Champix (Varenicline)


Champix (Varenicline) is a prescription-only medicine which will greatly increase your chances of successfully quitting smoking. It contains no nicotine and works to relieve the craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with giving up smoking.

  • 4 week
  • 8 week
  • 12 week
  • 16 weeks
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What is Champix

  • How to take Champix

    Before starting Champix, decide on a date in the second week of treatment on which to stop smoking.

    Take 1 tablet a day for the first 3 days, then 2 tablets a day (1 in the morning, 1 in the evening) for the rest of the course.

    Ensure you take the tablets as indicated on the pack, as the dose changes after the first week. Full details are included with the treatment – please ensure you read these and your prescription carefully.

    A total course of 12 weeks is recommended. Request your starter pack and, if you’re clinically suitable, we will make subsequent packs available in your Patient Record.

  • How does Champix work?

    Varenicline is the active ingredient in Champix. It contains no nicotine but mimics the effects of nicotine on the brain. This reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

    Champix stimulates nicotinic receptors in the brain, which relieves the craving and withdrawal symptoms you can get when you stop smoking.

    It also helps prevent nicotine from attaching to the receptors in the first place, so if you do relapse and have a cigarette, the nicotine you inhale will have a less enjoyable effect.

  • What are the side effects of Champix?

    Common side effects of this medicine include nausea (feeling sick), headaches, abnormal dreams, difficulty sleeping, increased appetite, altered taste sensation, dry mouth, dizziness, tiredness and sleepiness, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling bloated, indigestion and flatulence.

    If you suffer from dizziness or sleepiness from taking Champix, you should not drive, operate machinery or engage in any other potentially hazardous activities until the symptoms pass.

    For full information on side effects and correct use, see the patient information leaflet.

  • Are there any rare side effects of Champix?

    In extreme cases, some people experience rare side effects. These can include heart attacks, hallucinations, changes in thinking or behaviour (such as aggression and irrational behaviour), depression and suicidal thoughts.

    If you become agitated, depressed or suicidal whilst taking Champix, you should stop your treatment and contact us via your online Patient Record. In case of an emergency, go to your nearest A&E department.

  • How long does Champix take to work?

    Champix has been shown to increase the likelihood of successfully stopping smoking when compared to people who try to quit ‘cold turkey’. Remember, you are more likely to quit smoking if you are motivated to stop.

  • What happens if I forget to take a tablet?

    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. If, it is within 3-4 hours before your next dose, do not take the tablet that you have missed.

  • Safety: taking other medicines

    You should be able to take Champix alongside other medicines. However, as is true of all medication, Champix can interact with other medicines. This is why it is important that you let us know which prescription, over-the-counter medicines and recreational drugs you are taking so that we can prescribe Champix safely.

  • Alternative treatments

    There are many ways to quit smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy is one way and involves the use of lozenges, patches, gums, sprays and inhalers to substitute nicotine.

    Another prescription medicine to help you quit smoking is Zyban (bupropion). Zyban is not available through our service  as studies show it has more side effects than Champix and is not as effective.

    Counselling, hypnotherapy, acupuncture and quitting ‘cold turkey’ with no support are all other ways of quitting smoking.

Additional information


4 week, 8 week, 12 week, 16 weeks


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