My Champix diary

Hi all,

Having tried every other method of quitting this ridiculous habit, I have decided on the combination of Champix, Paul McKenna's hypnosis CD and this forum in the hope that this will be 'the one'!

My longest previous quit was 4 months cold turkey with the aid of Paul McKenna's CD (which I would reccomend to anyone). I tried quitting with the CD alone this time around, but as much as it helped me, I just didn't have the determination this time around. I think perhaps I took the CD for granted, as it 'worked' for me before. I always had it in the back of my mind that I could always return to using the CD and quit again some day. This has turned out to not to be the case.

I am 26 and have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old boy who is just getting to the age where he is begining to ask me what I'm up to, when I shimmy out of the door for a smoke. The excuse of 'I'm going to get something from the car' is begining to arouse his suspicions, as even his young, not yet fully developed brain is surely aware of the fact that nobody goes out to 'get something from the car' 7 or 8 times each evening! In short, the main reason I want to quit is so my son doesn't grow up with smoking parents. Second reason is my health and finally money.

My wife is quitting too and as we have different doctors, we were described different drugs. Her Champix, so we have the opportunity to do a little comparing exercise between the two drugs here and hopefully help others by providing feedback, as well as hopefully freeing ourselves from the nicotine slavery as well.

I did my homework on Champix when the doctor gave it to me and the usual google searches brought up a lot of diaries and blogs, from suicide attempts to people who quit with no side effects. I thought it would be useful to use this opportunity to report on mine and my wife's experiences with our respective drugs in order that future quitters may benefit from reading it. I will use this thread to do so, updating it as often as possible.

Sorry for the long introduction and I hope that somebody, somewhere finds use or inspiration from reading it:

Day 1

So having been prescribed our releveant drugs on Wednesday, we took our first pills on Thursday morning, safe in the knowledge that our doctors had told us we needn't quit smoking straight away. This was fantastic news and took a lot of the usual quitting pressures away.

The immediate difference is the packaging. Zyban came in a plain white box with 7 blisters thrown in it and the brief instructions to take one a day. Champix came in a box that resembles a Fil-o-fax, neatly presented to seperate the pills into days for the next 2 weeks and a pretty hefty instruction manual.

I'm aware that the instant you take any pill or medicine, placebo can take hold quicker than any real effects and I believe that's what happened to both myself and my wife. We both started saying that we didn't feel like smoking within minutes of taking the first pill. Utter rubbish of course! Especially since we were smoking our normal daily rations not 20 minutes after making this bold, early morning claim. The dcotor said, the effects would take a while to take hold though, and we have had doctors orders to carry on smoking for the first week, so happy days! On with business as usual.

Throughout day 1, I have had a very mellowed out feeling that I am pretty sure is down to the Champix. I just feel relaxed and not to eaten up by things, despite a hectic day at work. I can't get over the weird feeling that I have kind of started to quit smoking (by taking the pills) and yet I am still smoking. It seems too good to be true that one day in the next week or so, I will supposedly decide that I don't like smoking any more....we shall see.

My wife on the other hand is not having such an easy time. Sickness, dizziness and a feeling she describes as 'drugged up' are amongst the complaints she has. Seems to be too severe to be the placebo effect and when I met her at lunch, I could see in her eyes that she was suffering. She didn't look right. She's determined to continue though and we were both pre-warned by both the doctor and various websites that side effects like this would be inevitable in most cases.

The end result of day 1 in terms of smoking wasn't very evident, as expected. We both smoked our usual amount. We both commented at 1 or 2 points that we 'didn't enjoy' that last smoke very much, but I'm guessing that is because we are now paying attention to how much we enjoy smoking in anticipation of these 'wonder drugs' taking hold.

Day 1 done.

23 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum. You will find lots of support on here. Try reading the links at the bottom of this post. Learning about nicotine addiction has made all the difference for me as far as making my quitting and staying quit easier. Fantastic post! I hope you keep this up as I'm sure it will be very helpful to others.

  • Hi Sempre :)

    Welcome to the forum and well done on the decision to quit possibly one of the most important you will ever make and you will be losing nothing but you will regain control of your life and that has to be good

    You will find all the help and support you need on here as we all help each other just like a family we are here for you every step of the way cheering the good days and sympathiseing with the bad but the good far outweigh the bad

    Read the posts on here you will find a lot of tips and advice and in the signatures of a lot you will find links to other sites just click on them Here are 2 I find very good to start you off and Read, read and then read some more as the more you read and learn about why you smoked and about your addiction the easier your quit will be

    I also used Champix as an aid and found it really good the only side effect I had was a little nausea with the morning one so took it mid morning instead and that worked for me I found that I was smoking far less as the smoking week went on I just didn't want to smoke and stopped on the 8/9th day of taking it and the last 2 days i didnit want to smoke at all so stopped and had no problems a few craves but they were minor I think I only had one bad crave in all of my quit so far

    I can't comment on Zyban as I never used it but there are some on here that did so they may be along later I'm sorry your wife is finding it tough with it and would advice that if she continues to feel poorly on it she returnes to her Dr it could be that it doesn't suit her as I'm sure you know not all drugs suit everyone

    Post often to let us know how you're doing, to rant, rave have a moan whatever you like pretty much anything goes on here OK

    Best Wishes

    Marg xxxxxxxx

  • welcome

    Hi Sempre Welcome to the forum. That is a great idea to post the affects of Zyban and Champix. My OH and me are quitting with Champix and we have both had a different experience with them, but we have both manage to quit where we have not been able to succeed before so it must have something going for it.

  • Day 2

    Day 2 of the pill taking and it's a lot of the same to be honest. My wife is feeling just as queasy as she did yesterday and despite this, she has continued to smoke her normal amount. She says it's more out of habit than anything, which I suppose is right. I'm interested to see how easy or difficult the habit is to break when quit day arrives, compared to cold turkey. I read another post somewhere that said, 'if quitting smoking cold turkey is a difficulty rating of 10/10, then quitting on champix/zyban is about 6/10'. Obviously it's not a magic solution, but it's got to give you a fighting chance.

    I can definitely notice the feeling of smoking becoming less pleasurable. It's usuallyabout 3/4 of the way through the fag that I notice it. It seems really hot and uncomfortable on my throat and by the end, the whole thing seemed kind of pointless.

    We had a little drink (of the alcoholic variety) at the end of day 2, and I was interested to see what happened, as we usually smoke like troopers when we're on the wine. To be honest, there wasn't much difference. The fags seemed a lot more pleasurable with the wine than they did without it, which I found dissapointing. I guess it is early days yet though.

  • Day 3

    My wife's symptoms seemed to hae passed now and she feels a lot more like herself again. We've probably smoked less than we usually do so far today (it's just gone 9pm now), but to be honest, that is probably more to do with us being in indoor public places for most of the day and around our little one.

    One piece of advice from me for Champix takers, which I believe has been touched on before..... I read before I started taking Champix that taking the morning pill straight after breakfast with a full glass of water would reduce the nausea effects. I did exactly that for day 1 and 2 and had no nausea whatsoever. Today however, I forgot to take the pill straight after breakfast and ended up taking it a couple of hours later.I felt really sick straight away. The feeling lasted about an hour and a half and wasn't nice at all. Just a warning for you there....that theory seems to be very accurate! Take the pill straight after eating breakfast and drink a glass of water!

    I am moving up to 2 x 0.5mg of Champix tomorrow, so am hoping to see a difference. My wife's Zyban is the same dose every day, although she was only given a week's worth, so we're not sure if her dose will go up/down after that when she goes back to the doctor. I have an appointment with the nurse next Thursday for my review session to check I'm not feeling suicidal or anything I guess.

    Sorry there isn't too much to report. It's all pretty standard so far. I'll continue to keep you updated though.

    Nighty night. I'm off to watch UFC! :-)

  • Hi Sempre :D

    Well done to both of you and pleased to hear thet your wife is feeling better now


    Marg xxxxxxx

  • Day 4 and Day 5

    I'm updating days 4 and 5 as one post, as I have lost track of where one day ended and the other began to be honest.

    A lot has happened recently, paricularly in relation to my wife's course of Zyban, which she has now ceased taking.

    I won't go into too much detail in the interest of privacy, but my wife has experienced a severe downturn in mood over Sunday and Monday. This was sparked on Saturday night by a very minor incident that errupted over the course of Sunday and Monday and ended up being a major problem for my wife to the extent that she was questioning everything about her life. I wouldn't go as far as saying she was suicidal, but I truly believe it could have got that bad if she'd carried on taking the pills.

    My wife's description of how she was feeling was that she felt paranoid, insecure and depressed. It was me who pointed out that it could well be to do with the Zyban, as she said that at the time, she felt as if her behaviour was normal. In hindsight, she can see that it wasn't. Credit to her for recongnising this, as I have heard stories of people who couldn't see what they were acting like at all.

    I am writing this at the start of day 6, the first day of my wife not taking her Zyban and the change in her is blatant. She seems like a different person, more in tune with what is going, more relaxed and more easy going. Although there is probably still traces of the drug in her system, I find this amazing that the change was so evident when she stopped taking them and I think this 100% confirms that what happened was down to the Zyban. My wife plans to persue the NRT options and is considering patches, which may work well for her, as she has had some success with them in the past.

    Obviously, everyone reacts differently to different drugs and I don't want to scare or put off anyone taking or considering to take Zyban, but I think it's important that real life stories are available to read on the internet, so people can make informed decisions. I hope I have done my bit by contributing this one. I have googled 'Zyban' + *insert any negative word here* eg 'Zyban + depression', 'Zyban + mood swings', and so on...and every time, I get lots and lots of stories come up about people with similar stories to that of my wife, often worse!

    With regards to myself and the Champix, without wanting to appear smug, I am having a lot more success on these things than my wife did on Zyban. The last couple of days, I have felt relaxed with a feeling that somehow my life is in order. I have a relaxed approach to all of the problems in my life and I seem to have the attitude that if I take one day at a time and don't worry too much about the future, then I will get to where I need to be in life. This isn't the way I normally look at things, as I'm usually the type that panics about how I'm going to get things done or how I'm going to achieve what I need to achieve. I'm quite pleased with how it's going so far.

    In terms of smoking, I am still smoking my normal amount and enjoying smoking to a similar degree (possibly a fraction less) than I used to before the Champix were in my system. I have a review with the nurse on Thursday and am planning to set my quit date for next Monday, which will be day 12 of my course. If I feel like I don't want to smoke before that (I will be on the higher dosage by then), then I will stop sooner.

    I will continue to update this thread with my progress, as I hope it proves useful to somebody now or in the future.


  • Great thread this Sempre, I was just curious as to why your wife didn't use champix.

    I had one attempted quit before this one and I used zyban, within 2 days I passed out in Waitrose and was feeling very suicidal, crying hysterically about nothing. I think thats why my doc wouldn't prescribe champix for me, I'm looking forward to following your quit, good luck to you and your wife :).

  • Hi Yvette,

    Thanks for the positive feedback.

    My wife was initially put on Zyban by her doctor. We have different doctors you see, so I am guessing that some doctors have a preference as to which drug they reccomend first.

    I did suggest that my wife go back to the doctor and ask for Champix, but the whole experience has put her off the drug-based approach altogether.

    Sorry to hear about your mishap in Waitrose. I have read so many stories like yours and my wife's relating to Zyban. I am shocked that they managed to get this stuff sanctioned!

  • Hi Sempre :D

    What a great post again and I'm sure it will help others

    Sorry your wife was so ill on Zyban I have also read about it and wonder how it ever got the go ahead with some of those quite horrendous side effects but so pleased to hear that she is now beck to her normal self again

    I used champix as well with great results and have now been quit for over 6 months

    My Dr wouldn't give me Zyban and did a lot of research into champix before prescribing it for me but this was partly due to a brain op I had 6 months before and said that no way could I have Zyban because of the possible side effects and that she personally would not recommend it for anyone


    Marg xxxxxxxxx

  • The reason for my lack of posts

    Hi all,

    Firstly, massive apologies for not updating this thread as often as I first intended. I really wanted to make this a comprehensive and complete Champix diary for others to benefit from. The irony of it is that in a way, it is the Champix that have prevented me from doing this.

    I am well into the second week of the course now and on the highest daily dose (2 x 1mg per day). At first, the step up in dosage wasn't a problem; I perhaps noticed an increase in nausea, even when I took the tablets with food and water, but nothing I couldn't take in my stride.

    My problems began around the second day of taking the higher dosage. Firstly, the nauseau I felt after my morning dose was horrendous! As I said before, I can handle a bit of sickness and I was expecting it when I started the course, but this was on a different level. I was actually sitting at my desk at work and my eyes were rolling in my head. It passed after a couple of hours and I felt great for the rest of the afternoon and proud of myself for sticking with it through the tough times.

    It's important to add here, that I was still smoking at this point. My quit date had been set for Monday 29th June, which I believe was day 12 of my course of Champix.

    Having come to terms with the fact that I might have to live with this extreme nausea for a few weeks as a price to pay for quitting smoking, I was unaware that there was more to come. When I took my evening dose after dinner that night, within 10 minutes I found myself lying on the sofa unable to move. I was in no physical pain as such, but the tiredness was overwhelming. I seriously felt like I couldn't move. I spent most of that night drifting in and out of sleep on the sofa, which is very unlike me. I never kip during the day and I am usually a night owl, going to bed around 1am on most nights. I put this down to a one off. For all I know, it could have been other factors making me tired, although in hindsight, it blatantly wasn't.

    Ever since that day, the exact same pattern has continued. By morning I resemble a drugged up smack head and spend most of the time trying not to vomit, and by night I am a half-conscious couch potato drifting in and out of sleep.

    Hopefully, you can see why I haven't been in a fit state to update this thread given the above.

    It's Tuesday now and I'll be smoke free for 48 hours come 10pm tonight. It's been a lot easier than normal cold-turkey quits I've done in the past, although the cravings are still there, they are just a lot milder. The sickness and tiredness help as well as I am usually either too sick or too tired to seriously consider the idea of smoking anyway.

    I have a review again with the nurse on Thursday, so I'll obviously tell her how I've been feeling.

    I'm still determined to stick with it, as I've already gone a lot further than a lot of my other quit attempts, but I'm not sure how long I can take these side effects as punishment. I could handle a couple of weeks of this, but if it's going to be like this for the next 10 weeks of my 12 week course, then I may have to consider my options.

    I have heard lowering dosage is an option, but I've also heard this backwards step leads to relapses in some cases.

    Does anyone know if my experience is normal? If so, do you know whether it subsides after a while?

    Thanks for reading.

    Exhausted regards,


  • Hi Chris

    Oh dear you are having problems with the champix aren't you to put it mildly

    I never had it that bad only in the mornings for a very short time

    I don't remember anyone else aving quite such severe problems with it

    As you say tell the Dr/Nurse maybe you need a lower dose of it

    I know of one other person who had to take a lower dose but not sure why now I'll contact her and ask her to contact you here

    Hope you feel better soon

    How is your wife getting on now


    Marg xxxxxxxxx

  • Thanks Marg, I appreciate the response.

    My wife is on patches now and is also on day 2. She has bad cravings of an evening, but other than that, she'd been ok. She thinks she can do it on patches and is just glad to be out of the depression that Zyban sent her into.

    Smoking is a strong addiction, so I guess these drugs have to be pretty severe to help you combat it. Unfortunately, that means side effects.

    I think I'm just going to ride it out for as long as I can, as I really want to give the pills a chance. I'm still functioning with my day to day tasks (just!), so while I can still function I will carry on.

    Hope you're well.

  • Hi Chris :D

    Glad to hear your wife doing OK now off the Zyban

    Also pleased you can still function if only just

    I've contacted the lady who had problems and had to cut the dose and I know for a fact she's still quit

    Yes smoking is a strong addiction but the champix shouldn't affect you this much i wouldn't have thought

    As you say ride it out if you can until Thursday and go from there

    I'll catch up with you next week as away for a few days after today


    Marg xxxxxxxxxx

  • Hi Chris I had to lower my dose for similar reasons, I was on full dose for two weeks when I ended up having to drop my dose to one tab a day. At first I took one whole tablet in the morning but still had problems for a few hours afterwards feeling out of it (like in a dream world) so forgetful etc which I cannot afford to be, so I got a pill cutter and took half morning and half tea time it also stopped the bad dreams and stopped the feeling of being out of it.

    I did replapes and smoke half a cig but I was able to throw it away and get rid of the other 9 and I have been fine since it is now nearly two months since I smoked that half a cig and I feel great. I reduced to half a tab in a morning only, after a month of my replace and have be off them for a few weeks and feel great. Ive got a few packets left as I did intend on carrying on taking them till I had used them all but it has been 12 weeks since I started them so though I would try without them and I am fine.

    Im not sure if all dr/nurses agree with this as some take you straight off them if they think you are not coping, I did it on my own and told my quit nurse after a few weeks and she was happy as I was feeling so much better.

    good luck with what ever you decided to do, I know champix helped me stop smoking and feel it was worth everything to get where I am now. :)

    Hope that makes some sense ;)

    BTW Marg I am no lady :D

  • Thanks a lot for that. Your story is inspiring.

    The general feedback I have been getting from ex-Champix goers is that it is worth the struggle when you finally get to where you want to be in the end.

    Within reason, I am willing to put up with physical symptoms, as long as they aren't forever and as long as it makes me quit.

    Well done on your achievement. I hope I can report back in a couple of months and be in the same position you are.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi Sempre, sorry you're feeling so rotten :(, I don't know how you cope with feeling so sick I would be crying and climbing the walls from feeling so bad. Ask your doc if there's anything he can prescribe for the nausea, I mentioned in another thread a pill called primperan, I was prescribed this for severe nausea while pregnant.

    I wish you and your wife all the luck in the world :).

  • I am on Champix. Took it for 12 days while smoking then stopped. I think that the feeling nausea and smoking is the thing that decides when to stop. The nausea does not continue if you are not smoking. And I suppose as that is the object of the exercise, I decided to stop anyway.

    I am finding that I miss the quiet time when I used to sit, think and have a smoke. Have been sucking too many sweets which is getting to me but need to find a way to relax and get on with it.

    Wishing everyone else good luck.

  • Hiya Yvette, thanks for the advice. I will definitely ask the nurse for something along those lines to help with the sickness. It would be such a shame to give this up due to sickness, as I seem to be doing so well other than that.

    Hi quitty. Sorry to hear you've developed a bit of a sweet habit. It's got to be better than the fags though mate! I know what you mean about the quiet time to think. I miss that too. I'm just telling myself that I'll have more time to think and do other stuff, as I'll save about 7 hours a week by not smoking. Not to mention adding an average of 15 years to your life.

    Stay strong!

  • I think the dosage of champix affects people in different ways, obviously we are all different size and weight but the dosage seems to be the same. I think it also makes a difference if you take on a empty stomach etc. I now take after a meal and with lots of water and have not had nausea. At the beginning I felt ill but that was before I quit, now just on champix and not smoking and not having any nausea.

    Good luck all.

  • Update

    Hi all,

    I'm on day 5 of being smoke free and day 17 of Champix or something like that. I'm starting to lose count a bit to be honest.

    My review with the nurse lead to her cutting my dosage down to 0.5mg twice daily (half what I am on now), due to the physical side effects I told her about. I'm happy with that really, as I figure it will be less Champix to wean myself away from when the time comes to wave bye bye to the pill. Also, I still have another precription's worth of the higher dose, so if I am struggling not to smoke, I can always revert to those until I get the chance to see the nurse again, just to be on the safe side.

    My symptoms had got a lot better on the higher dose over the last couple of days actually, which is typical, just as I go to see the nurse about it! The sick feeling was still nasty though, just a bit more manageable than before.

    I haven't started on my lower dose yet, as I didn't have the chance to hand in my prescription yesterday or this morning, so I am currently running off nothing, although I am sure there is probably a lot of Champix still in my system from previous doses which is helping me. Currently, I feel fine and do not want to smoke at all. I even had a couple of glasses of wine last night whichw as my first proper drink of alcohol since quitting and I didn't want to smoke at all, which is fantastic. I have experienced stressful days at work, my beautiful little toddler throwing a tantrum in a public place and a bit of a domestic disagreement and at no point did I feel like smoking. I perhaps thought about it for a second or two, but when I actually envisaged the physical act of putting a fag in my mouth it made me feel sick.

    I don't want to get on my high horse too quickly though, as it's still extremely early days yet, I am aware of that. Just to report though, that it's so far, so good! This weekend will be my firsy smoke free weekend, which will be a new challenge, but one I am genuinely looking forward to taking on.

    Just a final word on Champix. I know these things get a lot of bad press, but I think that they can be the wonder drug that they are marketed as if they are used correctly. I think it is extremely important to maintain regular contact with your nurse or reviewer and be totally honest with both her and yourself about how you feel physically and mentally, so she can take the appropriate action in cutting your dose or taking you off them completely. Obviously, they aren't for everyone and they may turn out not to be for me yet, but so far, this has been the easiest first 5 days of quitting I have experienced (even with how ill Champix made me), so there must be something in them that is working.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. I'll keep updating with any developments. My wife is 5 days smoke free through use of patches and is also coping well.

    Good luck in your quits everyone,


  • Aww Sempre well done to you and your wife, you sound alot better, glad to hear it. Keep strong :).

  • Hi Sempre, I am just about to take my third Champix and haven't yet quit, though not enjoying the cigs so much. I am really finding your diary helpful both in terms of what I might expect and as a motivation. Keep up the good work and please don't give up the diary!

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