Can a Nicotine Patch help quit smoking?

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Nicotine patch

A Nicotine patch is a medicated adhesive patch that is placed on the skin to transport a particular dose of medication through the skin and into the bloodstream. Nicotine patch is used as a great help in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a process for smoking cessation. Smoking cessation is the process of stopping the habit of inhaling a smoked substance. Nicotine patch can help a person quit smoking by replacing the nicotine in cigarettes. The nicotine in tobacco is a significant part of cigarette addiction. When a person stops smoking, his/her nicotine levels drop rapidly. This drop can cause withdrawal symptoms such as craving tobacco, nervousness, irritability, headache, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. Qutting smoking is hard and the chance of success is great when a person is ready and has made a promise to give up smoking. Nicotine replacement products are part of a total stop-smoking program that includes behavior change, counseling, and support. Smoking causes lung disease such as cancer and heart disease. Stopping smoking is one of the most important things a person can do to improve his/her health and well-being.


How Does the Nicotine Patch Work?

The Nicotine patch releases a consistent, controlled dose of nicotine throughout the day, in so doing reducing the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Over time, the patch strength is reduced. This allows the user to wean him off of nicotine slowly.

  • Nicotine causes a release of dopamine into the brain, resulting in feelings of pleasure. Heroin and "crack" have the same effects on the brain. For some people, nicotine can be as addictive as cocaine or heroin.
  •  If a smoker inhales 10 times in each cigarette, that is equal to 200 times of inhalation of nicotine to the brain on a daily basis. Eventually, more nicotine is required to reach the same level of enjoyment.
  •  If the brain stops getting the nicotine it requires, a person will feel frantic cravings that are hard to conquer only with commitment and will power.


How does a Nicotine Patch look like?

The Nicotine patch looks like a square tan or clear bandage. The size of the patch depends on the dosage and brand used, but normally is between one and two inches square.


What are the available dosages for the Nicotine patch?

Basically, Nicotine patches come in three different dosage strengths,

  • 21mg,
  • 14mg and
  • 7mg, though this may vary between different brands.

These numbers refer to the quantity of nicotine in the patch. The 21mg patch is usually recommended as a starting point for people who smoke a pack of 20 cigarettes or more every day. From there, following package instructions, the user can decrease to lower dose patches until the final step where he/she uses no patch at all.


How does one use the Nicotine patch?

There are some steps to be followed in using a Nicotine patch. They are:

  •  The sealed package should be opened only when a person is ready to pot on the patch.
  •  Peel the protective cover off the patch and discard the cover. Try not to touch the sticky side of the patch (the side with the protective cover).
  •  Put one patch on a clean, dry area of skin on the upper body that isn't covered with hair, such as stomach, upper arm or side of the body.
  •  Do not put the patch on burned, cut or stinging You do not have access to view this node.
  •  To apply the patch, place the sticky side on the skin and press it firmly with the palm of the hand for 10 seconds.
  •  Ensure the patch is flat and smooth against the You do not have access to view this node.
  •  Wash the hands immediately after putting on the patch, as the nicotine on hands could get into the eyes or nose and cause stinging or other problems.
  •  Wear the patch for the period of time indicated on the package. Most patches are worn for 16 or 24 hours.
  •  One can take off the patch at bedtime, if he/she has sleep problems due to the nicotine patch.
  •  To take off the old patch, fold it in half with the sticky sides together.
  •  Put the old patch in the package from the new patch or in the disposal tray provided.
  •  Put the package or tray in the trash where children and pets cannot reach.
  •  Put the next patch on a different part of You do not have access to view this node.
  •  Use a different area every day.
  •  After one week, one can use a previously used area of the body.


Who should not use a Nicotine patch?

If you are,

  •  Allergic to any ingredient in Nicotine Patch
  • Recently had a heart attack
  •  Severe or worsening chest pain or a severely irregular heartbeat
  •  Continue to smoke, chew tobacco, use snuff, or any other nicotine-containing products (eg, nicotine gum).


What are the medical conditions and medicines that interact with nicotine patch?

A number of medical conditions and medicines may interact with Nicotine Patch. It is essential to tell the doctor or pharmacist in case of any following medical conditions:

  •  In case of pregnancy, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  •  In case of taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  •  In case of allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances (including adhesive tape and bandages)
  •  In case of skin problems at the application area.
  •  In case of chest pain (eg, angina), heart problems (e.g, coronary artery disease, irregular heartbeat), a history of a heart attack, high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid, an ulcer, a tumor on your adrenal gland , diabetes, or blood vessel problems such as, Buerger disease, Raynaud phenomena
  • If taking Asthma medication or medication for depression, or using another medicine to stop smoking.
  •  Medicines such as, Acetaminophen, adrenergic antagonists (prazosin), asthma medicines( theophylline), beta-blockers (labetalol, propranolol), caffeine, insulin, oxazepam, pentazocine, or tricyclic antidepressants (imipramine) may interact with the nicotine patch.
  •  Adrenergic agonists, such as isoproterenol, phenylephrine may interfere, since their effectiveness may be reduced when a person quits smoking.


What are the side-effects of Nicotine patch?

Common side effects observed in smokers using Nicotine patches are similar to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  •  Dizziness
  •  Vomiting
  •  Upset stomach
  •  Drowsiness
  •  Diarrhea
  •  Headache
  •  Irritability
  •  Mild hallucinations
  •  Depression.
  •  When used during the night, nicotine patches reduces sleep quality but may give more vivid dreams.
  •  Skin irritation at the area of the patch is also common, including allergic reactions to materials or adhesives on the patch.
  •  Redness or swelling at the patch site for up to 24 hours.


Is nicotine patch efficient?

Several clinical trials indicated that the patch approximately doubles success rates over placebo You do not have access to view this node. Uncertainties have been articulated on the effectiveness of nicotine patches as a method to help reduce or quit smoking. Few studies shows that the success rates of experimental groups using nicotine patches was comparable to using nothing at all and considerably lower than many other You do not have access to view this node. Though, these studies compared self-selected groups of smokers who may have varied in the degree of reliance.


What is an effective way to quit smoking?

A better way to conquer the body's requirement for nicotine is to stop smoking but continue to supply the body with a small amount. Once the body adapts to having less, a person with smoking habit will experience temptation less often. In due course, he/she can completely stop supplying the body with nicotine. This is the concept behind Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

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