• Reduces smoking cravings
  • Stops withdrawal symptoms
  • Makes quitting easier
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What is Champix?

Champix is the brand name for varenicline. It is a high-affinity partial agonist for the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtype (nACh).

It is only available on prescription and can only be taken by adults aged 18 and over.

You can buy Champix from Medicine Direct; we sell a 2 week starter pack of Champix tablets.

The usual dose is 0.5mg or 1mg.

What is Champix used to treat?

Champix tablets are an effective medication to help people quit smoking, designed to reduce the craving and withdrawal symptoms related to quitting smoking. 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 cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 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.

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 have any of the following problems:

  • Heart or blood vessel problems
  • You have depression or any mental health problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures

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.

Possible side effects

As with all medicines, Champix does have the risk of possible side effects, although not everyone will get them.

It is natural to have withdrawal symptoms when you stop smoking, such as mood changes (depression, irritability, frustration or feeling anxious), difficulty in concentrating and sleeping, an increased heart rate and weight gain.

Some of the common side effects of Champix tablets include:

  • Nausea
  • Inflammation of the nose and throat
  • Headaches
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chest infection
  • Increased weight
  • Heartburn, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling bloated, abdominal pain
  • Toothache, indigestion, flatulence, dry mouth
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Joint ache, back pain or muscle pain
  • Chest pain
  • Tiredness

This list is not exhaustive. For a list of the more serious adverse reactions, please refer to the Side Effects tab on this page.

As is the case with any medication, you should always read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before you start taking Champix.

Champix Dosage

our poharmacists 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:

First week:

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.

Are there any alternatives to Champix?

There are many different treatments available to aid stopping smoking. There are many nicotine replacement treat-ments, nicotine gum, other medications, inhalers, nasal sprays and patches. You should do some online research into the different options available and then discuss which may be the best solution with your doctor.

Why do I need to start treatment 2 weeks before my stop date?

This will help your body to get used to the medicine; as you start to use Champix tablets, you may find that the number of cigarettes you smoke reduces. You should not smoke at all after the fifth week of treatment. Treatment will usually last for 12 weeks.

Why is there a low dose 0.5 tablet and a standard dose 1mg tablet?

You will need to take the 0.5mg tablets for the first week, from then you will take the 1mg tablets.

How long should I take Champix?

The recommended course of treatment lasts for 12 weeks.

Why do I need a starter pack?

The starter pack will help your body to get used to the medicine. By setting a quit date for between the 8th and 14th day of treatment, your body will not be taking in too many chemicals.

Will Champix work if I smoke while I use it?

You should stop smoking during the second week of treatment. While you can quit smoking later on in the treat-ment, this should not be any longer than 5 weeks into taking the tablets.

What should I do if I feel overemotional or low after treatment?

Mood changes are a common reaction to stopping smoking, but if you feel particularly low, you should speak to your doctor. If you have thoughts of suicide, you should seek immediate medical help.

How can I improve my chances of quitting?

You are most likely to stop smoking for good if you are motivated to do so. Sticking to your medication plan is your best bet at stopping completely, but other ways you can increase your chances include making a meal plan to avoid overeating, identifying when you crave a cigarette the most, start exercising more often and maintaining a positive attitude.

Can I buy Champix online?

You must have a prescription from a doctor to by Champix. UK registered pharmacies like Medicine Direct sell this product online. You should only order online from registered pharmacies when buying Champix. If you order be-fore 2pm, we can offer you next day delivery.

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:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • 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:

  • Stroke
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Difficulty in speech or coordination
  • Reduced sense of taste
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Throat pain, snoring
  • Feeling cold, cyst
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep walking
  • Psychosis
  • 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:

  • Cimetidine
  • Any medicines to treat breathing problems, such as theophylline
  • Blood clotting medicines, such as warfarin
  • Insulin
  • 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

Champix Ingredients

The active ingredient contained in Champix is varenicline 0.5mg or varenicline 1mg, depending on the dosage strength.

Other ingredients are: Cellulose, Microcrystalline, Calcium Hydrogen Phosphate Anhydrous Croscarmellose Sodium, Silica, Colloidal Anhydrous, Magnesium Stearate.

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This page has recently been medically reviewed by Sonia Khan MPharm: 2076091

Updated on: 07/06/2021

This content has been written by James Nuttall and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan.

Sonia Khan Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Sonia Khan
MPharm: 2076091


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