For people who are trying to quit smoking with varenicline, dosing generally starts at half a milligram, taken once a day. After three days, the dosage is increased to twice a day. From the eighth day of treatment until the end of the 12-week treatment period, varenicline dosing guidelines call for 1 mg, taken twice a day.
The dose of varenicline tartrate (Chantix™) that your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- How you respond to varenicline
- Other medications you may be taking
- Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case, do not adjust your varenicline dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
Varenicline is started at a low dose and slowly increased in the following manner:
- Days 1 to 3 -- varenicline 0.5 mg once daily
- Days 4 to 7 -- varenicline 0.5 mg twice daily
- Day 8 to the end of treatment -- varenicline 1 mg twice daily.
You and your healthcare provider will choose a "quit date," which is the day when you will try to stop smoking. Varenicline should be started one week before this date. Feel free to keep smoking as usual before your quit date. Even if you have trouble stopping smoking after your quit date, keep taking varenicline and keep trying to quit.
Alternatively, instead of setting a quit date and starting varenicline a week before that date, you can start taking varenicline and then quit sometime between days 8 and 35 of treatment.
Varenicline should be used for 12 weeks. If you have completely stopped smoking by the end of the 12 weeks, your healthcare provider may recommend taking it for another 12 weeks to help prevent you from starting again. Continued treatment is not recommended for people who have not successfully stopped smoking within the first 12 weeks.
People with kidney disease (such as kidney failure) may need a lower varenicline dosage, depending on the severity of their disease.