What Is Varenicline Used For?
Varenicline is used for helping people to stop smoking. It works by preventing some of the pleasurable effects of smoking and reducing effects of nicotine withdrawal. At this time, it is not approved for use in children or adolescents. Animal studies suggest that in the future, using the drug to treat alcoholism may be one of the off-label varenicline uses.
Quitting smoking has many beneficial effects. It improves lung function, decreases cancer risk, lowers blood pressure, and decreases your chance of heart disease. Unfortunately, most people find quitting smoking to be very difficult. This is most likely due to the addicting effects of nicotine. It usually takes people several attempts to successfully stop smoking.
Varenicline has been shown to increase your chances of quitting smoking. Studies have shown that it may be more effective than Zyban® (bupropion SR), another smoking cessation medication.
Varenicline works in a unique manner. Although the drug does not contain nicotine, it binds to nicotine receptors in the brain. This helps people quit smoking in two different ways. First, when the drug binds to the nicotine receptor, it blocks nicotine from binding, which prevents some of the pleasurable effects of smoking. Second, varenicline acts a little like nicotine when it binds to the receptor, which helps to decrease the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Varenicline is not approved to help children or adolescents stop smoking. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using the drug in children or adolescents.