Champix (varenicline tartrate) is based on a plant extract, which is found in a variety of plants. It doesn’t contain nicotine and isn’t addictive.
Champix was designed to do two things.
- Reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that happen when you give up smoking.
- Block the effects of nicotine - so if you do smoke while on Champix, you may get reduced feelings of satisfaction and not enjoy it as much. This can help remind you why you are stopping and reduce the desire to have another cigarette in the future.
Champix contains no nicotine, this works because champix blocks the receptors for nicotine in your brain. Without champix when you smoke, the nicotine you inhale attaches to these receptors. This sends a message to a different part of your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine gives you a feeling of pleasure. But it does not last long. That's why your body craves more nicotine. This can become a vicious cycle and Champix helps break this cycle.
In studies, 44% of Champix users were quit during weeks 9 to 12 of treatment (compared to 18% on sugar pill). Champix also helped reduce the urge to smoke helping Smokers Quit
Common Side Effects
Common side effects include nausea, headaches, abnormal dreams, difficulty sleeping, increased appetite, altered taste sensation, dry mouth, dizziness, tiredness and sleepiness, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling bloated, indigestion and flatulence.
If you suffer from dizziness or sleepiness from taking Champix, you should not drive, operate machinery or engage in any other potentially hazardous activities until the symptoms pass.
Rare Side Effects
Rare side effects include heart attacks, hallucinations, changes in thinking or behaviour (such as aggression and irrational behaviour), depression and suicidal thoughts.
If you become agitated, depressed or suicidal whilst taking Champix, you should stop your treatment and contact us via your online Patient Record. In an emergency you should visit your nearest accident and emergency department.
Before starting Champix you should decide on a date in the second week of treatment on which to stop smoking. When you begin the treatment you should take 1 tablet a day for the first 3 days, then 2 tablets a day for the rest of the course. Full details are included with the medicine.