The Quit-Smoking Drug Chantix May Help Heavy Drinkers

Chantix and Alcohol: Everything You Need to Know — Las Vegas Rehab

The Quit-Smoking Drug Chantix May Help Heavy Drinkers

Chantix is known to help smokers throw away their cigarettes and close the door on nicotine addiction once and for all. But some of the side effects of Chantix might actually assist people with an alcohol use disorder as well, according to recent reports. So, should people be using Chantix to stop smoking and to stop drinking? 

In truth, not a lot is yet known about the effectiveness of using Chantix and alcohol together—and the risks might end up outweighing the benefits. Today we’re telling you everything you should know about Chantix and alcohol and answer all of your pressing questions on how you can recover from an alcohol use disorder today.

Chantix and Alcohol: Pros and Cons

Chantix can be a great option for smokers who just haven’t been able to quit. This medication is specifically meant to help block nicotine receptors from releasing chemicals to the brain that make it want another cigarette. And there’s reason to think that Chantix and alcohol could work in a similar way.

Studies show that Chantix reduces the severity of cravings that people have to drink.

For people who consume alcohol frequently, this means that taking Chantix decreases the intensity of wanting or needing an alcoholic beverage.

As a result, some experts say that Chantix could potentially be used to help people recover from alcohol addiction. However, one of the common side effects of Chantix is that it lowers the user’s tolerance for alcohol.

On the one hand, this sounds a benefit: at the same time that you stop smoking, you might be able to limit the amount of alcohol you consume as well. After all, when combined, Chantix and alcohol can have serious health consequences on the body. If you drink while taking Chantix, you can experience side effects such as:

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  • Aggressive behavior
  • More intoxication
  • Blacking out
  • Memory loss
  • Worsened mental health symptoms

One way to look at these side effects is that they are certainly deterrents to drinking.

Not only might you have less cravings to drink, but when you do drink, you will be left feeling sick or even facing dangerous situations that might encourage you to quit drinking.

But in reality, having an addiction to alcohol doesn’t just go away, regardless of the potential consequences you could face, these side effects listed above. Addiction is an incredibly complex disease. It takes a lot of work to begin to heal from any addiction.

These side effects also show that combining Chantix and alcohol can be very dangerous, especially if the individual takes these substances unsupervised and without the support of an addiction recovery facility. For example, you could find yourself with uncontrollable behaviors that put you or others in danger. 

Moreover, part of the recovery process includes relapsing. Even if you have fewer cravings and you are able to stop drinking for a little while, there is a chance that you will experience a relapse and go back to the addictive substance. While this is a common step on the road to recovery, the combination of Chantix and alcohol can lead to real dangers.

Instead, Chantix seems to be most effective for alcohol addiction recovery when used in combination with professional treatment options.

When people use Chantix and alcohol together without the right support, the side effects can put them in serious danger of lashing out at others and suffering from life-threatening health issues.

Ultimately, taking Chantix and alcohol will not “cure” an alcohol addiction (just as it doesn’t guarantee that somebody will completely stop smoking). In some cases, it could actually make it much harder to fully recover from an alcohol use disorder because of the side effects you encounter.

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery Options

Rather than relying entirely on the potential benefits of combining Chantix and alcohol, you can experience a safe recovery process at an alcohol rehab facility the Victorious Journey Recovery Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here, we provide treatment options that are proven to be effective in addressing concerns with alcohol abuse.

Your recovery plan will be custom-made to fit your goals and specific needs. Most individuals start with our inpatient and residential programs. This program addresses the physical, emotional, and mental healing that contribute to life-long recovery. In residential treatment, you will have the chance to participate in treatment options such as:

  • Individualized therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Recovery maintenance skill-building
  • Co-occurring challenges counseling
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies
  • Chronic pain recovery
  • AA and NA

Most importantly, our recovery specialists are always staying up-to-date on the latest treatment methods to make sure that you get the very best care from day one.

This means that you do not have to wait on the possible results from combining Chantix and alcohol—you can start seeing results by joining a recovery program that is built to keep you safe, comfortable, and ready for all of the challenges that come with addiction.

Start Healing in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you are ready to begin your recovery journey with the Victorious Journey Recovery Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, give us a call at 888-828-2623.

You also have the option to submit a confidential contact form online with all of your questions.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you each step of the process, from the very first conversation and all the way through your life-long sobriety journey.

Chantix is the brand name for the prescription drug also known as varenicline. Chantix is a medication that doctors prescribe to people who wish to stop smoking. This is supposed to help reduce nicotine cravings in order to help people quit smoking.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

According to the Chantix website, smoking nicotine releases a chemical in the brain called dopamine, which is in charge of making people feel happy, relaxed, etc.

But shortly after this release of dopamine comes a significant drop, leaving smokers craving another cigarette.

So, Chantix works to block the brain’s nicotine receptors and helps to keep the dopamine levels stabilized. This results in fewer nicotine cravings overall.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

Chantix actually impacts the way that your body tolerates alcohol. This means that if you drink while taking Chantix, you can experience serious side effects, including changes in behavior, memory loss, and higher levels of intoxication.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

Located in dynamic Las Vegas, Nevada, the Victorious Journey Recovery Center (VJRC) a 44-bed facility is run by a skilled multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health professionals that includes nurses, counselors, and doctors, along with complementary and alternative medicine specialists to provide our clients with a transformational experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Our approach is holistic and grounded in research and evidenced-based best practices that help people develop the awareness and skills required to achieve and sustain recovery.


Chantix and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination — Ohio Alcohol Rehab

The Quit-Smoking Drug Chantix May Help Heavy Drinkers

When you take a look at the side effects of Chantix, a drug meant to help people stop smoking cigarettes, you will learn that Chantix has an effect on alcohol use as well.

Specifically, taking Chantix can reduce the user’s tolerance for drinking alcohol. Naturally, this leaves people wondering whether or not Chantix and alcohol can be mixed.

Moreover, there is some evidence that Chantix may actually help people recover from addiction to alcohol in some cases.

But unfortunately, the risks of combining Chantix and alcohol may be detrimental to people who struggle with addiction. If you are somebody who is curious about taking Chantix while using alcohol, continue reading for all of the information you need on whether or not it’s safe to combine these two substances.

What Does Chantix Do?

Chantix, otherwise known by its generic name of varenicline, is an FDA-approved prescription medication that doctors sometimes prescribe to people who want or need to stop smoking. The way that the Chantix medication is thought to work has to do with the amount of dopamine that is released throughout the body and brain. 

Essentially, cigarettes contain the addictive substance nicotine, which, when consumed, releases the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is part of the reward system in the brain because when it’s released, it makes you feel calmer and happier.

This makes your brain start to relate cigarettes to these rewarding feelings.

So, when your dopamine levels drop just a little while later, the body and brain crave more of those happy hormones, leading many people to pick up another cigarette, and another, and so on.

When people use Chantix, however, the nicotine can’t attach to the brain receptors that release dopamine. This eliminates much of the rewarding feelings that come with smoking.

The thought behind Chantix is that it levels out the chemicals throughout the body so that the brain doesn’t crave as much of the addictive substance.

Over time, the Chantix medication helps a lot of people reduce their cravings for cigarettes and therefore slowly but surely stop smoking altogether.

But as with any prescription medication, Chantix comes with its own risks and side effects. Notably, some Chantix side effects have to do with the way that Chantix and alcohol interact with one another.

On the one hand, these side effects are actually shown to help people who struggle with an alcohol addiction to not feel as many cravings for alcohol.

But the other side of this is what we’ll discuss next: the dangerous complications of mixing Chantix and alcohol.

What Are the Risks of Chantix and Alcohol Use?

To begin, Chantix comes with a list of things to avoid when first taking the medication. This includes consuming alcohol. In fact, the FDA warns that drinking alcohol while using Chantix can have serious negative effects on a person.

Not only does Chantix increase the risk of becoming intoxicated, but this medication also can significantly alter somebody’s behavior when combined with alcohol.

The warnings on the box say that people who drink on Chantix can have aggressive behaviors that put themselves or others at risk.

Some people even report Chantix horror stories in which they combined Chantix and alcohol before suddenly behaving strangely.

Other users blacked out and were unable to remember anything that happened before they regained consciousness.

Additionally, Chantix dreams or nightmares that happen when you take the medication can be very frightening and realistic, causing severe anxiety and panic to the user.

Clearly, these are serious side effects that shouldn’t be taken lightly if you are making the decision to take Chantix. Although there are some studies that show that Chantix can help alleviate the cravings for alcohol, there’s simply not enough data to show that the pros outweigh the cons when Chantix is used to treat alcoholism.

What’s most important to note is that research shows that even if Chantix can help to reduce cravings of alcohol, taking this medication does not stop people from drinking entirely, which is often necessary for a full recovery from alcoholism. Rather, going through professional treatment is typically the most effective way to address an alcohol use disorder safely and with long-term results.

Alcohol Detox and Other Recovery Options

While Chantix might decrease the severity of cravings for alcohol in someone who is looking to recover from an alcohol use disorder, this medication isn’t equipped to handle the withdrawal symptoms that come with the decision to stop drinking. The safest way to make it through withdrawal is with a safe, supportive alcohol detoxification program.

In Ohio, some facilities offer 24-hour care to patients who are undergoing alcohol detox. This is extremely important in the event that the withdrawal symptoms require medical attention. Furthermore, prepping the body physically for the recovery process is an important step. Therefore, it’s important to attend a treatment facility that keeps you safe physically, emotionally, and mentally.

After detox, there are many options that you will have to work toward recovery without relying on the unknowns of prescription medications such as Chantix. Instead, you can participate in programs such as:

  • Residential treatment
  • Dual diagnosis programming
  • Partial hospitalization programming (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Offsite PHP treatment

You will also have access to programs and services such as life skills groups, music therapy, recreational therapy, and more.

The treatment option that is best for you depends on your life situation, current symptoms, and your recovery needs.

Though it can seem overwhelming to choose a program that will be best for you, the experts at your treatment facility will walk you through each option and provide recommendations your recovery journey so far.

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

If you are looking for the type of care that is mentioned above, look no further than The Woods at Parkside, located in the heart of Ohio.

Here, you won’t have to worry about the “what ifs” when combining Chantix and alcohol.

Instead, you will have the opportunity to recover the safe way with various treatments, peers who understand you, and a life-long support system for lasting recovery.

For more information about the dangers of Chantix and alcohol as well as starting your recovery journey at The Woods at Parkside, call us at 614-471-2552or submit a confidential contact form. Recovery doesn’t have to rely on unknowns—get the right kind of support by reaching out today.


Quit Tobacco Prescription | Smoking Cessation Drugs

The Quit-Smoking Drug Chantix May Help Heavy Drinkers

There are prescription drugs that have been shown to help people quit tobacco. Some can be used along with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). You often need to start taking them in the weeks before your Quit Day (the day you plan to quit).

People who are significantly dependent on nicotine should consider nicotine replacement and/or drug therapy to help them quit. Signs of severe nicotine dependence in people who smoke include:

  • Smoking more than 1 pack a day
  • Smoking within 5 minutes of waking up
  • Smoking even while sick
  • Waking up at night to smoke
  • Smoking to ease symptoms of withdrawal

The more of these that apply, the more serious the dependence.

Talk to your health care provider if you think you might want to use one of these drugs to help you quit tobacco. You’ll need a prescription. It's also a good idea to talk to your health insurance about coverage for these medications.

If you plan to use a prescription drug to quit tobacco, talk with your health care provider about exactly when to start, and how to use the medicine. Also find out what side effects to watch for and report. Put a note on your calendar to remind you when to start taking it.

Varenicline (Chantix)

Varenicline (also called Chantix) is a prescription medicine developed to help people stop smoking. It works by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain. This means it has 2 effects:

  • It lessens the pleasure a person gets from smoking.
  • It reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

For people trying to quit smokeless tobacco, several studies have shown varenicline can increase their chance of quitting when compared to taking no medicines at all, at least in the short term. (Some studies have also found NRT lozenges can help.)

You typically start taking varenicline (a pill) about a month to a week before your Quit Day. Take it after meals, with a full glass of water. The daily dose increases over the first 8 days you take it. If you have problems with the higher doses, a lower dose may be used while you try to quit.

Typically, varenicline is given for 12 weeks, but people who quit during that time may get another 12 weeks of treatment to boost their chances of staying off tobacco. It’s important to keep up with other support systems during this time and for at least a few months after quitting.

Tell your provider about any medical conditions and allergies you have before you start varenicline, including if you might be pregnant.

Side effects of varenicline

Reported side effects have included:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, or sleepwalking
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Changes in taste
  • Skin rashes
  • Seizures
  • Heart or blood vessel problems (mostly in people who already have these problems)
  • Mood or behavior changes, such as depression, hallucinations, delusions, aggression, hostility, agitation, anxiety, panic, or even suicidal thoughts

Talk to your health care team about what to expect while taking this drug, and what to do if you or others notice possible side effects. Be sure to let your provider know if you’ve ever had depression or other mental health problems, or if you start feeling depressed or have thoughts about suicide.

Using varenicline along with NRT or bupropion for quitting smoking

Research is being done to find out if varenicline can be used at the same time as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). A few studies have suggested that using varenicline along with NRT is well-tolerated and safe, but others have found this has no long-term benefit in helping people quit. More research is needed.

Research on using both varenicline and bupropion at the same time is also being done. While there may be a benefit to combining the drugs vs. taking only varenicline, more research is needed to understand if this could cause more severe side effects.

Bupropion (Zyban)

Bupropion also may be called by the brand names Zyban, Wellbutrin, or Aplenzin. It’s a prescription antidepressant in an extended-release form that helps reduce cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

It does not contain nicotine. This drug acts on chemicals in the brain that are related to nicotine craving. Bupropion works best if it’s started 1 or 2 weeks before you quit smoking.

The usual dosage is one or two 150 mg tablets per day.

If you’re still not using tobacco after taking bupropion for 7 to 12 weeks, your provider may have you keep taking it for some time afterward to help stop you from going back to smoking. Keep up with your other support systems during this time and for at least a few months after you quit.

This drug should not be taken if you have or have ever had:

  • Seizures (it can cause or worsen seizures)
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Cirrhosis
  • A serious head injury
  • Bipolar (manic-depressive) illness
  • Anorexia or bulimia (eating disorders)

You also shouldn’t take it if you’re taking sedatives or have recently taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI, an older type of antidepressant).

Tell your doctor about any medical conditions and allergies you have before you start bupropion, including if you might be pregnant.

Side effects of bupropion

Reported side effects of bupropion include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Trouble sleeping and nightmares
  • Tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, agitated, hostile, aggressive, overly excited or hyperactive, or confused; or having suicidal thoughts

If you are using bupropion, call your health care provider if you feel depressed or start thinking of suicide. Also be sure to ask what to expect while taking this drug, and what to do if you or others notice possible side effects.

Bupropion can cause drug interactions and shouldn’t be used with certain other drugs or supplements. Be sure your provider knows about everything you take, such as prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs, supplements, and any medicines you take on your own when you need them, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin. Also be sure to tell every provider you see that you’re taking bupropion.

Using bupropion along with NRT or varenicline for quitting smoking

There is some consensus that using bupropion along with NRT might increase the odds of quitting. Research on using both varenicline and bupropion at the same time is also being done.

Other prescription drugs used to help people quit tobacco

For those who can’t use either of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs to help them quit, or for those who haven’t been able to quit using them, other drugs have shown promise in studies.

They’re recommended by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for this kind of use, but have not been approved by the FDA for this purpose and so are used “off-label.” (See Off-label Drug Use for more on this.

) These drugs are only available with a prescription and are not recommended for pregnant women, teens, or people who smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day.


This is an older anti-depressant drug that helps reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms. It has been found to increase chances of success in quitting smoking when compared to those taking no medicine. It’s typically started 10 to 28 days before a person stops smoking to allow it to reach a stable level in the body.

Some people have side effects a fast heart rate, blurred vision, trouble urinating, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain or loss, and low blood pressure when they stand up. The drug can affect a person’s ability to drive or operate machinery, and certain drugs cannot be used along with it.

If you and your health care provider decide to use this drug, be sure your provider and pharmacist know exactly what other drugs you’re taking before you start this medicine. Also be sure you know how to take it and how to taper off it when you are ready to stop.

The dose of nortriptyline must be slowly lowered, since the drug cannot be stopped suddenly without the risk of serious effects. People with heart disease should use this drug cautiously. Be sure to tell all your health care providers that you are taking this drug.


Clonidine is another older drug that has been shown to help people quit. It’s FDA-approved to treat high blood pressure. When used to quit smoking, it can be taken as a pill twice a day or worn as a skin patch that’s changed once a week.

If you’re planning to use this drug, be sure your health care provider and pharmacist know exactly what else you’re taking before you start taking it. The most common side effects of clonidine are constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and unusual tiredness or weakness.

There are rarely more severe side effects, such as allergic reactions, a slow heart rate, and very high or very low blood pressure. Your health provider might want to watch your blood pressure while you are on this drug. The drug can affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.

You can start taking clonidine up to 3 days before you quit smoking, but it can also be started the day you quit. It shouldn’t be stopped suddenly. The dose must be lowered over a few days to prevent tremors, confusion, agitation, or a rapid increase in blood pressure.

Other drugs being studied to help people quit tobacco

A plant-based drug called cytisine has shown promise in other countries and is now being studied in the United States.

Naltrexone is a drug used to help those with alcohol and opioid abuse disorders. Studies are looking at ways to combine it with varenicline to help people quit smoking, especially people who smoke and are also heavy drinkers.

Also being tested are possible anti-smoking vaccines that are given as injections.

So far these new options seem to be safe, but their effect on smoking cessation has been disappointing.


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