- Blocks the reception to nicotine in the brain
- One of the most effective smoking cessation medications
- Helps you quit smoking for good
Champix is an effective medication that aids patients who are trying to stop smoking. If you currently smoke and want to quit, you may be concerned about the withdrawal symptoms of stopping smoking. Champix can help reduce these.
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What is Champix?
Champix tablets (which contain the active ingredient Varenicline), are an effective smoking cessation medication. By targeting the nicotine receptors in your brain, Champix reduces your cravings for cigarettes, whilst also reducing the pleasure derived from smoking.
Champix is designed to help you give up smoking by relieving the craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking. While it is a very effective treatment, the user must be determined to give up smoking. Most people aim to give up between 10 to 14 days of using Champix, this gives the treatment enough time to build up in the system.
How does Champix work?
Champix targets and blocks the nicotine receptors in your brain. When you smoke, your brain releases dopamine, inducing feelings of pleasure which acts as a positive reinforcement to the habit that may cause you to become addicted to smoking. Champix stops nicotine from reaching these receptors, which stops the creation of dopamine and the experience associated with smoking. This helps you to avoid cravings and means that you are more likely to stop smoking as part of a concerted smoking cessation plan.
It is important to realise that Champix alone will not cause you to give up smoking and that this medication is only effective as part of a proactive smoking cessation approach.
Here are some additional tips that you can use in conjunction with taking Champix tablets:
- Think about when you are most likely to smoke. For example, you may be likely to smoke in social situations, such as at the pub. If any of your friends smoke, do not join them in the smoking area when they go outside. If you are sitting outside, excuse yourself every time a friend lights up a cigarette or ask if they wouldn’t mind standing away from you
- When organising social events, look to organise events that are indoors
- Try to replace bad habits with good habits. For instance, if you are at home and have a craving to smoke, come up with a short fitness routine whereby you run on the spot or do pushups for a certain amount of time. This will set off endorphins in your body that trigger a positive feeling
- Seek support to stop smoking. The NHS provides free smoking cessation packs and support options
- Learn about the true dangers of smoking and remind yourself every time you want to smoke, thinking about the effects that it has on your body and that of your loved ones
Champix and weight loss
Some people experience a reduced appetite when taking Champix, so they may lose weight. However, many people put on a little weight when they stop smoking - so you may find that you gain some weight instead of losing it. Any weight loss or gain is usually small.
Champix and depression
A side effect of Champix is feelings of depression. However, this is very rare (less than 1 in 1,000) and there is no concrete evidence that Champix is linked to depression. If you already have depression or another mental health condition, you might want to speak to your doctor before taking Champix.
Champix tablets reviews
Most reviews for Champix are positive. Reviewers recognise that they will not stop you from smoking alone, but are effective at preventing cravings and other withdrawal symptoms from stopping smoking.
Reported side effects are rare, and most reviewers who have experienced them say that they are mild. Most people find that they can give up smoking after a few weeks, and many say that they have not started the habit again.
What happens when you stop taking Champix?
Some people experience withdrawal effects when they stop taking Champix tablets. To combat this, you might want to think about reducing your dosage in the last week of taking Champix. This helps your body wean off the medication.
Can you buy Champix over the counter?
You cannot buy this medication over the counter, but you can buy Champix online at our online pharmacy. As long as you don’t have any health conditions that could put you at risk (speak to a doctor if you do), you can easily purchase it online. Following a quick, safe and convenient consultation with one of our pharmacists, we can have your Champix medication shipped to you the very next day in discreet packaging.
Champix dose amount
Everyone takes Champix slightly differently, so it’s best to consult with your doctor to see what they recommend. However, it is advised that during the first week you should take Champix 0.5 mg once a day for three days, and then take it twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) for the remainder of the week. After week one, 1mg tablets should be taken twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) for the remaining 11 weeks.
You should always complete the 12-week course of Champix tablets, even if you stop smoking straight away. If you complete the course, you are much more likely to not start smoking again.
How to take Champix
Start taking Champix one week before you stop smoking. You can take Champix tablets with or without food, but you are less likely to feel nauseous if you take them with food. You should always take the tablet whole - do not bite it - with a glass of water.
If you miss one dose of Champix, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time for your next dose, you can skip this dose. Try not to forget to take your doses, however, as doing this can reduce the effectiveness.
How long does Champix take to work?
Champix usually takes around nine days to work. After this time, you will begin to notice that you crave fewer cigarettes. The levels of medication will be high enough to prevent you from experiencing cravings. Most people take Champix for 12 weeks. After this time, the craving to smoke will have substantially decreased.
Your doctor may prescribe a further 12 weeks of Champix if they think you might benefit from an additional course.
Who cannot take Champix?
Champix cannot be taken by children under 18. If you smoke and are under the age of 18, you can speak to your doctor confidentially for advice.
If you have any of the following conditions, you should also speak to your doctor before taking Champix tablets:
- Kidney disease or other kidney issues
- Mental health problems - you may still be able to take Champix, but it is a good idea to speak to your doctor first. Also, speak to your doctor if you suspect that you may have a mental health condition but have not been diagnosed
- Heart conditions
- Allergies to any drugs
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
Champix is normally not recommended if you are pregnant, because it may have adverse effects on your unborn baby. However, it is important to give up smoking if you are pregnant. Smoking substantially increases the likelihood of pregnancy complications and issues with your baby. If you smoke and are pregnant, speak to your doctor.
You also shouldn't take this medication if you are breastfeeding, as the drug can pass through the breast milk and it is not currently known how this may impact your baby. Again, speak to your doctor if you are breastfeeding and smoking.
Champix drug reactions
Champix usually does not react with other drugs. However, if you stop smoking, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor, as they may need to change the dose of certain medications. The following medications have a different dosage if you are a non-smoker:
- Insulin for diabetes
- Theophylline which is for breathing issues
- Psychosis medications like olanzapine and clozapine
- Blood clotting medication like warfarin
If you take any supplements or herbal remedies, speak to your doctor before taking Champix.
Champix side effects
Like all medications, Champix users may experience side effects, although they are usually mild. If you experience the following side effects, make sure to monitor them to see if they go away. If they don’t or if they become worse, speak to a doctor.
- Strange or foul taste in your mouth
- Inflammation around the throat and nose
Serious side effects are rare with Champix. However, it can cause low mood, including depression or suicidal thoughts. If you experience these, speak to the doctor straight away.
If you experience any of the following after taking Champix tablets, call 999 immediately or seek medical attention:
- Shortness of breath, severe chest pain, or other symptoms of a heart attack
- Any kind of seizure
- Symptoms of a stroke, including difficulty speaking or thinking, weakness on one side of your body, and loss of balance
Allergic reactions do happen, although they are rare. If you experience the following, call 999 or make your way to your local A&E:
- Difficulty breathing or talking
- Swelling around the face, including in the lips, throat, and tongue
- Tightness in your chest or throat
- A rash on your skin
Patient Information Leaflet
Champix patient information leaflet
For more information on Champix smoking cessation medication, take a look at the patient information leaflet below: