What are Champix tablets?
Champix tablets are taken to help people to quit smoking. They are taken twice daily in a 12-week course. In the UK it is available only on prescription. The active ingredient of Champix is Varenicline. This is a drug licensed in the UK and USA (where it is known as Chantix).
Dr Fox supplies Champix on prescription where prices include the prescription.
How do Champix tablets work?
Champix works by reducing the desire to smoke and reducing the pleasure of smoking. Whilst a person takes Champix they are less likely to want to smoke. If they do smoke cigarettes will give them less satisfaction.
Technically speaking Champix is a partially selective nicotine receptor agonist.
How effective is Champix?
Champix as an aid to smoking cessation is more effective than nicotine replacement or Zyban.
4 in 10 people using Champix were able to stop smoking at the end of a 12-week course. This compares with less than 2 in 10 taking dummy tablets (placebo). 2 in 10 people stop permanently with Champix compared with 1 in 10 on dummy tablets (placebo).
Giving up smoking is best achieved for most people if they receive support to quit. Encouragement from health professionals and friends and family is helpful. Successfully stopping smoking often requires multiple attempts.
What are the side effects of Champix tablets?
Side effects of Champix are quite common. They are usually moderate or mild and occur most in the first week or so of treatment. 3 in 100 people taking Champix give up taking it because of nausea. 11 in 100 give up because of side effects compared with 9 in 100 taking dummy tablets (placebo).
Some of the side effects of Champix are similar to the symptoms reported by people giving up smoking. A full list of side effects can be seen in the Patient Information Leaflet.
Champix and low mood
Whilst Champix is being taken there may be an increase in depression, irritability, agitation and suicidal thinking. If these occur Champix should be stopped and a doctor consulted.
When Champix is stopped at the end of a 12-week course a small number of people have irritability, urge to smoke, sleep difficulty and depression. These symptoms are reduced if the dose is tapered slowly rather than stopped abruptly.
Champix dosage (how much, how often and for how long)
Champix is best started with a starter pack where the dose is built up over a few days. The course of 12 weeks should be started 1-2 weeks before the quit date.
At the end of the 12-week course Champix is stopped. There may be some benefit in taking Champix for a further 12 weeks, particularly in people who have failed or achieved only partial success on a 12-week course.
People who get side effects with the normal dose of Champix 1mg (Varenicline) twice a day should try the lower dose of 0.5mg twice daily.
See the Patient Information Leaflet for details.
Low cost champix online is likely to be fake. Genuine Champix is produced by the drug company Pfizer and is not inexpensive.
Written by Robin Pointer (medical writer) - the views expressed are those of the author.