Champix Continuation Pack

Champix contains the active substance varenicline. Champix can help to relieve the craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping smoking and also reduce the enjoyment of cigarettes if you do smoke when on treatment.

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What is Champix?

If you want to stop smoking, taking Champix is likely to more than double your chance of success.

The majority of people who smoke would like to stop. One of the main reasons that many people struggle to quit is that nicotine, which you breathe in when you smoke, is very addictive. Soon after your last smoke, you start to have withdrawal symptoms.

This is where Champix can help, It contains the active substance varenicline and works in 2 ways. It reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping smoking, but it also blocks the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking.

Evidence suggests it’s the most effective medicine for helping people stop smoking it doubles your chance of quitting smoking.

How does it work?

Varenicline mimics the effect of nicotine on the body. Therefore, it both reduces the urge to smoke and relieves withdrawal symptoms.

The precise action of varenicline is that it interferes with the receptors in the brain that nicotine would stimulate.

This mimics the effects of nicotine, to reduce cravings and withdrawal effects when you stop smoking. However, at the same time, it partially blocks the receptors and prevents nicotine from attaching to the receptors. This blocks the effect of nicotine in people who give in to temptation and have a cigarette.

How to use Champix

Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor if you are not sure. Varenicline does not make you stop smoking. You still need the determination to succeed and to break the smoking habit

Decide on a quit date – the date you intend to stop smoking.

Start taking the tablets one week before the quit date. The aim is to build up the dose so your body becomes used to the medicine before the quit date. The usual advice is to start with 0.5 mg daily for the first three days. Then 0.5 mg twice daily on days four to seven. Then, 1 mg twice daily for 11 weeks.

Take each dose with a full glass of water, preferably after eating. So, ideally, after breakfast and after your evening meal.

Tell your doctor if you develop any side effects. A reduction in dose may be an option if the side-effect is not serious.

The usual course of treatment is for 12 weeks. If you have successfully stopped smoking by this time:

  • In many cases, treatment is stopped and that is it. You are a non-smoker!
  • In some cases, an additional 12 weeks of treatment may be advised. You can discuss this with your doctor.

Varenicline is safe for most people to take, although there are some situations when it’s not recommended.

For example, it’s not suitable for:

  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People with severe kidney problems

What if I forget to take it?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Just take your next dose at your regular time.

What If I take more tablets than I 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.

Side effects & precautions

Most people who take varenicline do not develop any side effects, or they are only minor. However, it is strongly advised that you read the information that comes with the medicine for a full list of possible side effects and cautions. If you get the side effects you must seek urgent medical advice or go to the nearest hospital casualty department immediately.

Common Side effects

  • Feeling sick (nausea). This is often mild and tolerable.
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
  • Abnormal dreams.
  • Headaches.
  • Wind (flatulence).

Uncommon Side effects but potentially serious

  • May affect your ability to drive and your ability to use machines. Don’t take part in potentially hazardous activities, until you know Champix affects you.
  • Changes in mood such as agitation, depression.
  • Seizures.
  • Stroke.
  • heart attack.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Severe skin reactions including Erythema Multiforme (a type of rash).
  • Stevens Johnson Syndrome (a serious illness with blistering of the skin, mouth, around the eyes or genitals).
  • Serious allergic reactions including angioedema (swelling of the face, mouth, or throat).

We pride ourselves in the expertise, professionalism and compassion of our doctors and clinicians. It is our number one priority to look after your well-being and safety. We take extensive measures and precautions to deliver outstanding accessible care.

Our clinical team consists of only UK registered doctors and pharmacists who are experts in consultative medicine. All of our clinicians are registered with either the General Medical Council (GMC) and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

We’re here to help.

Our friendly team is available to help Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm.

If you need urgent assistance, do not use this service. Call 111, or in an emergency call 999.