- Reduces smoking cravings
- Stops withdrawal symptoms
- Makes quitting easier
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What is Champix?
Champix is the brand name for varenicline, which is a high-affinity partial agonist for the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtype (nACh).
It is used to help smokers give up by stopping them from experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The usual dose is 0.5mg or 1mg.
You must be over 18 and have a prescription to buy Champix.
What is Champix used to treat?
Champix tablets are an effective medication for helping people to quit smoking, designed to reduce the craving and withdrawal symptoms that people often experience when they are trying to give up. Champix helps to block the effects of nicotine in the body.
Smoking is a highly addictive habit, and many people find it very difficult to give up without experiencing withdrawal and cravings. Champix tablets also reduce the pleasurable effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products, making it easier for the user to stop smoking.
Treatment usually lasts for 12 weeks.
This medicine does not guarantee success in your effort to stop smoking. You must be determined and dedicated to quitting for Champix to be most beneficial.
How does Champix work?
Champix contains varenicline as its active ingredient, which works to block the effects of nicotine within your body. You brain has receptors for nicotine and when you inhale smoke from a cigarette, the nicotine is attached to them. This causes the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that creates a temporary pleasurable feeling in the body, which your body wants to feel again – this is why people find it hard to stop smoking.
Champix tablets are believed to work by stopping the nicotine from being able to attach itself to the receptors, which reduces your need to smoke and helps to limit withdrawal symptoms.
The table below shows the usual recommended doses of Champix throughout treatment. However, always follow your doctor’s dosage instructions.
1 – 3
One white 0.5mg tablet once a day
4 – 7
One white 0.5mg tablet twice a day, once in the morning and once at night
8 – 14
One light blue 1mg tablet twice a day, once in the morning and once at night
3 – 12
15 to the end of treatment
One light blue 1mg tablet twice a day, once in the morning and once at night
How to take Champix
- Take Champix tablets at the same time(s) each day.
- Before you begin taking the tablets, decide on a day in the second week of treatment that you will stop smoking.
- If you have stopped smoking after 12 weeks of taking Champix, your doctor may advise that you keep taking it for a further 12 weeks to make sure you do not start again.
- Champix will only help you to stop smoking if you are genuinely dedicated to quitting. You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist about additional advice and support if you need it.
Make sure you read the patient information leaflet before you start taking Champix. Here, you will find full guidance on how to take it.
Who can take Champix?
Champix is an effective medication to help people quit smoking for good, but it may not be suitable for everyone.
Champix is only available on prescription to adults who are at least 18 years old.
Before you use this medication, you should inform your doctor if you suffer from any of the following problems:
- Heart or blood vessel problems
- Depression or any other mental health problems
Common adverse reactions of taking Champix include feeling tired and nausea. Not everyone will get them, but if you do feel either of these while using Champix, you are not advised to drive or operate machinery until you feel better.
This list is not exhaustive. Always consult the patient information leaflet for full warnings before you start taking Champix.
Can you buy Champix over the counter?
You must have a prescription for Champix, so it is not for sale over the counter. If you feel you need this medication to give up smoking for good, speak to your doctor.
Can you buy Champix online in the UK?
You can buy Champix online from Medicine Direct by completing an online consultation. As this medication is prescription-only, one of our certified doctors, pharmacists or prescribers will need to ensure that it is suitable for you to take. All you need to do is answer some confidential questions about your condition.
To make sure you only buy safe and genuine medication, only order it from a regulated online pharmacy like Medicine Direct.
Aside from taking a medication like Champix, smokers who are trying to give up can also try the following:
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine patches
- Nicotine inhalers
- Nicotine nasal sprays
If you are struggling to quit, speak to your doctor.
our pharmacists and prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Champix tablets.
When you use Champix tablets to give up smoking, you will need to decide on a definite 'quit date' for when you will stop smoking. This date should normally be between the 8th and 14th day of your treatment, but if you don't feel like you are ready to give up so soon, it could be up to five weeks after you begin using the Champix treatment.
Your doctor will prescribe you a Champix starter pack to begin with and the usual dosage to take is as follows:
From day 1 to 3, you should take one white Champix 0.5 mg tablet once a day.
From day 4 to 7, you should take one white Champix 0.5 mg tablet twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Week 2 - Week 12
From day 8 (ideally, the day you stop smoking) onwards, you should take one light blue Champix 1 mg tablet twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Champix tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water. It also helps if you take Champix at the same time every day.
What if I forget to take it?
If you forget to take a dose, just take it as soon as you remember, providing it is not almost time for your next scheduled dose. If it is nearly time for you to take the next scheduled tablet, just skip the missed dose and continue taking Champix as usual.
Never double dose any medicine to make up for a missed dose.
To avoid forgetting to take Champix, it is best if you take it at the same time each day, to get into a routine. Some people also find it helps to set an alarm to remind them to take it.
What if I take more than I should?
If you have taken more of this medication than you are supposed to, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Be sure to take your box of tablets with you.
How long does Champix take to work?
Can you drink alcohol with it?
How long will I need to take Champix?
What happens when I stop taking it?
How effective is Champix?
Is Champix an antidepressant?
Can I drive or cycle while I’m taking Champix?
Can Champix make you gain weight?
Will it affect my fertility?
Will it affect my contraception?
Champix Side Effects
The more common side effects of Champix can be found on the main page of this product. A full list is available in the patient information leaflet supplied with your medication.
In rare cases, you may experience more serious adverse reactions to this medication.
Seek medical attention if you experience any of these:
- Fungal or viral infection
- Mood swings, feeling panicked, anxious, restlessness or difficulty in thinking
- Ringing in the ears
- Seizures or tremors
- Reddening of the skin, acne
- Night sweats
- Angina, rapid heart rate or palpitations
- Bloody stools, changes of bowel movement regularity
- Muscle spasms
- Chest pains
- Dry mouth
- Heart attack
- High blood sugar
- Suicidal thoughts
- Ulcers or gum pain
- Flu-like symptoms or generally feeling unwell
- Increased menstrual flow
- Increased blood pressure
- Abnormally infrequent urination
The below side effects may affect one in every 1,000 people. If you suffer from any of these, you should seek medical attention immediately:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased muscle tension
- Difficulty in speech or coordination
- Reduced sense of taste
- Irregular heartbeat
- Throat pain, snoring
- Feeling cold, cyst
- Sleep walking
- Abnormal behaviour
- Severe skin reactions
- Serious allergic reaction (call 999 immediately)
- Blood in vomit
- Glucose in urine
- Stiff joints or rib pain
- Vaginal discharge
Champix Warnings and drug interactions
Champix is an effective medicine to aid in helping people to quit smoking, but other drugs can interact with how well this medicine works.
Before taking any medicine, you should always tell your doctor if you are already taking any prescription or non-prescription medication, vitamins, supplements or herbal remedies.
You should make sure your doctor is aware if you are taking any of the below:
- Any medicines to treat breathing problems, such as theophylline
- Blood clotting medicines, such as warfarin
- Any other medicines to help you to give up smoking
If you have any concerns or questions at all, you should always speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you start to use Champix.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Although it is very important that women quit smoking while they are pregnant, Champix tablets are not normally recommended for pregnant women. If you are currently pregnant, think you might be pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, you should inform your doctor before you start to use this medication.
Similarly, Champix tablets are not recommended for women who are breastfeeding, and you should make sure your doctor is aware that you are breastfeeding before you use this medication.
Other medications may be more suitable for you to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
We recommend BUMPS for additional information.
The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Varenicline tartrate
For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics
Updated on: 27/09/2021
This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan
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- 1 Choose your treatment Select the treatment or medication you need and answer a few questions online regarding your condition.
- 2 Online consultation Our Independent Prescribers will review your questions and assess your suitability for the medication.
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