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What is a Nicotine Transdermal Patch?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 17, 2024
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A nicotine transdermal patch is a product containing nicotine that somewhat resembles a bandage. It usually has a sticky backing which is peeled off so it may be applied directly to the skin. The patch normally then releases small amounts of nicotine into a person's body. They are often used by people who are trying to cease the use of tobacco products, as the patches sometimes help minimize withdrawal symptoms.

These patches are commonly sold in drug stores. They are often obtained over-the-counter, which means a person does not need a prescription in order to buy them. In the United States, a purchaser must usually be at least 18 years of age and may need to show identification when buying this product.

A nicotine transdermal patch can vary in strength. The strongest dosage is usually 21 mg (0.00074 oz) of nicotine per patch, with the lowest dosage being around 7 mg (0.00024 oz.) in each one. Patches with higher levels of nicotine are typically recommended for people who are heavy users of tobacco products or those who have just recently begun to quit using them. The general idea is to gradually decrease the amount of nicotine being absorbed by the body until a user is entirely weaned off this addictive drug.

Products such as these are usually affixed to a person's upper arm by placing the sticky side down. It is usually left in place for a period of time. The amount of time a nicotine transdermal patch is worn mostly depends on the strength of the patch and how far along a person is in their cessation treatment. Patches are usually worn more frequently at the beginning of a nicotine-free regimen than at the end of such a program.

There are occasionally some side effects associated with the use of a nicotine transdermal patch. Some of these may include dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, and depression. In some instances, users may have a disturbed sleep pattern which can include vivid dreams or nightmares.

Users may also experience a reaction to this medication at the site of application. This might be in the form of a skin irritation or rash. The skin around the bandage can become very itchy. People who suffer in this manner may want to place the bandage on another area of the body, such as the legs, if this occurs.

A nicotine transdermal patch can be a very effective tool to assist those who would like to break an addiction to nicotine. Even so, these products are not recommended for people with high blood pressure or heart problems. Users should also not smoke while one of these patches is in place. People who are considering using this product to become nicotine-free may want to consult with their physicians before doing so.

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