Feeling Patchy? Nicotine Patches…

Ok, As you all know, I am not a great fan of NRT but I think that we all need to know EVERY choice available when stopping and this is one of them. I will do chewing gum, sprays,tablets and lozengers in a separate post.

The main benefit in using patches is that it can reduce the physical craving for nicotine however like most stop smoking methods (bar a drugged induced coma) you still need to deal with the mental side of addiction. Until recently, it was believed that the chance of stopping smoking with NRT increased your chances however new studies now debate this.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/01/nicotine-letdown/ and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2084237/Nicotine-patches-branded-waste-time-study-finds-dont-help-smokers-quit-long-term.html and http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/09/news/la-heb-nicotine-patch-doesnt-work-20120109 and http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1205/S00053/busting-the-myths-of-nicotine-replacement-therapy.htm)

Most new studies are showing that while NRT increases your chance of stopping initially in the first three- six months but doesn’t increase your chance of long term cessation which is where you need to be successful. It is sort of like weight loss, it is not the losing that is the most difficult, it is the maintenance.

So how does it work?

The nicotine patch provides a steady, controlled dose of nicotine throughout the day, thereby reducing the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Patch strength is reduced over time, allowing the user to wean themselves off of nicotine gradually.
How do I use the nicotine patch?
Nicotine patches typically come in three different dosage strengths: 21mg, 14mg and 7mg, though this may vary between manufacturers slightly. 
The 21mg patch is usually recommended as a starting point for people who smoke a pack of 20 cigarettes or more daily. From there, following package instructions, the user ‘steps down’ to lower dose patches until the final step down to no patch.

The nicotine patch should be applied once a day to clean, dry, hairless skin. Manufacturers usually recommend wearing the patch between 16 and 24 hours a day, depending on what you’re comfortable with. However, wearing the nicotine patch to bed at night can disrupt sleep and cause vivid dreams. If this becomes a concern, remove the patch before bed and put a fresh one on the next morning.

What are the side effects associated with the Nicotine Patch?
Side effects of nicotine patches may include:
  • Itching, burning or tingling when the patch is applied. This usually goes away within an hour, and is a result of nicotine coming in contact with the skin.
  • Redness or swelling at the patch site for up to 24 hours.
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • severe rash or swelling
  • seizures
  • abnormal heartbeat or rhythm
  • difficulty breathing
If you take any other medications, be sure to check with your doctor before starting the patch, as it can change the way some medicines work.
Smoking While Using the Nicotine Patch
Do not smoke when using nicotine patches or any other NRT, as you run the risk of receiving an overdose of nicotine.

Signs of a nicotine overdose may include:

  • dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • bad headaches
  • vomiting
  • cold sweats
  • drooling
  • confusion
  • blurred vision
  • hearing problems
  • weakness or fainting
If you suspect an overdose, take the patch off and call your doctor immediately.
The nicotine patch is a solid tool to help you quit smoking, but remember: the magic of success lies within you, not in any package containing a quit aid. Work on developing the resolve to do whatever it takes for however long it takes, and apply yourself daily to the task. Do this, and you will not fail!”

Like all options, please check it out properly before deciding that it is for you.

There are some other links for you to look at so you can decide if Patches/ NRT is for you:

 

http://www.quit.org.nz/62/help-to-quit/nicotine-patches-gum-and-lozenges

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10709777

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10774271

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