How Do Nicotine Patches Help Quit Smoking?


Do Nicotine Patches Help Quit Smoking?

Hello All!!!

Nicotine patches or tobacco patches are a way to help you quit smoking. The reason of using the nicotine replacement therapy is that you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking suddenly. However, with nicotine patches the body gets adapted to having less amount of nicotine and thus you may have the reduced urge to smoke. Over time you can even gradually give up nicotine and this would take 8 to 10 weeks.

Let us look at nicotine patches in detail.

cigarrettes pic

How to use nicotine patches?

Nicotine patches need to be applied directly to the skin once at the same time every day. Use this patch on a clean and dry area that is hairless such as the upper arm, chest or hip. After you remove the used patch, apply the next one on a different skin area because using it on the same area can cause skin irritation. Make sure you follow the instructions on the patch as most of them can be used for 6 to 20 weeks.

How do nicotine patches work?

The nicotine patches look like a band aid and are self-adhesives. The patch has 2 rings. The outer ring sticks to the skin and the inner portion presses against the skin and releases nicotine slowly into the skin. While smoke takes seconds to reach the blood, nicotine present in the patch take around 3 hours to enter the bloodstream via the skin.

The patches work by reducing the urge to smoke by delivering a specific amount of nicotine constantly in the blood. After the first two weeks of medication you can switch to a lower strength nicotine patch. Lower the strength of patches gradually to reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. 24 hr patches are recommended as they prevent early morning symptoms of withdrawal.

Nicotine patch

Does the nicotine patch have any side effects?

There are a few side effects of using nicotine patches and they end to vary from person to person. The common side effects are headache, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, redness or swelling at the place where the patch is placed. There can also be serious side effects like breathing difficulty, rash, swelling, abnormal heart rate and even seizures.

Points to be kept in mind while using nicotine patches

1) Nicotine patches have to be avoided if you have had a heart attack in the past, irregular heart rate, angina, high BP, ulcers, hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma or a skin disorder.

2) If you are a woman and are expecting a baby or planning to get pregnant or are a lactating mom, please stay away from nicotine patches as they can harm the fetus. If you are using the patches the right now, please consult your doctor immediately.

3) Don’t use the patch if you are consuming the following medications:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Caffeine
  • Diuretics
  • Imipramine
  • Insulin
  • Medications for high blood pressure
  • Oxazepam
  • Pentazocine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Propranolol
  • Theophylline
  • Vitamins

4) Last but not the least, you should not smoke cigarettes or use any kind of nicotine products when you are using these skin patches. This is because it may lead to a nicotine overdose.

Hope you found this post on nicotine patches useful!

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