Nicotine Patches: Every Thing You Need to know
Nicotine Patches: Every Thing You Need to know
The nicotine patch is impregnated with nicotine and worn on the skin by the person who wants to quit smoking. It looks like a square band-aid. The size of the patch depends on the brand and dosage. In this way, nicotine is absorbed gradually into the blood, which helps to reduce the cravings for cigarettes and replaces the nicotine in the cigarettes. When you stop smoking cigarettes, it drops your nicotine level quickly, which causes withdrawal symptoms like craving tobacco, irritability, weight gain, headache, nervousness and many more.
It's important to stop smoking if you want to improve your health and live a longer life. Though it's really hard to stop smoking, and you can only do so if you make a serious commitment to yourself. You need to use nicotine replacement products to implement the total stop-smoking program, including counselling, support, and behaviour changes.
Types of the nicotine patch
There are two types of nicotine patches.
- Day patch: this patch can be worn for maximum 16 hours during the day and must be taken off before going to bed
- Day and night patch: this patch can be worn for a maximum 24 hours. It can be worn all day and night.
To get the best results, you must use them for at least eight weeks. Usually, people use the strongest nicotine patches. Many brands recommend starting with the strongest patch and moving down slowly to the weaker ones after a number of weeks.
How to use a nicotine patch
You must read all the directions on the package before using this product. You must understand well how to apply and remove it. You should start this medication when it's your quit smoking day. You should apply this patch to a clean and dry area that is not hairy, usually on the upper arm or trunk. The manufacturer's instruction sheet also guides and recommends to you where to apply the patch. Make sure to clip hair from the site before you apply the patch but don't shave it.
Take out the patch from the package and peel off its protective strip. Now immediately apply this patch to your skin and firmly press it for 10-20 seconds in its place. Make sure that the edges are firmly held to the skin. Once you apply the patch, wash your hands with water and don't use soap.
The best dose for you
The dose which decreases your urge to smoke without any side effects of using excessive nicotine is the best dose for you. Follow your doctor's advice if this medication is prescribed to you by your doctor. You must adjust your dose according to your needs keeping in mind your smoking history and medical condition.
If you wake up craving cigarettes, it best to use the 24-hour nicotine patch. If your sleep seems interfered with or you get vivid dreams, you should wear the patch only when you are awake, i.e. 16 hours a day.
Consult a pharmacist or a doctor about which brand of nicotine patch to use. There are different amounts of nicotine in different nicotine patches, and each one of them has different instructions and timings for leaving the patch on your skin.
Every day uses a new patch and tries to apply it at the same time each day as it helps you to remember it. Slowly and gradually lower the dose after several weeks so that you don't need any nicotine replacement. You must complete your treatment with this medication, almost 8-10 weeks. After the treatment period, if you still feel that you need to use it for preventing smoking, consult your doctor.
Suddenly stopping this medication may lead to withdrawal symptoms like headache, tobacco cravings, irritability, and nervousness. This is the reason doctors lower the dose slowly to help prevent withdrawal. As soon as you have withdrawal, inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately. Withdrawal usually takes place if you have used high doses of nicotine or used it for a long period.
If you can't quit smoking even after using a nicotine patch for more than 4 weeks, consult your doctor. Smokers are sometimes unsuccessful in quitting smoking when they try for the first time. In such cases, you need to stop using a nicotine patch and try it again later after some time. May times, people who were unsuccessful in quitting the first time are usually successful the next time.
- Don't apply this patch to irritated, red or cut skin.
- Don't use the patch over other skin products
- Don't use the nicotine patch if it's cut, torn, open or damaged.
- Don't wear more than a single patch at a time.
- Don't wear a nicotine patch for more than 24 hours.
- Apply the nicotine patch every time to a different area on your body to avoid any kind of irritation.
- Use the same application site at least after a week
- Don't apply a patch if it falls off; apply a new one instead.
- Fold each patch after removing it so that it sticks to itself, then discard it in the trash.
Does nicotine patch help?
These patches are basically nicotine replacement therapies that are designed to help to quit smoking. Nicotine patches help as they replace some amount of nicotine that you usually get from using a cigarette. Though you might still get cravings, these patches take the edge off as It releases nicotine slowly into your body. These patches help you to reduce nicotine withdrawal like cravings, frustration, anxiety, and restlessness once you start to quit smoking. These patches double the chance of quitting smoking.
Nicotine patch provides a controlled and slow dosage of nicotine to the body throughout the day, thus reducing nicotine's withdrawal effects. Over time, the patch's strength is reduced to allow the user to gradually wean them off the nicotine.
Pros of nicotine patches
- Easy to use
- Reduces your desire to smoke
- Reduces your number of cigarettes per day
- Gives you nicotine all day cheap if prescribed by GP
- You can fulfil your desire for smoking even in places where you can't smoke
Cons of nicotine patches
- It takes hours to absorb nicotine to get you to a comfortable level.
The most effective quitting method is combination therapy. Nicotine patches work best with combination therapy; this means patch plus fast-acting NRT. These patches are usually used in combination with gum to make them work more effectively.
These patches usually come in three dosage strengths, 7 mg, 14 mg, and 21 mg. The strength may slightly vary between manufacturers. This amount refers to the nicotine in the product. It's recommended to start with 21 mg of nicotine for people smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day. The user must lower the dose of the patches with time.
Where to buy them
Nicotine patches are available at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Discounted patches are also available with PBS (pharmaceutical benefits scheme). You need a doctor's prescription to get the PBS patches. You can get a 12 weeks supply once a year.