Champix is a trade name for Varenicline. A prescription drug, Varenicline is a kind of medication provided to smokers, and therefore, falls under the class called smoking cessation therapies. This drug is prescribed in order to help people stop smoking, or gradually ease the urge to do so. Medication with this drug is mostly accompanied by rehabilitation or counselling, to support the smoker in quitting the habit completely.
How the Drug Takes Effect
There are two ways in which the drug takes effect. Champix acts as a preventive reaction and a source for craving reduction. The drug’s properties aim to seek out nicotine receptors which cause the urge for smoking to arise in the brain. Once the drug has bound itself to the receptors, it will reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. In addition to that, the drug not only reduces the urge, but it also declines the feeling of satisfaction that smokers get from smoking. This, in turn, prevents a person from lighting up a cigarette and smoking.
How it Fared in Clinical Trials
As a trial medicine, Champix was a successful drug and treated 44% of one group of smokers. It took 12 weeks of treatment along with moderate therapeutic guidance. This is a far better result than the average 11% of one group taking the placebo. There is also significant evidence that Zyban (Bupropion), which underwent the same trial in the same length of time, successfully treated only half of what the drug Varenicline was able to achieve. After the successful results during the clinical trials, Champix was approved by several companies, including the European Commission in September of 2006. The FDA also approved the drug earlier in the same year. The success ratio of the drug’s ability to encourage abstinence is at 70% compared to the 50% average in most smoking treatment drugs.
The treatment drug is prescribed for smokers who are seeking to quit. Most of these types of smokers have had problems with quitting for years, and might have undergone several failed therapies or attempted self-treatments. The recommended dosage of Champix is 0.5 mg daily, at least for the first three days. Further use of the drug leads to usages of twice a day or 1 mg daily intake. Usually, if the patient progresses and is near the achievement or treatment goal, they are prescribed to take two 1 mg of Varenicline each day. The prescription, however, may change depending on the patient or the doctor. People who are not suffering from nicotine addiction should not take the drug. It can cause an imbalance in the receptors and could pose unpleasant side effects.
Smokers are advised to use the prescription drug continuously until the 12th week of medication. For a much better result, they may continue their intake of the medication, gradually decreasing the dosing, after the duration of the therapy. This will help alleviate or prevent any urges to smoke that might resurface. The effect of abstinence still has a possibility to diminish if the person cuts down on his Champix intake or temporarily stops the treatment, so consistency is highly required.
More and more doctors are prescribing Champix to patients who are trying to quit smoking. The therapeutic drug successfully relieves most urges for smoking and even alleviates the satisfaction behind it. Within two to three months, perhaps even less, patients taking the drug are completely treated.
General Information on Champix
The medication is also known as Varenicline, but is more commonly called by its generic name, which is Champix. The production of this drug is solely intended for the use of adults who are under therapy to quit smoking habits. Some doctors may prescribe it for other cases, however this is highly unusual. The medication is taken daily in 0.5 mg dosages, it can also be taken twice a day if the person has been using it for two months. It is not advisable, in any case, to double the dosage if the intake of one or two pills in a day is missed. What one should do is start all over and making sure not to miss the medication again. Certain types of medication are not advised to be taken along with the Varenicline. Other drugs may trigger ineffectiveness or some allergic reactions, but such are not common occurrences.
Reasons to Rely on Champix
There is enough reason for this action since the therapeutic drug had a great debut during its clinical tests. In each group of smokers that took the trial medication, more than 40% were successfully treated. The period for the clinical tests lasted up to 12 weeks with half of the patients already showing signs of improvement within the first three weeks. Pfizer sponsored a similar trial in 2006. After a year, Champix had a continuous abstinence result of 23% in all the users. It was further proven to have more effect than other smoke cessation drugs. However, one can expect better results in under less time with support therapy accompanying the drug.
Today, Champix is commonly used by doctors to treat patients who suffer from smoking addiction. People who are trying to quit smoking would primarily seek therapy, either by a one-on-one counselling or through group sessions. There are some people who manage to alleviate smoking urges with the help of therapies and counselling. Other people may prefer other types of treatment such as herbal medication and the use of electronic cigarettes. The results of each method may be different for every person. People who have tried more than one method to quit smoking but still failed would most likely be advised by the doctor to get medication. Champix is not taken immediately after the doctor’s advice; instead he will undergo therapy and possibly allergy tests.
Since this pill has proven to be the most effective smoking cessation drug, it is commonly used for highly addicted patients. This especially includes those who have failed in several times in attempting to quit while using other cessation drugs. In rare cases, Champix is used as a last resort, in hopes of treating the patient in a natural way. Evidently, if the person does not improve within the first quarter of the therapy, he will be introduced to the medication for better results.
When considering the drug Champix, certain things need to be considered beforehand. Ideally, an individual who is prescribed with the therapeutic drug should inform their doctor of any drug allergies. A 0.5 mg tablet of Champix or Varenicline contains both medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients.
Normally, in order to determine if a person is allergic to a certain type of drug, he will undergo a test. The test will involve dabbing a patch of the skin with the drug’s contents and observing if for 24 hours. These tests are not usually included in the doctor’s fee and may be expensive. It is possible for the patient not to undergo the allergy test if cannot afford it. As long he, or his doctor, are aware or have an idea of the specific cause of the allergic reaction, they can withdraw or continue the prescription.
Contents of a Champix Tablet
Among the contents of Champix are Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Anhydrous Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Stearate, Croscarmellose Sodium, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Microcrystalline Cellulose as film coating, Hypromellose, Polyethylene Glycol, Titanium Oxide and Triacetin. If any of these non-medicinal ingredients are similar to those that trigger allergic reactions in the patient, then Varenicline should not be taken. One can find other smoking cessation therapies and medication as substitute to Varenicline. However, there is no certainty that the results will be just as quick and effective as the latter.
Other Medications to Avoid
Another concern that one should be aware of is the presence of other medications. Smokers often get sick with cough or flu due to the low immunity caused by too much nicotine. Should the patient get prescribed with the therapeutic drug, he must be aware of what other medications he is taking or will take for the cough and flu. In case pharmaceutical personnel forget to inform the patients, drugs may interact with each other inside a person’s body. Some drugs are not compatible with each other and the reaction between the two could result to ineffectiveness.
To avoid this result, and other possible side effects, here are some drugs that might interact adversely with Champix:
• Nicotine Replacements
It is advisable to inform your doctor if any of these medications are being taken or will be taken. Since not all people react in the same way in one or many types of drugs, the doctor may allow the usage of some medications. Under careful observation, the patient may continue the intake of other drugs but in minimum dosages. Should the doctor find that Champix is unable to take effect or that the patient is showing side effects, he may stop one or both medications.
In any case, one should inform the doctor or pharmaceutical personnel of any type of drugs that they are taking. Even the use of non-prescription and herbal medications should not be excluded. To completely avoid other negative effects, the intake of non-medical substances like alcohol and caffeine should kept to a minimum. If these substances are taken on a regular basis, it is best to inform the doctor about it as well.