What Is Chantix?

Health Insurance

If you’re interested in quitting smoking and looking at prescription solutions, you likely already know what Chantix is. But there may be some things you have yet to learn. For instance, Chantix is expensive but there are ways to save, and Chantix has a fairly long list of risks to consider.

Before you take any new prescription, it’s smart to do your research. When it comes to learning about Chantix, the Nerds are on your side.

What is Chantix prescribed for?

About 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes, according to the American Cancer Society. But smoking is addictive, and many people aren’t happy with their unhealthy habit. The CDC reports almost 70% of smokers in 2010 said they wanted to quit.

Chantix is a drug made for these smokers.

According to Chantix maker Pfizer, the drug is the No. 1 most prescribed prescription-only solution for people trying to quit smoking. The drug is intended for women and men ages 18 and over, and contains no nicotine. Users are instructed to take Chantix for three months to aid them as they deal with the withdrawals and frustrations of quitting smoking.

What are the side effects of Chantix?

Quitting smoking is difficult and comes with a variety of unpleasant symptoms as your body tries to kick the habit. Added to the side effects of Chantix, it’s normal to feel lousy during this three-month period.

Pfizer says the most common side effects of Chantix include nausea, problems sleeping, strange dreams and digestive difficulties.

In March 2015, the Food and Drug Administration announced additions to the Chantix label, alerting the public that the drug can also cause risk of seizures and negative interactions when taken with alcohol. Further, Chantix is currently being studied for its neuropsychiatric effects such as mood and thought changes.

How much does Chantix cost?

If you pay cash for a 30-day supply of Chantix (0.5 mg tablets), you’ll have to fork over about $287, according to RxREVU. Of course, if you have insurance and Chantix is listed in the formulary of your plan, you’ll be responsible only for the copay.

How to save money on Chantix

If you don’t have insurance or Chantix isn’t covered by your policy, spending almost $300 for a month’s worth of medicine can be unmanageable. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to save:

  • Use a Chantix coupon from Pfizer or a prescription savings website
  • Comparison shop at local pharmacies, calling around to get the best deal
  • Purchase a 90-day supply in one go, reducing the per-month cost
  • Talk to your doctor about therapeutic alternatives including bupropion HCl

Smoking is a deadly habit. Whether or not you opt to use Chantix, the fact that you’re researching your options says you’re on the right track.

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Elizabeth Renter is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @elizabethrenter.