Nicotine replacement therapy uses products that supply low doses of nicotine. These products do not contain the toxins found in smoke. The goal of therapy is to cut down on cravings for nicotine and ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Nicotine replacement therapy is of the most help for people who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day. It is not yet proven to help people who smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes per day.
Facts about using nicotine replacement therapy:
TYPES OF NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Nicotine supplements come in many forms:
All of these work well if they are used correctly. People are more likely to use the gum and patches correctly than other forms.
All nicotine patches are placed and used in similar ways:
Nicotine Gum or Lozenge
You can buy nicotine gum or lozenges without a prescription. Some people prefer lozenges to the patch, because they can control the nicotine dose.
Tips for using the gum:
The nicotine inhaler looks like a plastic cigarette holder. It requires a prescription in the United States.
It can help to use the inhaler and patch together when quitting.
Nicotine Nasal Spray
The nasal spray provides a quick dose of nicotine to satisfy a craving you are unable to ignore. Levels of nicotine peak within 5 - 10 minutes after using the spray.
SIDE EFFECTS AND RISKS
All nicotine products may cause side effects. Symptoms are more likely when you use very high doses. Reducing the dose can prevent these symptoms. Side effects include:
Nicotine patches are OK for use by people with heart or blood circulation problems. However, the unhealthy cholesterol levels (lower HDL levels) caused by smoking do not get better until the nicotine patch is stopped.
Nicotine replacement may not be completely safe in pregnant women. The unborn children of women who use the patch may have a faster heart rate.
Keep all nicotine products away from children.
Smoking cessation - nicotine replacement; Tobacco - nicotine replacement therapy
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Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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