Champix contains the medicine varenicline that is used to help people stop smoking. Varenicline reduces craving and helps deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It also makes smoking less pleasurable which helps in quitting smoking.
Champix is used to help smokers quit effectively. It works by reducing cravings for nicotine and helps cope with withdrawal symptoms like an urge to smoke again, feeling depressed or irritable that smokers generally experience when they are trying to quit. Smokers who are using Champix will find that they find smokes less pleasurable, and it is easier to stop smoking. Champix is only available on prescription and comes in the form of tablets.
Champix has been proved to help smokers quit effectively in a laboratory setting. The same study also showed that patients who used Champix were able to remain non-smokers after treatment.
Smokers become addicted to nicotine, a chemical that is found in tobacco that cigarettes have. Nicotine binds with receptors in our nervous system and helps release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for how people experience pleasure.
It is believed that Varenicline, the active ingredient in Champix activates these receptors and blocks nicotine from attaching to them. Champix does not contain nicotine and it is not addictive.
The average course of taking these tablets is 12 weeks and they come as 0.5mg and 1mg tablets.
It is important to set a date when you will start smoking since you need to start taking Champix tablets one to two weeks before you stop smoking. Your doctor will draw up a treatment plan that is best suited for you. But, here's what your weekly plan might look like:
0.5 mg tablet once a day for the first three days.
0.5 mg tablet taken twice a day for the rest of the week.
Week 2 to 12
1mg tablet taken twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Completing the 12-week course is crucial even if you have successfully stopped smoking halfway through the course. This will help you not smoke again. These tablets are to be swallowed whole with a drink of water and they can be taken with or without food.
Some medicines are effective on some people but might cause side effects to a minority of the patients who take them. Champix has a few common side effects that are experienced by a select few people. These side effects are mild and go away by themselves. The common side effects are:
Inflamed nose and throat
Bad taste in your mouth
Serious side effects happen in less than 1 in 10,000 people. These include:
Feeling agitated or depressed, or having suicidal thoughts. Side effects that affect mental health might also include feelings of aggression, mood swings, seeing, hearing things that are not there.
If you have a seizure
If you get chest pains or shortness of breath. These are signs of a beginning of a heart attack.
You get weakness on one side of your body, trouble speaking or blurred vision — these can be signs of a stroke.
Champix is a safe medication that can be taken by adults who are aged 18 and older. You should tell your doctor before you start taking Champix if you:
Have pre-existing heart conditions
Have kidney problems
Have a mental health condition
Have ever had an allergic reaction to Champix or any other medicine.
Champix is not recommended for pregnant women because there’s not enough evidence to know whether it is safe for your baby.
Champix is also not recommended for women who are breastfeeding since there’s not enough research to know whether Champix gets into your breast milk.
Champix doesn't usually affect any other medications. But when you smoke, you need to change your dose of medicines like:
Medicines for breathing problems like Theophylline
Medicines to treat diabetes like Insulin
Medicines to reduce blood clotting like warfarin
Medicines used to treat psychosis like olanzapine and clozapine
You should also inform your doctor if you are taking Champix with any herbal remedies or supplements.
You need to store Champix tablets in a cool, dry place that is away from direct heat and light. Keep this medicine out of reach of children.
You can buy Champix tablets online from MedsNow. The medicines are delivered conveniently to your doorstep.
Does Champix make you gain weight?
No Champix doesn’t make you gain weight, but when people quit smoking, they tend to gain weight. Smoking speeds up your metabolism and can help you suppress your appetite. So once you quit smoking you might gain weight. Research suggests that Champix can help limit weight gain after you’ve quit smoking.
How long does Champix take to work?
Champix might work differently on different people and how long it can take to work might also vary on how many cigarettes you smoke in a day.
But generally, you will be able to notice a steady decline in your cravings for cigarettes from the 9th or 10th day. By that time there will be enough Champix in your body to help you stop smoking.
Should I stop smoking as soon as I take Champix? or Is it dangerous to smoke while taking Champix?
It’s not dangerous to smoke while you’re taking Champix, in the first 1-2 weeks of Champix you continue smoking up until the ‘quit date’ you’ve set. After this time it’s not advised to carry on smoking, this is not because it is dangerous, it just means you will be less likely to quit completely.
What happens when you stop taking Champix? or Is it safe to use Champix continuously?
If you have completed your course of Champix and have successfully stopped smoking, then you will need no further treatment. However, in a small minority of the cases, an abrupt stop to the treatment may increase irritability, craving to smoke, and problems with depression or sleeping for a short period.
Though it depends on case to case basis, your doctor might prescribe you another round of treatment to help them quit.
What happens if I forget to take a tablet?
You must take Champix on time every day, but if you forget a dose take one immediately unless it is less than 3 hours before your next dose is due. Never take 2 doses at the same time to make up for the missed one. It is better to skip a dose than to take extra medication.
Can I take Champix and drive?
Champix may produce drowsiness and dizziness which can hamper your driving judgement. You should not engage in these activities until you know whether this medication affects your ability to perform these activities.
Can I take Champix during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Champix is not recommended for pregnant women because there's not enough evidence to know whether it is safe for your baby.
Champix is also not recommended for women who are breastfeeding since there's not enough research to know whether Champix gets into your breast milk.
Why does Champix cause nausea?
Champix tablets generally don’t cause nausea and can be taken on a full stomach or without food. Doctors might advise you to take the tablets after eating to reduce feelings of nausea.
Will Champix make me feel depressed?
Some people might experience changes in behaviour and mood when they start taking Champix. Talk to your doctor if you have feelings of depression and anxiety when you're on your Champix course.
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