Champix is a medication designed to help you to stop smoking. It reduces cravings by making cigarettes less appealing. When you start taking Champix you'll begin on a dose of 0.5mg for the first week before moving on to a higher dose of 1mg for the rest of your treatment. Champix low dose is given if you experience unpleasant side effects from the standard dose.
Champix works by blocking the effects of cigarettes to prevent the feel good release and it also reduces cravings so you are less likely to want a cigarette. The medication imitates the stimulation you would get from nicotine so that you won't crave cigarettes. At the same time it also blocks the receptors in the brain from being affected by nicotine to stop cigarettes from having a satisfying effect.
Champix is usually taken for 10-14 days before it takes effect. You'll usually begin with the starter pack before moving on to the standard dose. Champix low dose will be given if the standard dose produces unpleasant side effects.
You will be 50% more likely to successfully quit smoking with Champix in comparison to willpower alone.
Once you've made the decision to stop smoking, make a plan and commit to stick to it. Using medication like Champix is very effective alongside support groups or behaviour therapy for stopping smoking. The NHS provides free Stop Smoking resources which help to motivate and support you. Nicotine Replacement Therapy works such as e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and gum can work well for some people, but Champix is an effective alternative if these methods have not worked for you.
Studies suggest that around a quarter of people who take Champix will successfully quit smoking the first time around. How successful the medication is will depend on completing the course of the treatment, with the option to continue for an extra couple of months if needed.
Eating healthily while you are taking Champix is important as your metabolism will slow down after you stop smoking. Your appetite will also increase and may leave you wanting to replace the habit of smoking with eating or snacking on unhealthy foods.
You should refrain from smoking while you are taking Champix low dose. When you begin the Champix starter pack, set a date to stop smoking within the first two weeks. After this, if you have a cigarette the medication will make the effects of it feel unpleasant and stop the nicotine from stimulating the brain.
The active ingredient in Champix is varenicline tartrate.
The inactive ingredients in Champix are: microcrystalline cellulose, anhydrous dibasic calcium phosphate, croscarmellose sodium, colloidal silicon dioxide and magnesium stearate.
Champix low dose is given as a 0.5mg dose each day.
After completing your starter pack, take one 0.5mg tablet twice a day. Champix should be taken after eating and with a full glass of water for a course of 12 weeks.
You should continue to take Champix for the prescribed time period of 12 weeks. Stopping Champix early may result in the medication not being successful.
You will need to take Champix for a total of 12 weeks in order to complete the treatment. Some people find the medication works for them in less time however.
Possible side effects include:
Inform your doctor if you experience depression and stop taking Champix immediately.
Champix is not suitable for:
Extra caution should be taken if:
Champix should not be taken alongside any other stop smoking medication. You should inform the prescribing physician of any other medications you are taking.
Champix is safe to use for most people but your doctor will assess your suitability for it as it may have a negative effect in individuals with a history of mental illness or seizures.
Drinking alcohol is not recommended while taking Champix. The medication lowers your tolerance for alcohol and can have an adverse effect when the two are combined.
Champix may increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy or if you have experienced seizures in the past. Inform your doctor if this applies to you so that they can assess if the medication is suitable for you.
The Champix starter pack is given in the first instance. This is for the first two weeks of your treatment to ease you into the process of stopping smoking as your dose increases. You'll start off on a low dose of 0.5mg, gradually increasing to 1mg twice daily after the first week. After this, you'll be prescribed the Champix standard dose from weeks 2-12. If you experience unpleasant side effects with the stronger dose, then you'll be given Champix low dose instead which is 0.5mg per day.
Alternatives to Champix include nicotine replacement treatments such as e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and gum. Zyban tablets are also available alongside behavioural therapy and support groups.
Champix and Chanix are the same thing; Chanix is just the American brand name.
Champix is designed to be started while you are still smoking, working up to quitting after the first week or two. If you prefer to vape, you can use E-cigarettes for the first week of taking the medication but you should not continue to vape after your quit date.
Nicotine replacements should not be used alongside Champix. Using patches, gum or E-cigarettes won't have an effect while you are taking Champix as the medication blocks the brain from responding to nicotine.
Champix should not be taken by pregnant women. Stopping smoking is essential for the health of your baby, your doctor or midwife can help you find a medication free method.
Champix low dose is usually taken for a 12 week period. You can continue with the treatment after this if it has not been effective but Champix is not suitable for long term use.
Some people may have a better experience with Champix than others but much of this depends on your attitude and willpower towards quitting smoking.
Vivid dreams are a possible side effect of taking Champix. This is because the medication affects the brain receptors and as a result can have an effect on your mind.
Champix is a medication which a doctor can prescribe to help you give up smoking. It is not suitable for treating other forms of nicotine addiction.
Champix is not addictive and does not contain nicotine.
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