This medication falls under the category of nicotine replacement therapies, designed to aid individuals over the age of 18 in their journey to quit smoking. When someone decides to quit smoking, they typically experience nicotine withdrawal, resulting in various symptoms like irritability, mood swings, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite. This medication effectively alleviates the discomfort caused by nicotine withdrawal by supplying the body with a controlled amount of nicotine, compensating for the reduced intake from cigarettes.
Uses and Dosage
Commence the usage of this medication on your designated quit day for smoking. Apply the patch to a clean, dry, and non-hairy area on your upper arm or trunk, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for appropriate patch placement. If necessary, trim hair from the site before patch application, but do not shave the area. Carefully remove the patch from its package, peel off the protective strip, and immediately attach it to the skin. Firmly press the patch for 10 to 20 seconds to ensure it stays in place, securing the edges to your skin. After application, wash your hands with plain water, avoiding the use of soap.
Your ideal dosage should effectively reduce the urge to smoke without causing excessive nicotine-related side effects. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, adhere closely to their instructions. The dose will be tailored to your specific needs, taking into account your smoking history and medical condition.
Different brands of nicotine patches vary in nicotine content and instructions regarding how long to wear the patch (e.g., 24 hours or only while awake). Consult your doctor or pharmacist to determine the best-suited patch for you. If you experience morning cravings, the 24-hour patch might be more suitable. In case the patch leads to vivid dreams or disrupts sleep, consider using it only while awake (approximately 16 hours each day).
Avoid applying the patch to red, cut, or irritated skin, and refrain from using it over other skin products like makeup, lotions, or powders. If the individual pouch is open or damaged, or if the patch itself is cut, torn, or compromised, do not use it. To prevent irritation, apply the patch to a different area on your body each time and wait at least a week before reusing the same application site. If your patch falls off, replace it with a new one.
Do not wear a patch for longer than 24 hours, and avoid using more than one patch at a time. After removing each patch, fold it in half so it sticks to itself, and discard it in the trash, out of reach of children and pets.
Consistently use a new patch each day, applying it at the same time, usually upon waking up, to help maintain a routine. Over several weeks, you will gradually decrease your dose (patch strength) until you no longer require nicotine replacement. Completing the full treatment with this medication, which usually spans 8 to 10 weeks, is crucial. If, after the treatment period, you still find the need to use this medication to prevent smoking, consult your doctor.
If you abruptly discontinue the use of this medication, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as tobacco cravings, nervousness, irritability, and headaches. To mitigate withdrawal, your doctor may gradually reduce your dose. Withdrawal is more likely if you have been using nicotine for an extended period or at high doses.
Should you be unable to quit smoking after using this product for four weeks, inform your doctor. It’s common for some smokers to be unsuccessful during their initial attempts to quit. You may need to discontinue the product and try again at a later time. Many people who don’t succeed on their first attempt find success in subsequent tries.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- mild itching, burning, redness, or tingling in the area where the patch was applied
- upset stomach
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- chest pain
- feelings of dependence on the medication or difficulty stopping the medication after your treatment is done
- irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- leg pain
- severe stomach upset that does not go away
- skin rash or swollen skin
- skin redness caused by the patch that does not go away after 4 days
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the face and throat
Prior to using this product, inform your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies you may have, particularly to nicotine, adhesive tape, or any other substances. Inactive ingredients in the product can potentially trigger allergic reactions or other complications.
Before initiating this medication, disclose your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have a history of blood vessel disease, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, esophagus problems, stomach/intestinal sores, certain adrenal issues (pheochromocytoma), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), seizures, or skin problems.
For individuals scheduled for an MRI test, notify the testing personnel about your use of the nicotine patch. Some patches may contain metals that could lead to severe burns during the MRI procedure. Seek guidance from your doctor regarding whether you should remove the patch before the test, apply a new patch afterward, and the proper procedure for doing so.
Discuss the potential effects of strenuous exercise on this medication with your doctor.
While wearing the patch, avoid exposing the skin underneath to direct heat sources, such as heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, heated water beds, or prolonged direct sunlight. Heat sources may cause an increased release of the drug into your body, elevating the risk of side effects.
Nicotine and smoking can pose harm to an unborn baby. If you are pregnant, attempt to quit smoking without resorting to a nicotine replacement product if possible. During pregnancy, use this medication only when clearly necessary, and discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Nicotine from smoking and this medication can pass into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding if you are using this product.
Form and Strength
Habitrol is available in the following forms and strengths:
Can you smoke while using Habitrol?
You must stop smoking completely when taking this medication.
How long do you have to wait between Habitrol patches?
The nicotine patch is typically worn for a day. When you wake up, put a fresh patch on clean skin and wear it for a full 24 hours.