1. About Champix
Champix (also called varenicline) is a medicine that can help you stop smoking. It reduces the cravings for nicotine and helps with the withdrawal symptoms you get when you stop smoking. These can include an urge to smoke again, feeling depressed or irritable, and difficulty sleeping.
Champix is only available on prescription and comes as tablets.
Shortage of Champix supply
Champix (varenicline) tablets are currently out of stock from the manufacturer, until further notice. If you are taking Champix tablets, speak to your prescriber or stop smoking advisor. They will be able to advise on nicotine replacement therapies and discuss your treatment options.
2. Belangrijkste feiten
- Champix will not make you stop smoking on its own. You will still need determination to break the smoking habit.
- The usual course of treatment lasts 12 weeks.
- After 9 days of taking Champix, you’ll be able to notice that you crave fewer cigarettes each day. The amount of Champix in your body should be enough to help you stop smoking.
- Common side effects include headaches, feeling sick or dizzy.
- It’s important to decide on a date you want to stop smoking. You’ll start taking Champix 1 week before this date.
3. Who can and cannot take Champix
Champix can only be taken by adults aged 18 years and over. Tell your doctor before starting Champix if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to Champix or any other medicine
- have kidney problems
- have a mental health condition
- have problems with your heart
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
4. How and when to use Champix
Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
It’s important to decide on the date you want to stop smoking. You’ll start taking the tablets 1 week before your stop smoking date. This allows you to build up the dose and gradually helps your body get used to the medicine.
Champix tablets can be taken with or without food. If you find taking Champix makes you feel sick, try taking it after a meal or snack. Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water.
Dosage and strength
Champix tablets come as 0.5mg and 1mg tablets. A course of treatment usually lasts for 12 weeks.
Your weekly plan may be:
- day 1 to 3 – one 0.5mg tablet taken once a day
- days 4 to 7 – one 0.5mg tablet taken twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening
- Weeks 2 to 12:
- day 8 to end of treatment – one 1mg tablet taken twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening
- It’s important to complete the full 12-week course, even if you have stopped smoking. Completing the course will help you not start smoking again.
- Your doctor may recommend taking Champix for a further 12 weeks, if they think it will reduce your risk of starting smoking again.
Wat als ik het vergeet in te nemen?
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it’s less than 3 hours before your next dose is due. In this case it’s better to leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal. Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
Wat als ik te veel neem?
- you take too much Champix
- Als u naar de spoedeisende hulp moet, rijd dan niet zelf. Laat iemand anders u rijden of bel een ambulance.
- Take the Champix box, or the leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine with you.
Like all medicines, Champix can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.
Vaak voorkomende bijwerkingen
These common side effects may happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They’re usually mild and go away by themselves. Keep taking the medicine but talk to your doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away:
- sore or swollen (inflamed) nose and throat
- ziek voelen (misselijkheid)
- difficulty sleeping
- duizelig voelen
- bad taste in your mouth
Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 10,000 people.
Urgent advice: Tell your doctor now if you:
feel agitated, depressed or have thoughts about hurting yourself
Immediate action required: Call 999 now if:
- you have had a seizure or fit
- you get weakness on one side of your body, trouble speaking or thinking, loss of balance or blurred eyesight – these can be signs of a stroke
- you get chest pain or shortness of breath – these may be signs of a heart attack
Ernstige allergische reactie
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to Champix.
Onmiddellijke actie vereist:
- u krijgt huiduitslag die kan bestaan uit jeukende, rode, gezwollen, blaren of vervellende huid
- je piept
- je krijgt een beklemd gevoel op de borst of keel
- je hebt moeite met ademhalen of praten
- uw mond, gezicht, lippen, tong of keel beginnen op te zwellen
- U zou een ernstige allergische reactie kunnen hebben en mogelijk onmiddellijke behandeling in het ziekenhuis nodig hebben.
- These are not all the side effects of Champix. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicine packet.
- You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme.
- Visit Yellow Card for further information.
6. How to cope with side effects of Champix
Wat te doen aan:
- sore or swollen (inflamed) nose and throat – talk to your doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away. You could also try taking an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen for a few days.
- feeling sick – stick to simple meals and do not eat rich or spicy food. It might help to take your Champix after a meal or snack.
- headaches – make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink too much alcohol. You can take an everyday painkiller like paracetamol. Talk to your doctor if the headaches last longer than a week or are severe.
- feeling dizzy – as your body gets used to Champix, this side effect should wear off. If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down until you feel better. Do not drive, cycle or operate machinery until you feel OK again. Try to avoid alcohol as it will make you feel worse.
- difficulty sleeping – try taking your last dose earlier in the evening and not too close to bedtime.
- bad taste in your mouth – try chewing sugar-free gum. You could also rinse your mouth with water or have a drink of juice or water.
7. Zwangerschap en borstvoeding
Champix and pregnancy
Champix is not usually recommended if you’re pregnant. This is because there’s not enough evidence to know whether it’s safe for your baby.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, some birth defects, premature birth, low birth weight, and some pregnancy complications. Your doctor may be able to recommend a different option to Champix, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Champix and breastfeeding
There is not enough research to know whether Champix gets into your breast milk. You’re generally recommended not to take this medicine if you’re breastfeeding.
Niet-dringend advies: Vertel het uw arts als u:
- proberen zwanger te worden
- borstvoeding geven
8. Waarschuwingen met andere medicijnen
Champix does not usually have an effect on any other medicines. However, when you stop smoking, with or without Champix, your doctor may need to change your dose of medicines such as:
- theophylline, a medicine for breathing problems
- warfarin, a medicine to reduce blood clotting
- insulin, to treat diabetes
- olanzapine and clozapine, used to treat psychosis
Mixing Champix with herbal remedies or supplements
There’s very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements while taking Champix. They’re not tested in the same way as medicines. Ask a pharmacist for advice.
Important: Medicine safety
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements.
9. Common questions about Champix
How does it work?
Champix helps people to stop smoking by copying the effect of nicotine in your body. This reduces the urge to smoke and helps with the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine such as:
-the urge to smoke again
-feeling depressed or irritable
Most people who smoke would like to stop. One of the reasons that many struggle to stop is that nicotine, which you breathe in when you smoke, is addictive. Soon after your last smoke, you start to have withdrawal symptoms. This is where Champix can help.
However, Champix will not make you stop smoking on its own. You will still need to really want to succeed and break the smoking habit.
Hoe lang duurt het om te werken?
You will slowly increase your dose of Champix dose during the first 8 days, to reduce your chances of feeling sick. From day 9, you'll be able to notice that you crave fewer cigarettes each day. By that time, the amount of Champix in your body should be enough to help you stop smoking.
Hoe lang zal ik het nemen?
Many people stop smoking within a 12-week course. However, sometimes your doctor may recommend an additional 12 weeks of treatment if:
-you’ve stopped smoking but they think you need more time to prevent you from smoking again
-you have not stopped smoking completely within the first 12 weeks – if you’re not ready or able to stop smoking straight away, try to cut back on your smoking during the first 12 weeks of treatment
-If you have not stopped smoking after 24 weeks, talk to your doctor or nurse. They will be able to recommend other options, if this medicine is not working for you.
What will happen when I stop taking it?
A few people may get withdrawal effects for a short time if they stop taking Champix suddenly. You may have an urge to smoke again, feel depressed or irritable, and have difficulty sleeping.
To reduce the risk of these effects, your doctor may suggest that you gradually reduce the dose over a week or so, before you stop taking Champix. It’s important to complete the full 12-week course, even if you have stopped smoking before the 12 weeks are up.
Are there other treatments that can help me stop smoking?
If you want to stop smoking, several stop smoking treatments are available from pharmacies, shops and on prescription. The best treatment for you will depend on your personal preference, your age, if you're pregnant or breastfeeding and any medical conditions you have.
Other treatments include:
nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) – a range of products which give a low level of nicotine, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals present in tobacco smoke. Available on prescription from a doctor or an NHS stop smoking service.
bupropion (Zyban) – a medicine originally used to treat depression, but it has since been found to help people stop smoking. Only available on prescription.
What NHS services are there to help me stop smoking?
Local stop smoking services are available to help you stop smoking. These free services provide support and effective methods to help you. Your doctor can refer you, or you can phone a local stop smoking service to make an appointment with an adviser. Find out more about NHS stop smoking services.
Kan ik er alcohol bij drinken?
Yes, you can drink alcohol with Champix. However, there have been some reports that taking Champix increases the effects of alcohol. You may want to stop drinking alcohol or limit how much you drink while you're taking it.
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
You can eat and drink normally while taking Champix.
Heeft het invloed op mijn anticonceptie?
Champix does not affect any type of contraception, including the combined pill and emergency contraception.
Zal het mijn vruchtbaarheid beïnvloeden?
There’s no clear evidence to suggest that Champix will reduce fertility in either men or women.
Mag ik autorijden of fietsen?
Champix may sometimes make you feel sleepy or dizzy. If this happens to you, do not drive a car, ride a bike, or use tools or machinery until you feel better.