Champix tablet How to take it? 

Before starting Champix you should decide on a date in the second week of treatment on which to stop smoking. When you begin the treatment you should take 1 tablet a day for the first 3 days, then 2 tablets a day for the rest of the course. Full details are included with the medicine.

How it works         

Champix relieves the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with giving up smoking. Champix does not contain nicotine.


The available evidence suggests that people taking Champix are more than 3 times as likely to successfully stop smoking than people who try to quit on their own. You are more likely to quit smoking if you are motivated to stop.

How can I order further supplies of Champix?

The full course of Champix lasts 12 weeks and you will be required to fill in the online questionnaire each time you re-order.

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 via this website 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.

Side effects

Rare Side Effects

Rare side effects 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 an emergency you should visit your nearest accident and emergency department.

Champix is taken in tablet form. You should take one tablet a day for the first three days, and then one tablet twice a day for the rest of the course. A full course of Champix lasts 12 weeks and you will significantly reduce your chances of a relapse if you follow the course through to the end. Champix is a prescription-only medicine, and if you choose to order it through our online service you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to enable our doctors to assess your suitability.

Common side effects

Common side effects include nausea, 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.

The most common side effect is nausea, affecting about three out of 10 people. This might be eased by taking Champix (varenicline) with food, or your doctor may recommend reducing your dose. Nausea is usually mild to moderate and fades with time. Other side effects include stomach or bowel problems (e.g. constipation, gas, dry mouth, vomiting, indigestion), headache, dizziness, sleeping problems, unusual dreams, feeling tired, increased appetite and changes in taste. They are usually mild and they generally appear in the first week of taking the medicine. Champix may cause other less common side effects. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any symptoms that concern you.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects related to Champix are uncommon and very serious side effects are rare. Symptoms of serious side effects are listed in the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI). If you have any of these symptoms, you need to tell your doctor as soon as possible. For very serious side effects, stop taking varenicline and go to hospital.

Some people have reported changes in mood or behaviour when they start taking Champix, usually within the first few weeks. These may include depression, agitation, aggression, thoughts of self harm, self harm, thinking about suicide, suicidal behaviour and hallucinations (seeing, hearing or sensing things that are not there). If you have any symptoms that concern you, you should stop taking Champix and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Symptoms can occur in people with no known history of mental illness. You should let family members and close friends know that you are taking Champix and ask them to be alert for unusual changes in your behaviour or mood. Several people who have experienced unexpected behaviour changes also reported having sleep disorders, especially nightmares, from the beginning of Champix use. Although, it should be noted that having abnormal dreams is a common side effect of varenicline, while the risk of serious behavioural changes is low. Champix may worsen symptoms in people with certain types of mental illness, so it is important to discuss your history with your doctor before taking varenicline.

It has been difficult for researchers to prove whether Champix is a cause of these mood and behaviour symptoms, as they are not common and some symptoms may also be due to nicotine withdrawal. Also, people who smoke have two to three times the risk of suicide compared to nonsmokers.

One study found that there may be a small increased risk for heart attack or stroke in people with heart or cardiovascular disease when using Champix, however this link has not been confirmed.


The risk of serious side effects in Champix users is low. For example, across 17 studies, 3.2% (32 in 1000) participants using Champix reported serious health problems that required medical attention, while 2.4% (24 in 1000) participants in the group not taking Champix had serious health problems. This research suggests that the risk of serious side effects among Champix users may be one-third higher than in those not using the drug

The risk of serious side effects may be higher in people already affected by certain illnesses. A possible link between varenicline and serious mental health and cardiovascular problems, while not proven, cannot be ruled out. If you have a history of mental illness, or of any other illness listed under What should I tell my doctor?, you need to discuss the risks and benefits of Champix with your doctor before you decide whether to use it. Family and carers of any person using Champix should be alert to mood and behaviour changes (read Side effects above).

Champix may make some people dizzy or sleepy. You need to know how it affects you before you drive a car, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous. In the United States, workers such as pilots and truck drivers are banned from using this medicine.

It is important to use Champix correctly, with your doctor’s supervision. Read the Consumer Medicine Information carefully and keep it until you’ve finished using the medicine. Never use any medication that has been prescribed for somebody else.

Taking too many tablets of Champix can cause serious side effects. If you think that you or someone else may have overdosed, immediately call your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26) for advice, even if there does not appear to be any effects. Or, go to hospital. Keep varenicline out of reach of children.

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