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Chantix May Help Heavy Drinkers Cut Down

By May 9, 2012

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A drug used to help people stop smoking may also help heavy drinkers cut back the amount they drink, thereby reducing their harmful level of alcohol consumption. A study of the drug varenicline, marketed as Chantix, significantly reduced the level of consumption by a group of heavy-drinking smokers, who were seeking treatment for smoking, not for alcohol.

Researchers believe the drug could possibly be a new treatment for those who need to reduce their level of harmful drinking.

At the Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers studied 64 patients seeking treatment for smoking cessation over a 16-week period.

Part of the group was given Chantix and the other a placebo.

Average Number of Drinks Reduced

The participants who took Chantix reduced their average number of drinks per week by 35.32% compared to those taking the placebo. The researchers found that the drug's effects on drinking were separate from its effects on smoking - there was no correlation between the average number of drink and the average number of cigarettes they smoked.

The study found that Chantix did not reduce the number of days per week the participants drank, but reduced the number of drinks they consumed when they did drink.

"People initiated drinking at the same rate, but they drank less once they started," said lead author Jennifer Mitchell. "If your usual pattern was to come home and have a few beers, you would still do that, but you might have one or two instead of four or five."

Reducing Harmful Drinking

The authors concluded that Chantix could potentially be valuable in reducing the harm caused by alcohol abuse.

"If you currently drink seven drinks a night, and we can turn that into two or three, then you're not only drinking at a level that's going to harm you less, you're less likely to harm others, as well. If we could lower the rates of drunk driving, spousal and child abuse and other secondary effects of alcoholism, that would be tremendous," Mitchell said in a news release.

Chantix helps people stop smoking by blocking the pleasant effects of nicotine in the brain. The authors believe that alcohol and nicotine use a common pathway in the brain to provide feelings of pleasure and reward.

Low Side Effects in Controlled Group

The downside to Chantix, however, is the negative side effects of producing depression and thoughts of suicide. In this study, the researchers said the side effects were low and reduced over time, but that may be due to the fact that participants were carefully screened for mental health disorders before they were allowed into the study.

The researchers recommend future studies with participants who have comorbid mental health conditions as well as with heavy drinkers who do not smoke.

Source: Mitchell JM, et al. "Varenicline decreases alcohol consumption in heavy-drinking smokers." Psychopharmacology. 1 May 2012.

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Comments
May 9, 2012 at 10:53 am
(1) TERRI says:

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHANTIX IS SO POWERFUL AND UNDPREDICTABLE, ONCE IN YOUR SYSTEM, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK!!!! THIS PILL WILL OWN YOU AND EVEN THO YOU WILL ACTUALLY FEEL YOURSELF SPIRALING…THERE’S NOT A DAMN THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!

I KNOW FOR A FACT HOW THIS LITTLE, BLUE PILL CAN PUT YOU OVER THE TOP!!! WHO’D OF THOUGHT A PILL THIS DAMAGING WOULD BE PUT ON THE MARKET AND BE FDA APPROVED???!!!! CERTAINLY NOT ME!!!!!!!! I TRUSTED EVERYONE BLINDLY INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS!!!!!!!!!

DON’T BELIEVE FOR ONE MINUTE THE SIDE EFFECTS CAN’T/WON’T HAPPEN TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!! THEY MOST CERTAINLY CAN AND WILL!!!! AND, NO ONE…BUT, NO ONE, WILL BE THERE TO CATCH YOU WHEN YOU FALL!!!! THIS IS ONE, VERY, VERY, SCARY, UNPREDICTABLE, POWERFUL, ALL CONSUMING, DRUG!!!!

LEARNED THE HARD WAY, WE ARE ALL BEING LIED TO!!!! THIS IS A COLD, GREEDY WORLD WE LIVE IN AND THE SOONER YOU ABSORB THAT AND OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS, THE BETTER AND SAFER!!!! FOR ALL!!!!!!!!!!! DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH BEFORE YOU PUT ANYTHING NEW INTO YOUR MOUTH/BODY!!! NO ONE HAS YOUR BACK!!!! NO ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 14, 2012 at 9:58 am
(2) SHEE says:

I totally AGREE!!!!
ALWAYS “Google” reviews ON “ANYTHING”!!! Google is OUR FRIEND!!!
MANY MEDICATIONS have BAD SIDE EFFECTS! BE SAFE for “YOU”!!!
BLESSINGS!!!

May 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm
(3) Karen says:

EVIL. I know someone who is now like nuts after taking this “drug” to stop smoking. DO NOT TAKE IT. Gaba helps naturally, look it up:)

May 20, 2012 at 3:52 am
(4) solomon says:

Is dis drug available in nigerian market?

July 21, 2012 at 3:44 am
(5) Alan says:

I took Champix 18 months ago and stopped smoking within 10 days. I never even thought about a cigarette again for 12 month until I foolishly accepted one whilst on holiday. I am currently on week 3 of another course and stopped smoking over a week ago.
Even more amazingly, I have also stopped drinking, which had become a serious problem, drinking heavy every evening and all day at weekends.
When you first start taking this drug it does make you feel sick and wooly headed, but I would rather put up with that for a few short weeks than be a slave to addiction for the rest of my life.
Don’t be put off by the comments above, there’s no harm in trying Champix, if its not for you then just stop. I believe its saved my life.

August 15, 2012 at 1:42 am
(6) TLove says:

I started Chantix four years ago, and yes at first it did do wired thing, like the scariest dreams I ever had in my life, but not just scary, mind tripping. I quit after over 19 years of smoking, so to me the dreams were well worth it. So much as that I just requested another prescription from my doctor. Yes I am smoking again, as the post above me, I was stupid and picked up a cigarette , and then another and another. Even thought at first they were the nastiest things.

Please if you are serious about smoking, talk to your doctor, better yet others you may know that may have used it before you take the capital letter comment above.

Yes, it is not for everyone, but it worked for me and others I know who have taken it (and a couple of them had the scary/mind twisting dreams . Plus the side effects…. are they more dangerous and expensive as smoking over a pack a aday??????????

In 2010 I completed a Triathlon Sprint (swim, bike ride) the hardest thing I have done in my life besides quitting smoking. It took be a good year to really I mean REALLY feel good about my body and it was better than the feeling then putting this Dangerous product in my lungs….. Well work it, for ME and maybe you…..

October 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm
(7) Chhris says:

OK, day 9 for me barely smoking. I drank and smoked, and I can put down some Capt Morgan and I’m here to tell you it’s kind of scary I get no joy from drinking and barely even get a buzz. So I say it’s a good 2 for 1 drug. I am guessing the receptors that are blocked from smoking also have to do with the alcohol. And I agree If I stop 2 bad habits and only have a few bad dreams and am a little cranky for a couple months in exchange for a longer life I’m all for it…

November 21, 2012 at 1:18 am
(8) Kandi says:

As a heavy drinker/smoker, I was shocked at how well this drug has worked. I have a highly addictive personality and I have cut down significantly on both. No scary dreams, but if I try to drink/smoke then I get sick to the point where the last thing I want is a drink or a cigarette. Give it a chance. It’s working for me!

December 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm
(9) Teresa says:

I only took chantix for 3 weeks four years ago. I had smoked for 25 years and I rather enjoyed it. I lost my Mom to breast cancer and then survived cervical cancer three years later. I decided to quit after that scare. But I never wanted to quit drinking as well! I read somewhere that chantix has the same chemical make up as anibuse, this is bs! That drug kills people! Now anytime I have a drink, glass of wine, or any form of alcohol I get deathly ill and I’m incapacitated for at least a day! My right temple pounds with every heartbeat, and I must vomit acid from my stomach. It infuriates me to know that I had no choice in the matter and no information about this side effect available ahead of me taking it! I am glad to not be partaking in that nasty, disgusting, unhealthy, and toxic habit any longer but would have liked to know!

April 11, 2013 at 7:41 am
(10) James says:

I took Chantix to quit a heavy nicotine addiction and was able to quit within 3 weeks. I experienced no side effects and would use it again if needed.

July 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm
(11) Tyler says:

comment is a nice little story. Smoker for 20 years decided to give myself a birthday present, Chantix also a avid beer drinker. Started the daily steps by day4 dreams already became vivid day 5 was the same stayed out late that evening took the morning dosage day6. Did a little yard work followed by repairs on a motorcycle Sunday and no work had 3 beers over 2hrs decided to take a nap 2pm. The emergency call was reported at 2:32 pm I somehow walked myself down the basement stairs realizing what was happening as I hit the landing 7 hard steps down, hardly able to breath and home alone I found the strength to get up make it to my bed with cell phone and call for help!
Results of alcohol In blood was .08 result of fall 4 broken ribs, right punctured lung tore tendons in right shoulder dislocated arm. Pretty scary stuff 5 days in hospital with chest tube.
important thing I am alive home and recovering have not had a cigarette since reminder is the jump down the stairs, and pain in my body.

October 25, 2013 at 10:12 am
(12) Nancy says:

I disagree to a certain degree with those of you who advise people not to try Chantix. I think it depends on the individual person. It is just like everything else in that everyone is different and it may affect people in different ways.
I too, was very reluctant to try it because of all the negative publicity it received. Then my dr. recommend it to me and after we discussed the pros and cons of it, I agreed to try it.
That was 2 years ago and I have been a successful non smoker for the entire length of time.
I had absolutely NO issues or side effects at all. It worked quickly and I didn’t even realize that it was working until one evening I realized that I hadn’t smoked but 2 cigarettes all day. I hadn’t even thought about them in fact. Another couple of weeks, and I was home free. Still no side effects.
I think it is wonderful and am sorry you had such an awful experience with it.

October 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm
(13) Winston says:

I googled ‘does champix stop people drinking alcohol’ because I have been using this tablet for 14 days now and have stopped smoking 3 days ago and discovered this site. Although I do sometimes get a little urge to smoke it’s easy to control. I would usually drink a half bottle of whiskey 3 days a week but have stopped drinking without really thinking about it since taking this tablet and have no desire to drink at all. Usually I would be in a battle with myself not to drink. I’ve got an appointment with the nurse this evening about this tablet and will let her know. Hope it lasts.

April 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm
(14) wendy henderson says:

ive got to say champix is great never thought id be able to give up after 25vyrs of smoking also has helped with alcohol abuse dont even fancy a drink

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