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Nicotine Patch Fact Sheet

Description of Product:
The nicotine patch is placed on the skin and supplies a small and steady amount of nicotine into the body. Nicotine patches contain varied amounts of nicotine (21 mg, 14 mg, or 7 mg, for example) and the user reduces the dose over time.

Step-down Dosage
4 weeks 21 mg a day
then 2 weeks 14 mg a day
then 2 weeks 7 mg a day
Single Dosage
Both a 22 mg a day and 11 mg a day (for lighter smokers) dose are available in one-step patch therapy.
Side Effects:
Side effects may include:
  • Skin reactions
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid dreams
This fact sheet was created to give you a general understanding of this medication. Please note that this fact sheet may not provide you with all the information you need to make a decision about using this medication. Always read the instructions on the package carefully and talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a severe medical problem, talk with your doctor before starting any new medication.
Special Precautions:
Pregnancy/breastfeeding: Smokers who are pregnant or breastfeeding should try to quit without using the nicotine patch. The nicotine patch should be used during pregnancy only if the associated benefits outweigh the associated risks.

Heart conditions: Smokers who have serious arrhythmias or have chest pains due to coronary artery disease should use the nicotine patch with caution.

Skin conditions: Smokers who have skin disorders (e.g., psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis), may experience skin irritation.
Information in the medication guide and fact sheets is from a variety of sources, such as product information guides; manufacturers' Web sites, medical Web sites, and articles in the medical literature, including Corelli RL & Hudman KS. Pharmacologic interventions for smoking cessation, Crit Care Nurs Clin N Am 2006;18, 39–51.