The New Generation of Stop Smoking Drugs

There are a number of drugs specifically designed to help you quit smoking. These different from nicotine replacement therapy as they do not use nicotine to wean you of the deadly smoking habit. Varenicline tartrate is one of these new drugs, or as it more commonly known, Champix. As all smokers know, the problem with quitting is that very soon after the last cigarette nicotine cravings start to kick in. As the statistics show, most people who stop smoking can not resist and resume their habit, once again.

Champix and Nicotine Cravings

Champix, and similar drugs, help to reduce nicotine cravings. They act by blocking receptors in the brain that would normally bind to nicotine. When you smoke, nicotine interactions with these receptors which then release dopamine. And it is dopamine that gives the smoker the pleasurable feeling associated with their habit. But the pleasure is short lived and the smoker is doomed to repeat the smoking cycle in order to renew their nicotine levels. Champix is ​​administrated in pill form and is usually taken over a 12 week period, although the duration of the treatment can be extended, if necessary. During the initial period of the treatment you can smoke, although nicotine does not exercise its usual pleasurable influence. Therefore, the drug has a dual therapeutic effect as it reduces nicotine cravings and smoking pleasure at the same time. After clinical trials, Champix became available in the United States as a smoking cessation aid in September 2006, soon after it was approved for use in the European Union.

How Effective is Champix

Does it work? Well yes, in double blind trials it has been found that smokers using Champix have a four fold chance of staying long term smoke free compared with smokers taking a placebo. This sounds impressive until you realize that this translates to about a 20% quit rate. It is certainly an improvement over quitting cold turkey as only 5% of individuals quitting by this means extremely succeed. Quitting smoking is extremely hard and the poor success rates emphasize the strength of nicotine addiction. Because tobacco is legal, people often under estimate nicotine's addictive properties. Addiction experts however, are under no illusions about nicotine's addictive powers and rank it as the top addictive drug, ranking higher even than heroin and morphine.

Possible Side Effects

Champix is ​​only available by prescription and smokers will need to be assessed by a medical professional. It is not recommended for smokers under 18 years of age or for pregnant women. As with any drug, you need to be aware of possible effects and your doctor will explain these in detail when you are assessed to see whether the drug is a qualified quit smoking treatment for you. One common side effect encountered by users is nausea. Less common effects include headaches and difficulty sleeping.The drug has been associated with suicidal behavior, although admittedly this side effect is considered rare. However, there are some doubts whether this is a genuine side effect of the drug or whether it reflects the action of nicotine withdrawal itself. In addition, there is a small, but demonstrative risk of cardiovascular problems.

Champix is ​​no wonder drug, but it has been proven as an effective quit smoking treatment. As with all smoking cessation aids or products, Champix works best as part of a structured stop smoking program. It is not a replacement for will power and determination is still required for ultimate success.