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What is Champix?

Champix is a prescription treatment designed to help you quit smoking.

The health risks associated with smoking are numerous and well documented, but the difficulties associated with quitting, such as intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms, can make it out of reach for many. Champix makes it easier to quit by relieving these symptoms, helping you make a long-lasting change.

How does Champix work?

Champix tablets help relieve the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that happen when you quit smoking.

When you smoke, nicotine from the cigarette attaches to nicotinic receptors in your brain. This releases dopamine, a chemical in the body that makes you feel good. After you haven’t smoked for a while, dopamine levels drop, causing the withdrawal symptoms that make you crave a cigarette.

Varenicline, the active ingredient in Champix, stops this reward cycle by binding directly to nicotine receptors in the brain. This makes it so that nicotine can’t attach to these receptors, decreasing the positive feeling you get when smoking a cigarette. Varenicline still releases dopamine, but at lower levels than when you smoke, which reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This smooths the transition, and makes giving up smoking much easier.

Because you start treatment days before you actually quit, when you do finally stop, the immediate symptoms are much less likely to become overpowering.

When should I stop smoking on Champix?

You should start taking Champix tablets at least a week before you decide to stop smoking. This ensures the treatment has had enough time to build up in your system to work effectively. Most people set their quit date during the second week of treatment.

How do I take Champix?

If this is your first time, it is recommended that you begin with the 12-week starter pack (containing 165 tablets).

The dosage changes over time. For the first three days, you should take a single 0.5mg tablet once a day. The dosage should then be increased to two 0.5mg tablets, one in the morning and one in the evening, for the next four days. After that, the 1mg tablets can then be taken twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, for the next 11 weeks.

After you have completed the 12-week course, you can decide if you’d like to continue afterwards with refill packs to further increase your chances of quitting.

Can I take Champix and nicotine patches together?

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), often taken in the form of nicotine patches, should not be used while on Champix, as it may lead to an increased risk of side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness, and tiredness. To ensure your safety, you should detail any other stop smoking treatments you are currently using during your consultation.

What precautions should I take?

This medication can be taken by most people who wish to quit smoking, but it may not be suitable for you if you:

  • are pregnant
  • are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • experience mental health issues such as depression

There has not been enough research on the suitability of Champix while breastfeeding. You should inform your doctor if you would like to breastfeed while on this medication.

People with cardiovascular disease have experienced a worsening of symptoms while on this medication. You should seek the immediate help of a healthcare professional if you experience the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.

You should mention any existing and past medical conditions or medications you are taking in your consultation. If your doctor is concerned about any interactions, they will be able to recommend an alternative smoking cessation treatment.

Can I drink alcohol while on Champix?

Champix may change the way your body reacts to alcohol, increasing the intoxicating effects. It is recommended that you lower your alcohol intake until you know how your body reacts to alcohol while on this medication.

What are the side effects of Champix?

Quitting smoking, whether with treatment or without, can cause various symptoms. The most common side effects associated with using Champix include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Indigestion

Less common side effects include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain

It has been reported that there is an increase in depression in patients taking Champix. If you find yourself experiencing any concerning thoughts or behaviour changes, stop treatment and contact your doctor immediately.

For a full list of side effects, read the patient information leaflet. If you find that you experience any side effects that are particularly concerning, you should stop taking these tablets and visit your doctor.

Coming off Champix

When you want to come off of Champix, your doctor may suggest reducing the dose gradually before you completely stop taking the medication. This is because some people may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as an urge to smoke, depressed mood, or difficulty sleeping, when stopping taking Champix suddenly.

Are there any alternatives to Champix?

Zyban, which contains the active ingredient bupropion, is another popular stop smoking treatment. Originally developed to treat depression, it differs from Champix in the way it works by targeting the areas of the brain associated with addictions.

Are generic options available?

Champix is a prescription smoking cessation treatment manufactured by Pfizer. Generics are cheaper alternatives that contain the same active ingredient and work in exactly the same way. At this time, a generic form of Champix is not available in the UK.

What are some other methods that can help me stop smoking?

Quitting is a difficult process. Some tips that may help you make the change include:

  • exercising
  • creating a support network of family and friends who can help you break the habit
  • making a list of all of the health, financial, and social benefits you will experience when you’ve quit
  • reminding yourself of why you want to quit once you’ve set a date, and what harm might come from it if you don’t
  • joining a local stop smoking service - the NHS has an online tool Trusted source NHS Government Source Go to source to find a local stop smoking service near you

Where can I buy Champix online?

You can buy Champix online from euroClinix. It is a prescription-only medication, so you will need to complete an online consultation before ordering. Your consultation will then be carefully reviewed by one of our UK doctors to determine your suitability. If your prescription is approved, it will be dispatched from our UK pharmacy with free next-day delivery.

Can I buy Champix over-the-counter?

This medication is not available over-the-counter. Only an authorised UK-qualified doctor will be able to prescribe this treatment. Our doctors will review your consultation and prescribe an appropriate dose if they feel that this medication is right for you.

Is it safe to buy Champix online?

It is safe to buy Champix online as long as you are purchasing through a reputable source.

When purchasing medicine online, you should always check that the pharmacy is registered with the relevant regulatory agencies. euroClinix is registered with the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and General Medical Council (GMC).

Note: You must complete a short online consultation so that our doctor can ensure that the treatment is suitable for you. The above pricing should only be used as a reference. The final decision to issue this treatment lies with the prescribing doctor.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 28-12-2023
Champix information
Product nameChampix
Active ingredient(s)Varenicline tartrate
Trustpilot rating4.7/5
Trustpilot reviews183
AvailabilityOut of stock
DescriptionChampix is a prescription smoking cessation treatment which is almost twice as effective as anything else available
ExemptionSubject to medical prescription
Available dosage0.5mg,1mg
ApplicationMen and women over 18 looking to quit smoking
UsageTake 2 tablets daily (dosage depending on stage of treatment)
Drug classNicotine dependance treatment
Alcohol consumptionAvoid alcohol consumption
When breastfeedingNot recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
When pregnantNot recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
Champix reviews
Pack of Champix 0.5mg and 1mg varenicline film-coated tablets Excellent 4.7 183 patients have reviewed Champix on Trustpilot
24 Jan

Will start course 1/2/18 hope it works

Nicole Oxford

Further reading

What are the effects of smoking?

What are the effects of smoking?

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Does smoking cause erectile dysfunction?

Does smoking cause erectile dysfunction?

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What is the difference between Champix and Zyban?

What is the difference between Champix and Zyban?

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The effects of passive smoking

The effects of passive smoking

Reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana
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