How to Use Nicotine Patches to Quit Smoking

If you have decided to quit smoking, there can be several treatment options that you can undertake. Among these, the use of nicotine replacement therapy is quite common. Through it, you will use objects like nicotine gum and nicotine patches to overcome your craving for smoking. Nicotine patches are one of the most commonly used NRT for quitting smoking; they are available as an over-the-counter drug almost everywhere. However, it is important that you use these nicotine patches in a correct and safe manner so that you do not end up harming yourself.

So here is a complete guide explaining how effective these patches can be and how you can use them in the correct way.

What is a Nicotine Patch?

A nicotine patch is basically a tan-colored or clear bandage in a small square shape. You can stick this bandage to your body and it would control the urge you get for nicotine throughout the day. Depending on the nicotine dosage you want and the brand you are using, the size of a nicotine patch can vary between one and two inches. These nicotine patches contain clean nicotine without any traces of toxins like tobacco; this ensures a slow release of nicotine from your body to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The patch is usually applied to a hairless area of your skin between your neck and waist and needs to be changed every day.

Are Nicotine Patches Effective?

There have been several studies that indicate that nicotine replacement therapies can prove to be helpful in making a person quit smoking. Among these therapies, the use of nicotine patch has become known for being able to double the chances of success for smoking cessation for a person. However, alternative studies have also suggested that these methods do not always mean that you are immune to relapsing at a later time. A nicotine patch is simply an aid that can facilitate you in quitting smoking, but it cannot keep you motivated to stay away from cigarettes over a long-term time frame.

The Right Way to Use a Nicotine Patch

The most important thing you should remember before you start using nicotine patches is that you should completely give up smoking before you start using them. In addition, the nicotine patch should not be used if you have medical conditions like psoriasis, eczema or other skin disorders. If you have any other health condition, are using regular medications or are pregnant, these patches should only be used after consultation with your doctor.
With that out of the way, here are some tips to help you use nicotine patches in the right way.

  • Depending on how much you smoke every day, you need to individualize your dosage of these patches.
  • Most of the patches available in the market need to be applied for 24 hours every day in order to work effectively.
  • As you progress through your smoking cessation program, you can start reducing your dosage of nicotine patches.
  • Typically, you need to use nicotine patches for 8 to 12 weeks, changing your dosage after three or four weeks to check your symptoms. However, you might have to use them for a longer time period if the cravings still persist.
  • You only have to use one nicotine patch at a time and no more as it can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Use the patch as directed on the instructions provided. Cutting or trimming the patch can reduce or eliminate its effectiveness.
  • Mild itching, tingling or burning can be common within an hour of wearing the patch.
  • If you are going for a strenuous activity or scuba diving, remember to remove your patch an hour before leaving to avoid the increased risk of side effects.

The Side Effects of Nicotine Patches

Like every other medication that you use, nicotine patches come with their own set of side effects that you will have to deal with. These side effects can include upset stomach, sleeping problems, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, experiencing symptoms similar to that of cold or flu, vivid dreams, red skin where the patch is applied, burning, mild itching, and tingling. However, if you experience something more alarming like palpitations, leg pain, irregular heartbeat or chest pain, remove the patch and consult your doctor right away.

Remember this information in your efforts to quit smoking and you will definitely overcome this addiction.

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