What are the key benefits of Champix?
When taking Champix for 12 weeks, 44% of more than 2,000 people in two official trials did not smoke at all for the last four weeks, and 22% did not smoke at all up until a year after the start of the trial – even though Champix was not taken after week 12. This quit rate was more than twice as effective than if no medicines were taken. Champix was shown to be significantly better than Zyban (bupropion). It was shown to not only reduce the craving and withdrawal, but also reduced the pleasure experienced when smoking.
It has also been shown that if Champix is taken for a further 12 weeks (a 24-week period in total), 70% of a little over 600 patients did not smoke at all in the 24-week period.
How to take Champix
Always take Champix exactly as your doctor has directed. Before starting your course of medication, you should decide on a date in the second week of treatment (between day 8 and day 14) when you will stop smoking. You should write this date down as a reminder.
The usual dose, which you should follow from day 1, is described below:
Day 1 - 3: Take one white 0.5mg film-coated tablet once a day.
Day 4 - 7: Take one white 0.5mg film-coated tablet twice daily – once in the morning and once in the evening – at about the same time each day.
Day 8 - 14: Take one light blue 1mg film-coated tablet twice daily – once in the morning and once in the evening – at about the same time each day. Weeks 3-12
Day 15 – end of treatment: Take one light blue Champix 1mg film-coated tablet twice daily – once in the morning and once in the evening – at about the same time each day.
Should you experience adverse side effects that you cannot tolerate, your doctor may decide to reduce your dose temporarily or permanently to 0.5mg twice daily. If you have stopped smoking after 12 weeks of treatment, your doctor may recommend an additional 12 weeks of treatment with Champix 1mg tablets twice daily.
Is Champix suitable for me?
Champix should only be taken when prescribed by a registered doctor, and you must be over 18 years of age and not pregnant. A lower dose of the treatment may be required if you problems with your kidneys.
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, or have recently taken, any other medicines, including treatments obtained without a prescription. The effects of changes in your body from stopping smoking, with or without treatment with Champix, may alter the way in which other drugs work. Therefore, in some cases an adjustment of the dose may be necessary – for example, when taking theophylline (a medicine to treat breathing problems), warfarin (a medicine to reduce blood clotting), and insulin (a medicine to treat diabetes). If in doubt, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist. For some people, stopping smoking has been associated with an increased chance of experiencing feelings like depression and anxiety. You may temporarily experience increased irritability, the urge to smoke, and depression and/or sleep disturbances when you stop taking Champix, so your doctor may decide to gradually lower your dose at the end of treatment.
What are the side effects of Champix?
You may not experience them, but Champix can cause side effects. The most common side effects are headache, difficulty sleeping, abnormal dreams and nausea. An increased appetite, changes in the way things taste and a dry mouth are other side effects. There’s also the possibility of sleepiness, tiredness and dizziness, as well as vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling bloated, stomach discomfort, indigestion, and flatulence.
If you take Champix and experience agitation, a depressed mood, changes in behaviour that are of concern to you or your family or your doctor, or if you develop suicidal thoughts or behaviours, you should discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately.
You should consult the full list of side effects for Champix on the patient information leaflet provided with your treatment before starting to take the tablets.
There are plenty of online resources to help you while you are stopping smoking, such as the NHS "Smoke Free" website at http://smokefree.nhs.uk.