Varenicline, marketed under the brand name Chantix® / Champix®, is a prescription medication created to treat tobacco addiction. It received FDA approval in May of 2006, and has been used by millions of ex-smokers since. Varenicline operates in two ways. Acting as an "antagonist", it blocks nicotine's connection to receptors in the brain, making smoking less satisfying and/or desirable. At the same time, as an "agonist", varenicline mimics the effects of nicotine, reducing the ex-smoker's cravings and withdrawal. A recent review concluded that varenicline increased the odds of successfully quitting smoking by two to three-fold, relative to not taking any quit medications.
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