The patch is another form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The patch is
available over the counter and is marketed under several brand names (i.e.:
Nicoderm) without a prescription. It allows a steady absorption of nicotine through
the skin and maintains levels of nicotine in the body which are very similar to
traditional smoking. The nicotine patch may be used if a person relapsed after
using another method of NRT earlier, like nicotine gum. Stop smoking success
rates are very low when repeating the same nicotine replacement therapies over
and over again.
Do They Work
Nicotine patches alone, without a support group or program, is extremely unlikely to
succeed. Therefore, it is highly recommended that people using this as part of an
overall program designed by their doctor, who can guide the person on which
strength to use based on their tobacco history.
Patch Side Effects
Side effects are fairly mild and consist of skin irritation in roughly 40% of users,
while contact dermatitis is seen about 5% of the time. These side effects may be
alleviated when the skin contact point is moved around. The patch should not be
used in someone with severe eczema or psoriasis.
Nicotine Patch Dreams
Many people use the 24-hour patch to treat morning withdrawal symptoms, but this
may cause them to have disturbing nightmares. This can be controlled by removing
the patch prior to bedtime, but the morning cravings may become intense. So one
has to balance the risk of dreams with the morning withdrawal symptoms.
Remember, these side effects are easily managed with the right game plan.
There have been some cases of heart attacks in people who were continuing to
smoke while wearing the patch. However, studies have shown there is no added
risk to having a heart attack than is already present because the person is still
smoking. Despite this, it is recommended that persons using this and other
nicotine replacement therapies, not engage in tobacco use.
Once again, to minimize the side effects and maximize its benefits, the nicotine
patch should only be used in combination with other nicotine replacement therapies
under the direction of a doctor.
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