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Smoking With Transdermal Patch
Nicotine patches are known generically
as the nicotine transdermal system. This method has been available in the United States by
prescription since 1992, and over-the-counter (OTC) since July 1996.
They are small, self-adhesive patches
that you stick on your skin so that nicotine can enter your bloodstream at a steady rate
all day. When you smoke or use other nicotine replacement therapies, you get a
"spike" of high nicotine level in your blood, which then lowers until you feel
the need to take another dose and top up your nicotine levels. The patch just keeps you at
a steady level all the time and gets you accustomed to that without expecting to have
occasional high levels. Patches come in different strengths, and you go from the strongest
one you need to the weakest available, and then stop using them altogether.
The advantages of nicotine patches are that they provide
you with a steady supply of nicotine without your having to think about it; they work in
any situation (although you can't wear them in swimming pools or while bathing, but most
of us don't feel particularly tempted to smoke then, anyway); and they provide a strong
deterrent to smoking because if you smoke while you are wearing one or for hours after
taking one off, you could suffer symptoms of nicotine overdose, such as death.
The disadvantages of nicotine patches are that they are
relatively expensive; they can irritate the skin on which they are placed; they cause you
to have weird dreams and not sleep very well if you wear them after you go to bed; if you
don't wear them after you go to bed it can be a bit rough in the morning before you get a
patch on and it starts working; and, if you are dumb and you smoke while you are wearing a
patch or shortly after removing one, you could suffer symptoms of nicotine overdose, such
Some facts about the patch:
The process of using the nicotine patches
takes from eight to 12 weeks. Patches come in 21 mg, 14 mg and 7 mg doses.
Each day, a new patch (it looks like a big
bandage) is applied to a different area of dry, clean, non-hairy skin and left on the body
for the amount of time recommended in the product's labeling. A patch should not be used
for more than 24 hours.
An alternate skin site must be used the next
day, and skin sites should not be re-used for at least a week.
When a patch is first applied to the skin,
people commonly experience a mild itching, burning, or tingling at the site of the patch.
These symptoms usually disappear within an hour.
After removing the patch, the skin site
might stay red for up to a day. If your skin develops a rash or becomes swollen or very
red, your doctor should be consulted.
Using the nicotine patch allows the tobacco
user to overcome their behavioral and psychological habits without having to experience
the complications of nicotine withdrawal at the same time. They should be used in
conjunction with behavioral and psychological strategies to reduce or quit your tobacco
The nicotine patch is not a good choice for
those people with skin problems or allergies to adhesive tape.
The cost of the nicotine patches can range
from $3 to $5 per day.
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