What is Chantix?
Chantix is a popular, but expensive, prescription drug used for smoking cessation. Research shows that the medication works, particularly if patients also enroll in counseling and support programs.
Keep in mind that Chantix can have some serious side effects like nightmares, suicidal thoughts and amnesia. In fact, these side effects were so severe that Chantix once had a black-box warning, the most severe kind of warning possible for a drug. In 2009, the FDA allowed Pfizer to remove the warning, believing that the benefits of Chantix outweighed its risks. Be sure to speak with your doctor before taking Chantix or if you experiencing any of these side effects.
How much does Chantix cost?
Chantix is not cheap. In fact, a recent GoodRx analysis found that monthly prices for Chantix increased by over 106% over the past five years and now costs around $485.
Lucky, a generic is not too far out.
When will generic Chantix be available?
Currently, there is no generic version of Chantix, but we may see one soon. Some predict that a generic could be available as soon as May 2020.
Even though we may have to wait four more years to see a generic, there are ways to save in the meantime.
Savings Tip #1: Use your insurance, or ask your doctor to submit an appeal
The best way to save on Chantix is to use your insurance. According to MMIT’s drug formulary database, Chantix is covered by most commercial insurance plans. Unfortunately, Chantix is considered a tier 3 drug on many of these formularies, meaning that many patients will have to pay high out-of-pocket costs.
If Chantix is no longer covered by your insurance plan, ask your doctor about submitting an appeal. The exact process will depend on your insurer, but often requires that you work with your doctor to submit an appeal letter.
Savings Tip #2: Save as much as $75 per month with a savings card
Manufacturer Pfizer offers a savings card to help reduce out-of-pocket costs to as little as $40 per fill.
While this is a good option, especially for those who pay high out-of-pocket costs for Chantix, there is debate surrounding the long-term effects of copay cards. Critics of these cards claim that they drive insurance premiums up, mask manufacturer price hikes, and discourage the use of cost-effective generics.
Savings Tip #3: Apply for a patient assistance program
Uninsured, low income patients may be able to get Chantix for free with the Pfizer RxPathways program.
Savings Tip #4: Speak to your doctor about prescription workarounds
If the above options don’t work for you, speak with your doctor about other ways to save. Your doctor may talk to you about getting a prescription for a higher-dose pill (which you can cut in half to save on cost), filling a 90-day supply (which can be cheaper than a 30-day supply) or getting free samples.
Savings Tip #5: Ask your doctor about Chantix alternatives
While Chantix is one of the few prescription medications available specifically to help you quit smoking, there are other treatment options available. If you think a prescription-strength medication is best for you, consider speaking with your doctor about Zyban, an antidepressant that can also help control nicotine cravings.
In addition to the prescription strength medications, people have seen success with over-the-counter products like nicotine patches or gum.
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