Stop Smoking: Champix vs Nicotine Patches

Smoking is both an addition and psychological habit and the prospect of coping without cigarettes can be unnerving.

Published: Tuesday 21 May 2019



The health risks of smoking are well-known but that doesn’t make it any easier to quit. Smoking is both an addition and psychological habit and the prospect of coping without cigarettes can be unnerving. Smoking may be engraved into your daily routine, used as a form of stress relief, weight management or helps you relate to a family, friend or colleague at work. Stopping smoking entirely means you will have to find more healthier habits and change your outlook and behaviour in order to overcome the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

We’ve compared two different medications to help you stop smoking – Champix and Nicotine Patches.


Champix

What is Champix and how does it work?

Champix is a plant-based nicotine free medication proven to increase your chances at quitting smoking. It’s active ingredient ‘Varenicline Tartrate’ works by relieving your cravings for a cigarette and any withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

When you smoke, the inhaled nicotine stimulates the receptors in your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine gives you the feeling of pleasure, but only for a short while which is why your body craves more nicotine – This then turns into a vicious cycle. Champix works by blocking the nicotine from reaching the nicotine-receptors, reducing the satisfaction and desire gained from smoking.

How do I use Champix?

Take Champix 1-2 weeks before the date you have planned to stop smoking. Your ‘quit date’ should be between day 8 and 14 of taking Champix.

  • Days 1-3: One white 0.5mg tablet once a day
  • Days 4-7: Two white 0.5mg tablet, one in the morning and one in the evening
  • Weeks 2-12: Take two blue 1mg tablets, one in the morning and one in the evening

For those who have successfully stopped smoking after the 12-week course of treatment should take a follow up course for another 12 weeks: 1mg tablet once a day to maintain abstinence.

  • Take the pill at the same time every day.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
  • If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue the treatment at your regular timings. If it is nearly time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and do not take a double dose to compensate.

How effective is Champix?

There is a greater chance of successfully quitting smoking the longer you stay on the treatment. The 12-week course will increase your chances by more than 10 times in comparison to completing 2 weeks of treatment. See the health milestones you can expect if you quit smoking.


Nicotine Patches

What are Nicotine Patches and how does it work?

Nicotine patches are a type of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) which continues to give doses of nicotine throughout the day without the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes. NRT should help to reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking.

How do I use Nicotine Patches?

16-hour patch 24-hour patch
Strength 10mg, 15mg, 25mg 7mg, 14mg, 21mg
When to use Smoke 10 cigarettes a day: 25mg patch.
Smoke < 10 a day: 15mg patch.
Completed the 15mg patch: 10mg patch.
Smoke > 20 a day: 21mg patch.
Smoke < 20 a day: 14mg patch.
How to use Stick the patch on upper arm or hip at the same time in the morning. Take the patch off before bed. Stick the patch on upper arm or hip at the same time in the morning.
How long to use it for Work best if used for a minimum of 8 weeks. 12 weeks is recommended. Work best if used for a minimum of 8 weeks. 12 weeks is recommended.

How effective are Nicotine Patches?

Using nicotine patches can double the chances of quitting. Whilst the patches are not a cure to stopping smoking and only aids, it’s therefore important to also foster a mindset to help you quit successfully. You can even use combination therapy, which includes using the patch as well as a nicotine gum or lozenge, as they are more fast acting than the nicotine patch alone.


What is the better medication to use?

Studies have found that using Champix is more effective than single or combination therapy use of NRT’s. Individuals taking Champix were more likely to quit smoking and refrain from future use of cigarettes. Using Champix, you are three times more likely to quit smoking in comparison to people not using any medication.

Can I use them both together?

It’s unknown whether it is safe to use Champix and other stop smoking medication, so it is advised to avoid this. Using Champix with the nicotine patches will increase the likelihood of side effects, more so than if you were using just the nicotine patch along. Side effects may include, nausea, headache, dizziness, upset stomach and tiredness.

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