Sunday, November 25, 2007
Chantix and suicide---what’s going on?
The news about a possible link between Chantix (varenicline) and suicide has started making its way around the blogosphere. Chantix binds to a4b2 nicotinic receptors in the brain providing weak agonism while at the same time blocking nicotine. Although this prevents complete nicotine (and consequently dopamine) withdrawal by providing a low level of receptor stimulation it blocks those dopamine rushes people get from cigarettes. That may not only take the fun out of smoking but it may also take away your patient’s antidepressant. In some hard core smokers those dopamine surges have powerful antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.