Champix (Varenicline) works by mimicking the effect of nicotine on the brain and thus reducing cravings and effects that cigarettes can give you i.e. the feeling of satisfaction. It is based on a plant extract and has been found to be effective in helping patients to give up smoking completely.
Champix works by blocking nicotine receptors in your brain but at the same time it also stimulates them to engage the same feeling of satisfaction as a cigarette would give. If nicotine is then smoked, it will no longer be able to bind to these receptors and thus over time the craving for nicotine will reduce.
In studies, 44% of Champix users quit smoking during weeks 9 to 12 of treatment (compared to 18% on sugar pill).
After 12 weeks if you have stopped smoking, it may be suitable to take an additional 12 weeks of treatment with CHAMPIX 1 mg film-coated tablets twice daily to help avoid returning back to smoking. If you are not able or willing to quit smoking straight away, you should reduce smoking during the first 12 weeks of treatment and quit by the end of that treatment period. You should then continue to take CHAMPIX 1 mg film-coated tablets twice daily for a further 12 weeks resulting in a total of 24 weeks of treatment.
If you take more CHAMPIX than you should
If you accidentally take more CHAMPIX than your doctor prescribed, you must seek medical advice or go to the nearest hospital casualty department immediately. Take your box of tablets with you.
If you forget to take CHAMPIX
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet. It is important that you take CHAMPIX regularly at the same time each day. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, do not take the tablet that you have missed.
If you stop taking CHAMPIX
It has been shown in clinical trials that taking all doses of your medicine at the appropriate times and for the recommended duration of treatment described above will increase your chances of stopping smoking. Therefore, unless your doctor instructs you to stop treatment, it is important to keep taking CHAMPIX.
- Very common side effects which may affect more than 1 in 10 people are listed below:
Smokers who used Champix have reported changes in mood, behaviour or thinking, and sometimes these changes have been serious. It is not known if those changes are related to the medicine or to stopping smoking. If you or your family notice changes in your behaviour, mood or thinking, stop taking Champix and see your doctor.
There have been reports of heart attack and strokes in some people taking Champix. Heart attacks and strokes can also be caused by smoking. If you have any of these conditions tell your doctor.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
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Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.