Nicotine Replacement Patches
This information is using about transdermal nicotine therapy, often called nicotine patches, as part of an overall effort to stop smoking. Nicotine patches are available over-the-counter, and can be purchased from your local pharmacy.
Currently there are 2 kinds of nicotine patches available over-the-counter: Nicotrol and Nicoderm C-Q. Talk with your doctor to see if the patch is right for you, and which patch you should use. If you are under 18 years old, have heart disease, a recent heart attack, irregular heartbeat, or palpitation, high blood pressure, stomach ulcer, take insulin for diabetes, or take prescription medicine for depression or asthma, talk with your doctor about whether you should use Nicorette. Also, talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing a baby because nicotine can increase your baby???s heart rate.
Nicotine patches provide nicotine to your system, and work as a temporary aid to help you quit smoking by reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Because the patch keeps the level of nicotine in the body fairly even, smokers don???t get the burst of nicotine they got by smoking cigarettes. Just as important in quitting, however, is learning how to change your smoking related behaviors. During the time nicotine is being provided by the nicotine patch, it is important to learn how to be a nonsmoker. To be most effective, nicotine replacement products should be used in conjunction with a stop smoking program. We strongly recommend that you immediately begin a smoking cessation program. Research has shown that your chances of successfully quitting are greatly increased if you actively participate in some type of stop smoking program while using the nicotine patch.
Carefully read the package instructions about how to use the patch, and follow the warnings that come with the patches. Refer to them often to make sure you are using the patches correctly. According to the makers of Nicotrol (McNeil) and Nicoderm C-Q (Smith, Cline-Beachum), the following directions should be followed.
- Do not smoke, chew tobacco, use snuff, use nicotine gum or other nicotine-containing products while using the patch.
- Do not smoke even when you are not wearing the patch. The nicotine in your skin will still be going into your bloodstream several hours after you remove the patch.
If you experience skin redness that persists for 4 days, skin swelling or rash, irregular heartbeat or palpitation, stop using the patch and call your health care provider. It is important not to smoke while using the patch. It is possible to get too much nicotine. Signs of too much nicotine include bad headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold-sweats, blurred vision, difficulty with hearing, rapid heart beat, mental confusion, and weakness. Too much nicotine may cause fainting. If you have any of these symptoms, stop using the patch and call your health care provider immediately.
Keep this and all medication out of the reach of children and pets. Even used patches have enough nicotine to poison children and pets. Be sure to fold the sticky ends of the patch together, and throw it safely away.
In case of accidental overdose, call your local Poison Control Center or emergency service. Be sure to tell them that you are using the nicotine patch.
Remember these key points:
- Nicotine patches are used by people trying to quit smoking.
- Talk with your doctor to make sure that this medicine is right for you.
- Follow the manufacturer???s instructions on how to use the patches properly and safely.
- Dispose of used patches safely away from children and pets to prevent poisoning.
- If you experience any side effects or the effects of too much nicotine, call your health care provider immediately.