varenicline, Chantix

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Exposure to Secondhand Smoke May Lower Children's IQ

Medical Author Melissa Stöppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR

A study shows that children who are exposed to tobacco smokein the home may have lower IQs than their unexposed peers.

Despite mounting evidence about the perils of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in children, 40% of children in the United States are routinely exposed to secondhand smoke, termed environmental tobacco smoke(ETS), in their own homes. ETS has already been definitively linked to a number of medical problems in children, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),colic, middle ear disease, worsening of asthmasymptoms, and other respiratory problems. Research has also begun to suggest that ETS may be neurotoxic, or damaging to the nervous system, with potential effects on the development of intellect and reasoning skills in children.

GENERIC NAME: varenicline

BRAND NAME: Chantix

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Varenicline is an oral drug that is used to promote cessation of smoking. It competes with nicotine from cigarettes for binding to nicotine receptors in the brain. Although varenicline stimulates nicotine receptors like nicotine, it blocks the stronger stimulation by nicotine. Therefore, smokers do not experience the full effect of smoking while taking varenicline. The FDA approved varenicline in May 2006.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Varenicline is an aid for smoking cessation.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common adverse effects of varenicline are:

Headaches, abnormal dreams and taste disturbance also are frequent side effects of varenicline. Varenicline is not addictive and is not a controlled substance; however, some patients may experience irritability and sleep disturbance if varenicline is abruptly discontinued. Varenicline may worsen symptoms of underlying heart disease. Patients may experience psychiatric symptoms such as behavioral changes, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal behavior during varenicline treatment. Patients should stop taking varenicline if psychiatric symptoms occur. Rare life threatening skin reactions and hypersensitivity reactions have been reported.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2015

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