If you’re looking for a nicotine patch, you likely have a few questions about how they work and what they can do for you.
Most patches are FDA-approved to treat smoking cessation.
Nicotine patches are a type of nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, that delivers nicotine directly to your bloodstream through a skin patch. They’re most often used as a quit-smoking aid.
Nicotine patches contain nicotine, which is a type of addictive drug. If used on their own, the patches are usually very effective at helping you stop smoking.
They can help you with your quitting efforts, but patches can also cause unwanted side effects.
If you’re considering trying a nicotine patch as part of your quit-smoking plan, here’s what you need to know.
The nicotine patch is a relatively new treatment. It’s been around for less than 20 years.
How do nicotine patches work?
Nicotine patches are small, adhesive patches that you wear for several hours each day. A patch is often made from a fabric that has a moisture-wicking, breathable, soft, and flexible texture.
The patches apply a small amount of nicotine to your skin. The nicotine is absorbed into your bloodstream and circulates throughout your body.
Nicotine patches work in a similar way to patches that deliver nicotine-containing drops into your mouth.
Unlike nicotine patches that deliver nicotine through your mouth, the patches that deliver nicotine through your skin are more closely related to traditional nicotine gum and lozenges.
They work in the same way as traditional patches. They deliver nicotine through your skin and into your blood stream.
The patches work by delivering a steady dose of nicotine into your bloodstream.
In the case of nicotine patches, nicotine is delivered to your bloodstream by a special type of patch. Most nicotine patches are made of a fabric that’s coated with a nicotine-delivery layer.
The nicotine-delivery layer helps the nicotine patches get into your bloodstream. The patches deliver nicotine to your bloodstream in a way that’s different from traditional nicotine patches.
Nicotine patches are especially effective for quitting smoking. They help you make the transition from smoking to nonsmoking habits.
How long do nicotine patches work?
Nicotine patches are designed to provide a steady dose of nicotine to your bloodstream each day.
Depending on the type of patch, you may be able to get rid of a tobacco cigarette or cigar in as little as 20 minutes.
However, the nicotine in the patch may not provide a steady dose of nicotine for very long.
You may be able to get nicotine out of the patch for longer periods of time if you’re using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that delivers nicotine in a patch.
NRT that delivers nicotine through a patch may last for several days or even a week or more.
How effective are nicotine patches?
Nicotine patches can help you quit smoking.
Research has found that the patches are effective at helping people who are trying to quit smoking.
However, because the patch delivers nicotine directly to your bloodstream, some people who use nicotine patches may feel some unpleasant side effects.
The side effects that may occur include:
- A metallic taste in the mouth
- Dry mouth
- Throat irritation
- A mild cough
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of appetite
- Low blood sugar
- Increased sweating
Nicotine patches may also cause severe side effects, such as:
- Heart rhythm changes
- Suicidal thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Heart attack
Some people may be able to experience all or some of the symptoms associated with the use of nicotine patches, but most people will not experience all of the symptoms.
In short, the nicotine patches that deliver nicotine through a patch can cause side effects that can result in some people feeling less than fully satisfied by the patches.
What are the risks of using nicotine patches?
The side effects of nicotine patches are mild and temporary.
However, nicotine patches can still cause some unwanted side effects. You likely won’t experience all of the symptoms of nicotine patches.
One of the most common side effects of nicotine patches is a metallic taste in the mouth.
Nicotine patches can also cause dry mouth, throat irritation, and headaches.
The nicotine patches may also cause a mild cough, trouble sleeping, and increased appetite.
In rare cases, a nicotine patch may cause a heart rhythm problem called arrhythmia. This can result in fainting, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
In rare cases, nicotine patches can cause a stroke. This can result in a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure.
Risks of nicotine patches may be higher if you use NRT that delivers nicotine in a patch.
If you’re using NRT that delivers nicotine in a patch, you should speak with your doctor before using nicotine patches.
What’s the best way to use nicotine patches?
Nicotine patches aren’t the best choice for everyone.
Nicotine patches aren’t intended to replace your quit-smoking efforts.
They’re designed to be used along with your quit-smoking efforts.
Nicotine patches can be used to help you quit smoking for the first time.
However, nicotine patches aren’t recommended as a substitute for your quit-smoking efforts.
You should still use your other quit-smoking methods as directed by your doctor. The best quitting aids for you will depend on your unique situation.
Your doctor will recommend the best way to use nicotine patches. They may also recommend using nicotine patches in combination with other quitting aids.
They may recommend the use of patches along with:
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that delivers nicotine in a transdermal patch
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine lozenges
Nicotine patches aren’t a replacement for your quit-smoking efforts.
Nicotine patches can help you get started on your quit-smoking efforts.
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