What is Champix and how does it work?
Champix is a plant-based nicotine-free medication that can help adults quit smoking. Its active ingredient, varenicline tartrate, is not addictive and works to relieve your cravings for a cigarette and withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.
When you smoke, the nicotine from the cigarette targets the nicotinic receptor in the brain and releases dopamine - a short-term pleasure neurotransmitter. When you smoke a cigarette while taking Champix, the treatment blocks the nicotine from reaching the nicotine-receptor, reducing the enjoyment gained from smoking.
How do I use Champix?
Start the treatment about 1-2 weeks before the date you have set to stop smoking. Swallow Champix tablets whole with water at a starting dose of 0.5mg once daily for 3 days, followed by twice daily for 4 days. After a week, take 1mg twice daily for 11 weeks. You should continue to take Champix for 12 weeks. For those who have successfully stopped smoking after the 12 week course of treatment, they should take a follow up course for another 12 weeks: 1mg dose twice daily to maintain abstinence. Total treatment time should be 24 weeks. Take the pills at the same time everyday and if you forget a dose, do not take a double dose to make up for it. Champix can be taken with or without food, but you need willpower and motivation to stop smoking.
|Days 1 - 3
|0.5mg once daily (white tablet)
|Days 4 - 7
|0.5mg twice daily (white tablet)
|Day 8 - end of treatment
|1mg twice daily (light blue tablet)
After stopping the treatment, you may feel increasingly irritated, an urge to smoke and slight depression. In that case, you can taper off the medication slowly rather than stop abruptly.
Since Champix may make you dizzy or drowsy, be careful when driving.
Will I Get Any Side Effects?
Like most medication, Champix can have some side effects in additional to those of smoking withdrawal, which include: dizziness, nausea, headache, vivid dreams, change in appetite and drowsiness. However, you can get reduce the chance of abnormal dreams by taking Champix with food.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.
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Content last updated:
15 Sep 2023