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Varenicline (brand name Champix) is a medicine that works in 2 ways. It reduces cravings for nicotine like NRT, but it also blocks the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking.

Evidence suggests it's the most effective medicine for helping people stop smoking.

Where to get it and how to use it?

Varenicline is only available on prescription, so you’ll usually need to see your GP or contact an NHS stop smoking service to get it.

It’s taken as 1 to 2 tablets a day. You should start taking it a week or 2 before you try to quit.

A course of treatment usually lasts around 12 weeks, but it can be continued for longer if necessary.

Who can use it

Varenicline is safe for most people to take, although there are some situations when it’s not recommended.

For example, it’s not suitable for:

  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People with severe kidney problems
  • Possible side effects

Side effects of varenicline can include:

  • Feeling and being sick
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia), sometimes with vivid dreams
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

Speak to your GP or stop smoking advisor if you experience any troublesome side effects.

Find out about other stop smoking treatments or give us a call on 0191 269 1103 for more information.

How much money could you save by stopping smoking?

Answer the two questions below and then click “Calculate” to see how much money you could save!


Your savings

Please note that the figures above are simply an indication of how much you could save based on the cost of a packet of cigarettes and your daily intake.