A smoking habit can be hard to break and the thought of quitting can seem like a daunting task. However, there are several smoking cessation therapies and medications available to help make the transition to a smoke-free life easier.

Champix is a prescription-only drug used to ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms and reduce the appeal of cigarettes. It has been available in the UK as a stop smoking treatment since September 2006.

Between 2015/16 in England alone there were close to 60,000 successful quit attempts by quitters using Champix alone (with a self-reported success rate of 61%). This number may be evidence enough for some people when it comes to determining the efficacy of the drug.

However, others may be more inclined to look up individual user experiences of the medication, by searching for patient reviews online.

At this point it is important to highlight the fact that simply using Champix on its own does not guarantee a successful quit attempt. Strong will power and a positive, supportive environment will give Champix users the best possible chance of achieving their goal.

The internet offers an easy access point to opinions on any manner of subjects including medication. However, is it a good idea to trust the patient reviews you read online?

Here we’ll discuss the positives and potential pitfalls of online medicine reviews.

Why do people read Champix reviews?

Reading reviews for smoking cessation medication may be appealing to some smokers because it can provide them with a glimpse into what it is like to take the medicine, how effective it can be and what, if any, side effects are experienced.

However, it is important to remember that each Champix user is different, therefore no two experiences will be exactly the same.

While it is a good idea to become an advocate for your own health and treatment, it is also wise to be cautious when conducting your own research.

Reading first hand accounts and reviews of Champix may prove useful for some people, however, it should not replace speaking with a doctor or stop-smoking specialist. They will have access to your past medical history and be aware of any potential contraindications.

Should I read online reviews of Champix?

This is up to you. It can be hard to judge the accuracy and honesty of unregulated medication reviews. Therefore if you decide to read reviews on Champix you may wish to concentrate on examples that are found on reputable websites.

Perhaps take some time to find out what the process is for posting a review. Is the review site supervised or are posts screened by a medical professional?

Champix users who have a particularly good or bad experience of the drug may be more likely to take the time to write a review. Therefore it is possible that you will miss out on the middle ground, or ‘average’ user’s opinion.

Clinical trials

All prescription medicines go through a process of clinical trials.

They are typically carried out to provide an accurate overview of a drugs efficacy and its potential side effects. The controlled settings allow researchers to draw accurate conclusions about the drug on trial.

It is possible to read more about the clinical trials undertaken by a particular drug in the summary of product characteristics.

The results of clinical trials can provide a wealth of information on a medication. Because they are undertaken in clinical settings, they will provide an accurate representation of how well a drug works.

However, a potential drawback of clinical data is that it can be difficult for the layperson to interpret. Results may not be presented in a manner which is easy to digest, and therefore they may not provide the most accessible window of information on a particular drug.

Patient information leaflets (PILs) are designed to present relevant details about a medication in a way that all patients can understand. You should always read the PIL for each medication that you take and Champix is no exception. Section four provides a breakdown of any potential side effects and their known frequency.

Getting advice from your GP

Whilst reading online reviews and clinical trial results can strengthen your understanding of a particular treatment, you should always speak to your doctor before using a medication for the first time.

They can provide an overview of how effective a medicine is deemed to be, and judge whether it can be effective for you by evaluating your medical profile.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Oct 11 2017 | Next review due:  Friday, Oct 11 2019