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How does Champix help you stop smoking?

Champix is the UK's most effective prescription medication for quitting smoking. To understand how Champix works, it is important to understand the process of smoking and nicotine addiction.

Nicotine is a chemical inhaled from the tobacco in cigarettes. When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain, stimulating nicotine receptors and causing the release of pleasurable chemicals (e.g. dopamine and endorphins). If the level of nicotine in the blood falls, withdrawal symptoms can develop (e.g. increased appetite, difficulty concentrating, irritability and dizziness). Most regular smokers are addicted to nicotine.

Champix helps you overcome nicotine addiction, with its active ingredient – varenicline. Varenicline mimics nicotine's effect on the body, partially stimulating the brain's nicotine receptors. This helps you to quit smoking in two ways. Firstly, by providing some of the stimulation that nicotine does, it reduces both cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Secondly, by inhibiting nicotine's ability to stimulate the brain's receptors, it diminishes the enjoyment cigarettes provide and decreases the temptation to smoke. This combined approach simultaneously fights the immediate need to smoke and the satisfaction smoking brings, maximising the chances of quitting.

Champix tablets are usually prescribed as a 12 week course, beginning a week or two before you stop smoking. This allows your body to adapt to the medication. As it begins to take effect, smoking cigarettes should get less and less enjoyable as you near your quit date. Champix works best in combination with behavioural changes that support not smoking (e.g. healthier diet, increased exercise, changing smoking-friendly habits).

Champix's success rate is higher than any other smoking cessation treatment. Clinical trials have shown that smokers were nearly three times more likely to quit while taking it than with placebo treatment. It has also been proven to be more effective than nicotine replacement therapy, particularly for long-term smoking abstinence.

Everyone knows there are many side effects that smoking has on the body, but less common are the side effects on your mind and body when you stop smoking. For more information on the side effects you may experience visit our quitting smoking side effects page. Alternatively you can visit our smoking blog pages where you can catch up on smoking related news.

*The medical sources used for this article can be viewed on our legal page.

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