What is Champix?
Champix is a prescription medicine which is used to help motivated adults stop smoking.
How Does Champix Work?
Champix can help to relieve the craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping smoking.
Champix does not contain nicotine, but it has been shown to affect the nicotine receptor that is thought to be most related to smoking addiction. Champix can affect this receptor in two opposite ways: it acts like a weaker version of nicotine, and also blocks nicotine from getting to the receptor because it binds more tightly. Although it is thought that this may be, in part, how Champix works, it is not known exactly how the drug works in people.
To increase the chances of success, Champix should be used in combination with supportive counselling as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
Can I smoke while taking Champix?
You can keep smoking prior to your quitting date. However, before starting your course of Champix you should decide on a date in the second week of treatment (between Day 8 and Day 14) when you will stop smoking. Continuing to smoke after your quit date will reduce your chance of breaking your smoking addiction.
Who should not take Champix?
Do not take Champix if:
You are allergic (hypersensitive) to varenicline tartrate or any of the other ingredients of Champix.
you are using nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches, gum or inhaler. The combination of Champix and nicotine replacement therapy is not expected to improve your chances of quitting, and may result in more side effects than with Champix alone.
What dosage forms does it come in?
Champix is available as film-coated tablets. The 0.5 mg tablets are white and the 1 mg tablets are light blue.
The usual dose for adults which you should follow from Day 1 is described in the following table:
Days 1 - 3 - Take one white Champix 0.5 mg tablet once a day.
Days 4 - 7 - Take one white Champix 0.5 mg tablet twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, at about the same time each day.
Days 8 – end of treatment - Take one light blue Champix 1 mg tablet twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, at about the same time each day.
The maximum dose that could be prescribed to you is 2 mg/day.
If you are experiencing problematic side effects, talk with your doctor who may reduce your dose temporarily or permanently.
You should take Champix for 12 weeks.
If you have stopped smoking after 12 weeks of treatment, your doctor may recommend additional weeks of Champix treatment.
Champix may be taken with or without food.
REMEMBER: This medication has been prescribed specifically for you. Do not give it to anyone else.
If you accidentally take more Champix than your doctor prescribed, you must seek medical advice or go to the nearest hospital emergency department immediately. Take your medication with you.
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, as long as it is within a few hours of the missed dose.
If it is longer than that since the missed dose, or if you do not remember whether you took a dose or not, then skip that dose, and wait to take the next dose at the correct time.
Warnings and Precautions
BEFORE you use Champix talk to your doctor or pharmacist if:
As an adjustment of the dose of these medicines may be necessary once you are smoke-free.
Pregnancy - Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
You should ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medication, including Champix, if you are breastfeeding, as the medicine may pass into breast milk. Champix is not recommended for use in children under 18 years of age.
Driving and using machines
Do not engage in potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a car or operating dangerous machines, until you are sure that this medication does not affect your mental alertness or physical coordination.
Use of Champix with other therapies for smoking cessation:
The safety and benefits of taking Champix in combination with other medicines for stopping smoking have not been studied. Taking Champix in combination with other smoking-cessation therapies (e.g. nicotine replacement therapy) is therefore not recommended. Using Champix in combination with nicotine replacement therapies (e.g. patch, gum or inhaler) is not likely to increase your chances of quitting smoking, and it may result in more side effects than with Champix alone.
You are more likely to stop smoking if you are motivated to stop. Your doctor and pharmacist can provide advice, support and sources of further information to help ensure your attempt to stop smoking is successful.
Always take Champix exactly as your doctor has told you. You should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
Before starting your course of Champix you should decide on a date in the second week of treatment (between Day 8 and Day 14) when you will stop smoking. This lets Champix build up in your body.
You can keep smoking during this time. You should write your quit date on the Champix pack as a reminder. If you slip after that target date, keep trying. Some people need a few weeks for Champix to work best.
What are the possible side effects?
Whether you are taking medication to stop smoking or not the following are symptoms you may feel: depressed, short-tempered, frustrated or angry, nervous, impatient; have difficulty concentrating. Your appetite may increase, and you may gain some weight.
Like all medicines, Champix can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
The common side effects are mostly mild to moderate and these usually occur in the first weeks of treatment.
The most common side effects include:
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience unusual feelings of agitation depressed mood, hostility, changes in behaviour or suicidal thoughts. Stop taking Champix if you experience these symptoms in a way that is not typical for you, or if you have thoughts of self-harm or harm to others.
These symptoms have been reported in patients trying to stop smoking with or without Champix. It is not known if these symptoms are related to Champix.
Champix contains the active ingredient varenicline.