Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is commonly used by smokers to help them quit smoking. Nicotine Patches are one of the products used for nicotine replacement therapy.
Nicotine patches can be purchased over the counter at chemists or by a doctor?s prescription depending on your location.
Nicotine patches are worn on a smoker’s skin and work by constantly releasing small amounts of nicotine into the blood through the skin. This means that nicotine does not enter the blood the moment a patch is applied and it can take up to three hours after a patch has been applied before nicotine enters the blood stream.
Patches are worn throughout the day (and some through the night as well) and are most often changed every twenty four hours.
The thought behind nicotine patches is that the smoker can break free of the habit of smoking and the instant gratification of smoking whilst lessening or avoiding the effects of nicotine withdrawal. The smoker can use less strong patches over time and in this way wean themselves away from nicotine intake and smoking.
Although nicotine patches are though to be effective in helping to quit smoking their use can cause some side effects, these include:
- nicotine overdose can be caused by smoking whilst using patches
- itching, burning, rashes or irritation of the skin where the patch has been applied
- nausea or vomiting
- insomnia or disturbed sleep
- headaches and sore muscles
- racing heartbeat
It is also thought that nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are not as effective on their own as they are combined with some form of behaviour or thought modification.