Champix (known as Chantix in the USA) is the brand name for the drug varenicline tartrate. It is a "nicotine receptor partial agonist" and is an extremely effective medicine used to help adults in giving up smoking.
The way that it works is by interfering with the cellular receptors in the brain. Nicotine interacts with these receptors by attaching to them causing the release of dopamine which is the chemical in the body that provides a feeling of pleasure.
The drug varenicline fills up the gaps in the receptors that nicotine usually fits into stopping the addiction in it's tracks. This is as opposed to Zyban which allows the nicotine to attach to receptors but inhibits the release of dopamine therefore preventing the feel good sensation that dopamine provides.
When using this medication you still get nicotine withdrawal symptoms but they are a lot milder this is because nicotine addiction is both a physiological and a psychological addiction and the taking of any of the prescription drugs designed to aid in quitting smoking only takes care of the physical side.
The medication is taken initially for a period of 12 weeks but can be taken for a longer period if needed. There have been fantastic results reported from people who have used this product and of the people that I know personally (my father included) there seemed to be fewer side effects than people who took Zyban. Some of the side effects to watch out for are: shortness of breath, wheezing, swelling of the face or other parts of the body, depression, mood swings, agitation, or sleeplessness.
It is important to remember that many of these symptoms are also due to quitting smoking so what you may perceive as a side effect may in fact be due to nicotine withdrawal.
But as Zyban and Champix are two different chemicals that work in different ways in the body there are always going to be some people who get side effects from one who won't have an adverse reaction to the other. Just because you may have had a bad experience with Zyban doesn't mean you should rule out trying Champix.
There are still health warnings when using this medication as with any prescription drug and as always it is important to be completely honest with your doctor about any other medications you may be taking. This also includes any herbs you are using especially if you have been investigating natural therapies as a method of giving up smoking.
Apparently there are some herbal remedies that can react badly with Zyban or Champix so you must make sure you declare everything to your GP.
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