, muscle or back pain.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- having thoughts of self-harm
- unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, anxious, aggressive, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
- seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not existent
- chest pain, difficulty breathing
- fits or seizures
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- nicotine (other medicine for smoking cessation)
- cimetidine (medicine that reduces stomach acid production)
- warfarin (blood-thinning medicine)
- theophylline (asthma medicine)
- insulin (medicine for diabetes)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Varenicline.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Varenicline may worsen the side effects caused by alcohol.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.