Nicotine patches for quitting tobacco - Provider

Nicotine patches for quitting tobacco - Provider
Nicotine patches for quitting tobacco
About nicotine patches
Nicotine patches allow nicotine to be absorbed through the skin. The patch provides a continual
level of nicotine throughout the day. The level is less than from cigarettes, but is usually enough
to reduce craving and nicotine withdrawal.
It is very important that you quit using tobacco before you begin to use a nicotine patch. Do not
use tobacco as long as you are using the patch. If you do use tobacco during this time, you could
overdose on nicotine.
We believe nicotine patches work best when used with a program that teaches you to change
habits so you can live without nicotine. The Quit for Life® Program helps patients learn these
To contact Quit for Life, call toll-free 1-800-462-5327
How to use nicotine patches
1. Apply the nicotine patch daily at the same time each day. Choose a different place on your
skin to apply the next patch. Do not use the same skin site for at least one week.
2. Choose a non-hairy, clean, dry area on the upper, outer part of your arm. Do not put the
patch on skin that is oily, burned, broken out, cut, or irritated.
3. Press the nicotine patch firmly onto your skin for about 10 seconds. Make sure it sticks well.
4. You might feel mild itching, burning, or tingling at first, but this is normal and usually goes
away within an hour.
5. Water will not harm the patch. You can shower or bathe as usual.
6. Avoid using perfumed soaps or skin lotions, which can make the skin oily and cause the
patch to fall off.
7. Wash your hands well after each application and removal of the patch.
8. Dispose of the patch by folding it in half and placing it into the plastic holder. Keep the
patch out of reach of children and pets.
9. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may indicate you are getting too much nicotine. Notify
the Quit for Life® Program if this happens.
10. Don’t use tobacco while using a nicotine patch. Using tobacco while using a patch can cause
nicotine overdose.
Signs of overdose
Stop using the patch immediately and contact the Quit for Life® Program if you experience any
of the following symptoms:
Bad headache
Cold sweats
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Blurred vision
Increased saliva
Rapid or irregular heart beat
Chest pain
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Common side effects
The most common side effects from using nicotine patches include skin irritation, itching,
problems sleeping, strange or disturbing dreams, diarrhea, and indigestion. Most of these
symptoms will go away over time.
It is normal to feel some tingling or mild burning when the patch is first applied. This usually
goes away in an hour. After removing the patch, the skin underneath may be red for a day or so.
If this lasts longer than a couple of days, or the skin becomes swollen, contact the Quit for Life®
Program. You may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Dose adjustments might be needed if
you have side effects.
Some conditions require special precautions. Be sure to let the Quit for Life® Program know if
you have any of the following:
 A recent heart attack (myocardial
 Heart pain (angina pectoris)
 Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)
 Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
 Stomach ulcers
 Overactive thyroid
 Rashes from adhesive tape or
 Allergies to certain drugs
 High blood pressure
 Skin diseases
 Diabetes requiring insulin
 Kidney or liver disease
If you need to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while you’re using nicotine patches, tell
a member of your health care team before you have the test. The MRI might cause a slight burn
to the skin at the patch site.
The information presented in this pamphlet is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of
professional medical care.
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Rev. date 2011187
© 2011 Group Health Cooperative
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