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Started casually as a recreational habit, smoking has hooked millions of people and has gradually become a habit they cannot stop. According to WHO, tobacco kills half of all its users, killing approximately 8 million people in one year.

In a nutshell, smoking is harmful to our health; it causes lung diseases, lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and acute respiratory infections. In addition, cigarettes contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. By the time most smokers realise the harmful effects of smoking, they are already dependent and unable to stop smoking. In a bid to stop smoking, people may use Champix medication.

Effective in stopping smoking, Champix has been blamed for increased assault cases from those using it. In addition, the adverse effects of Champix worsen when it interacts with other substances such as alcohol.

What is Champix Treatment?

Champix is a medication that contains an active substance known as varenicline. Champix treatment is used for smoking cessation in adults. Essentially, it helps manage the withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking by reducing nicotine cravings. Nicotine is the addictive element that enters your body system as a result of smoking.

In most cases, Champix treatment is used to help people quit alcohol after nicotine replacement treatment is ineffective or fails to work on an individual.

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How is Champix administered?

Champix medication often comes in the forms of 0.5mg and 1mg capsule tablets. The treatment process starts about two weeks before the quitting date. First, the patient has to set a target date when they will quit smoking. Champix treatment lasts for 12 weeks.

In the beginning, you should swallow a single 0.5gm tablet with water for three days. Then, the dose is doubled to two 0.5gm tablets for the next four days. After the first week, the Champix tablet is changed to 1 mg and taken twice a day. Then 1mg tablet, twice a day treatment continues for the next 11 weeks.

After about ten days, the dosage of Champix in the body is enough to reduce the craving for fewer cigarettes per day. Then, in consultation with your doctor, individuals can choose the best approach to quit smoking that would work for them. Some of the techniques include fixed, flexible, and gradual methods.

The fixed approach requires you to quit smoking within 1 to 2 weeks after Champix treatment begins. In the inflexible system, you set the date to quit smoking 2-5 weeks after the start of Champix treatment. However, if you have smoked for a long-time, a gradual approach may be the best choice for you, whereby you are required to quit smoking within 12 weeks of Champix treatment.

In all the earlier techniques, you will be required to continue taking medicine for the next 12 weeks after quitting smoking. However effective Champix treatment is, it may need the patient to be willing and motivated to quit smoking for the Champix treatment to succeed.

How does Champix work?

To understand how Champix works, you need to learn about nicotine. Nicotine substances in cigarettes sustain smoking addiction. The cigarette smoke inhaled contains nicotine, which is absorbed in the lungs and circulated to the brain. As a result of nicotine attachment in the receptors, the brain is triggered to release dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that gives a pleasurable feeling. Unfortunately, the pleasant feeling fades away within a short time. The body gradually longs for that feel-good feeling, frequently leading to repeated smoking.

To counter the effects of nicotine, Champix triggers the release of dopamine and binds the receptors. In blocking the receptors, Champix takes the place of nicotine, hence blocking nicotine from attaching to the receptors. By triggering the receptors to release dopamine, Champix reduces nicotine cravings in the body. Ultimately, Champix reduces the pleasure of smoking, and you can finally live without smoking. In addition, Champix does not contain any form of substance that may lead to addiction; hence it is not addictive.

What are factors that increase the chances of Champix treatment being successful?

Champix treatment is likely to succeed if they desire to quit smoking comes from the individual affected. However, the chances of relapse are high if proper measures are not implemented to support an individual to full recovery. The following things will increase the chances of success in Champix treatment in an individual:

Individual’s willpower: the first step to overcoming smoking is the individual’s power to quit. The willpower must come from within. If others force an individual to quit smoking against their will, it will be futile.

Family and friends support: quitting smoking can be a great struggle and unrelenting help from family members and friends.

A comprehensive quit plan: you should have a clear plan for when to start the treatment, stop quitting, and a follow-up plan.

Counselling and support: counselling and advice go a long way in helping individuals overcome the smoking problem.

Change in lifestyle: some of the behaviours people engage in may increase the chances of smoking. For example, there hanging out places, and the company of friends they keep may also encourage them to smoke. As you take Champix treatment, you will need to change your lifestyle and quit smoking successfully.

Is Champix treatment safe?

Champix, just like other medications, may have side effects. However, the benefits of Champix are more than its risks. Being non-addictive, Champix is generally safe. Some people take Champix treatment without experiencing severe side effects. It is, however, important to note, you should take Champix treatment only with the consultation and supervision of a doctor. Any medication taken outside of medical guidelines leads to abuse.

Who should not take Champix treatment?

For effective results of Champix treatment, you should take it in consultation with the doctor. The following are not advisable to take Champix treatment.

  • Children- those under the age of 19 years are not encouraged for Champix treatment.
  • Those under nicotine therapy, such as nicotine inhalers, gum, and patches, are discouraged from taking the treatment. Mixing this treatment may cause more severe side effects and will most likely not help you quit smoking.
  • Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People with mental problems
  • People with medical conditions, including allergic reaction to Champix and various medicines, kidney complications, and heart problems.

What are the possible side effects of Champix treatment?

With or without treatment, quitting smoking can cause various side effects depending on an individual. The side effects may be range from severe or mild, they include:

  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Sleeplessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia

If you are in an endless struggle to quit smoking, we are here to help you. Please call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor is available to speak to and provide help.

Does Champix’s treatment lead to assault?

While only a few people experience severe side effects from Champix, some may experience irritation, frustration, and anger. Further, some people may experience worse mental problems, including aggressive behaviour, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and aggravated hostility. The mentioned symptoms are worse and more prevalent in people with pre-existing mental problems before starting Champix treatment.

In some assault cases, Champix has been cited as playing a significant role. Individuals that are easily irritable and have aggressive behaviour are likely to assault the people around them. Family, friends, and workmates will find it extremely difficult to relate to people with aggressive behaviour. On the same note, if you have a depressed mood, you cannot rationally handle disputes and challenging situations.

It is imperative to note that severe effects of Champix are rare, probably 1 in every 10,000 people who are under Champix treatment. Furthermore, in cases of assault, individuals are likely to have had a pre-existing mental condition; hence Champix treatment should not be cited as the primary cause for assault.

If you are struggling with quitting smoking, we are here to help you. Please call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor is available to speak to and provide help.

What are you supposed to do to reduce the likelihood of assault as a result of Champix treatment?

It is essential to realise that you have chances of experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms by quitting smoking with or without Champix medication. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sleeping problems, craving for tobacco, increased appetite, irritability, frustration, among others.

Changes in aggression, irritability and depressed mood have worsened with people with existing mental health problems. To avert the possibility of aggravated mental complications that may lead to assault cases, those who have a history of mental health problems are discouraged from taking Champix medication. Before being put under medication, you should be honest with your doctor and notify them if you have any history of mental health problems. Additionally, you should stop taking Champix medication immediately and contact your doctor if people around you, such as family members and workmates, notice heightened irritability, changes in behaviour, suicidal thoughts, and hallucinations.

How to reduce the intensity of side effects?

First, you should immediately talk to your doctor if you experience severe or complicated side effects. However, you can manage most side effects. You are advised to avoid spicy food and stick to a simple meal to avoid the sickly feeling. For the body aches, you should take plenty of water and take enough rest. You are also advised to avoid taking alcohol.

For dizziness, it will wear off with time as your body gets accustomed to Champix. However, for the first few days, take some time to rest until you feel better. Further, during the early days, you are discouraged from operating any machinery. To address the difficulty in sleeping, you should take the Champix dose earlier enough before going to bed. Finally, by chewing gum and rinsing your mouth with water, you will be able to counter the bad taste in your mouth.

Does Champix interact with other medicines?

From the available information, Champix has not been found to have a harmful interaction with other drugs. However, people with specific pre-existing medical conditions such as heart problems, kidney problems, and mental health problems are discouraged from taking Champix medication.

What are other alternatives to quitting smoking?

Other than Champix, other methods can assist you in quitting smoking. The following are some of the ways that can help you to quit smoking:

Nicotine replacement treatment: In nicotine replacement treatment, you are given controlled levels of nicotine. The aim is to satisfy cravings in smokers as a result of withdrawal symptoms. The drugs used in nicotine replacement therapy include nicotine gum, inhalers, and lozenges.

Lifestyle change: It will help if you avoid triggers that would increase the urge to smoke. For example, you may need to change places you constantly hang around and the company of friends you keep.

Physical Exercising: Physical activities are likely to distract your mind from cigarettes cravings. But, most importantly, exercising will keep you busy and reduce the likelihood of smoking.


Champix is a smoking cessation method that works by blocking the receptors where nicotine attaches itself to the brain. Nicotine is the addictive substance in the cigarette that blocks the receptors in the brain, triggering dopamine. Dopamine produces pleasurable feelings. As a result of the body urging more pleasurable sensations, you smoke more and more, leading to addiction.

Quitting smoking with or without any treatment may result in side effects. People experiencing the harsh effects may display actions that would lead to assault. It is important to note, people with a history of mental problems are most likely to experience those effects that may lead to aggressiveness and hostility. They are therefore discouraged from taking Champix and instead take the available alternative treatments.

If you are in an endless struggle to quit smoking, we are here to help you. Please call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor is available to speak to and provide help.

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Champix, just like other medications, may cause mild side effects to its users. However, in rare cases, an individual using Champix may experience severe side effects such as heightened irritation, change of behaviours, and aggressive behaviour.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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