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Stop smoking treatments: Champix Vs Zyban

What is Champix/Zyban?

Lots of people try to stop smoking each year and use different methods to do so. Nicotine replacements help to reduce the craving, however that still means that the body is receiving the addictive drug. Trying to quit cold turkey is for many people not an option, especially in the long term. This is why Champix and Zyban have been created, to give those smokers that want to quit without nicotine replacements a way to do so without feeling the nicotine cravings.1

The benefits of Champix are similar to that of Zyban, with both giving smokers an alternative option. They are taken orally and come in a tablet form. One of the main Champix benefits, especially to smokers that have maintained the habit over a long period of time is that they do not have to stop smoking immediately. The tablets help them to cut down over a couple of weeks giving their body time to adjust to the changes.

While taking the medication withdrawal symptoms are reduced or eliminated and smokers do not feel the same pleasure they did previously.

How does Champix/Zyban work?

Champix and Zyban work on the dopamine brain receptors, stopping the smoker from receiving pleasure from their habit. Dopamine plays a big part in the body receiving pleasure from the things it experiences. Every time you do something that makes you happy, whether eating your favorite foods or partaking in a sport you enjoy dopamine is released into the body. Nicotine acts in the same way, but unfortunately can cause a whole host of health problems too. Because dopamine is released with each cigarette smokers learn to use it as a coping mechanism and for enjoyment, whereas this reward is not given when Champix and Zyban stop nicotine from triggering this response.

What are the pros/cons of using Champix/Zyban?

Champix benefits are a solution to giving up smoking without the use of nicotine containing products, Zyban benefits are the same by way of giving smokers an alternative treatment. Both enable smokers to continue smoking until the pleasure from doing so reduces or disappears when the dose is increased. Without the pleasure most smokers will not get cravings or will get them with a lot less severity.

Unfortunately despite best efforts, outside influences and cravings can get the better of people that are trying to quit smoking cold turkey and they go back to old habits. Champix and Zyban are created to make you not want to smoke and in most people they are successful in doing so, but long term the results differ greatly. A double blind study showed that one of the greatest Champix pros is that they have the highest rates of abstinence even at the three month period. The study was undertaken with Champix, Zyban and a placebo over a period of 3 three months. As you can see by the chart below, the Placebo gave the lowest success rates at only 18%, Zyban came in second at 30% and Champix came out on top with 44% of users still abstaining from smoking after 12 weeks without cigarettes or nicotine replacements.2

Disadvantages of Champix and Zyban

One of the Champix cons is that if you already suffer from mental illness it can exacerbate your existing condition. It can cause changes to your mood especially initially. Some people find that their driving and ability to operate heavy machinery is affected. Anyone working as a pilot or traffic air controller will not be allowed to continue doing so while taking Champix, however it does not affect everyone.

Zyban cons are similar to those of Champix and are unsuitable to be taken by some people that have a history of mental illness. There are other precautions that should also be taken to ensure side effects do not conflict with pre existing problems such as past heavy alcohol consumption, severe head trauma, eating disorders whether present or current and seizures.

Although there are risks associated with people that have certain preexisting conditions, they have helped many people to overcome their smoking addiction. One of the greatest benefits both treatments contain is that they do not contain nicotine. This means that it can also be used alongside nicotine replacement therapies while your body gets used to its effects. This can help smokers to cut down over the first few weeks until the dose is increased.

There have been many studies into the efficiency both short and long term between Champix and Zyban and it has been proven that Champix has a higher success rate because of its effect on smoking pleasure. Zyban has been created to reduce the amount of cravings when you quit, however Champix is able to take this pleasure away. Without the pleasure smokers feel, the want to smoke lessens making it easier to give up and stay away from cigarettes.

Side Effects of Champix/Zyban

As with most medications there is a risk of side effects, those between Champix and Zyban are similar as they serve the same purpose and belong to the same group of medication. The side effects of Champix can range from mild to severe depending on the patient. Loss of pleasure can be as a result of not receiving the same amount of dopamine and missing the social side of smoking. Problems with anxiety. Restlessness and thoughts of suicide tend to coincide with a preexisting mental illness which is why it is not recommended in known sufferers. On starting Champix usually has side effects which include struggling to sleep, dry mouth and abnormal dreams. Suffering a mild headache and passing stools have also been reported, however these side effects tend to dissipate once the body gets used to taking the drug. 3

Zyban should not be used by people that have previously suffered from mental illness, eating disorders and alcohol addiction without first speaking to a doctor who can weigh up the Zyban pros and cons. Common side effects include lack of interest, altered vision, headaches, dizziness and tinnitus. Stomach upset can occur as can the appetite either going off food or an increased appetite. A mild flu like feeling can occur in some patients but this usually disappears once the body has become accustomed to the medication. Not everyone suffers side effects, but any changes should be reported to your medical practitioner.

Medical recommendations

Overall Champix is usually prescribed as opposed to Zyban as it is clinically shown to help more people quit smoking at a faster rate. If side effects could hinder your ability to work due to driving or operating machinery this should be taken into account. Once either medication has been chosen a quit date should also be. Champix helps to reduce the amount of pleasure you will get which makes it easier to stop smoking for good.

Sources:

1. Choose the right support for you - Quit.org

2. Anti-Smoking Medications: Zyban and Chantix - SpineHealth

3. CHAMPIX 0.5 mg film-coated tablets CHAMPIX 1 mg film-coated tablets - Medicines.org.uk

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