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Common Brand Name(s): Nicotrol, Prostep
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
This medication can help you quit smoking by replacing the nicotine in cigarettes. The nicotine in tobacco is an important part of cigarette addiction. When you stop smoking, your nicotine levels drop quickly. This drop can cause withdrawal symptoms such as craving tobacco, nervousness, irritability, headache, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating.
Stopping smoking is hard and your chance of success is best when you are ready and have made a commitment to quit. Nicotine replacement products are part of a total stop-smoking program that includes behavior change, counseling, and support. Smoking causes lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and live longer.
If you are using the over-the-counter product, read all directions on the product package before using this medication. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, read the Patient Information Leaflet if provided by your pharmacist before you start using this product and each time you get a refill. Make sure you understand how to apply a new patch and dispose of the used product. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Start this medication on your quit (smoking) day. The patch should be applied to a clean, dry, non-hairy area on the trunk or upper arm. Check the manufacturer's instruction sheet for recommended areas to place the patch. If necessary, clip hair from the site before applying the patch. Do not shave the area. Remove the patch from the package, peel off the protective strip, and immediately apply the patch to the skin. Press firmly for 10 to 20 seconds to make sure the patch stays in place. Be sure the edges are held firmly to the skin. Wash your hands with plain water after applying the patch. Do not use soap.
The best dose for you is the dose that decreases the urge to smoke without side effects from too much nicotine. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, follow your doctor's orders carefully. Your dose will need to be adjusted to your needs, including smoking history and medical condition.
Different brands of nicotine patches have different amounts of nicotine and different instructions for how long to leave the patch on the skin (such as for 24 hours or only while awake). Consult your doctor or pharmacist about which brand of patch to use. If you wake up craving cigarettes, the 24-hour patch may be best. If the patch causes vivid dreams or interferes with sleep, you may need to wear the patch only while awake (16 hours each day).
Do not apply the patch to red/cut/irritated skin or over other skin products (such as makeup, lotions, powders). Do not use the patch if the individual pouch is open or damaged or if the patch is cut, torn, or damaged. Apply the patch to a different area on your body each time to avoid irritation. Wait at least a week before using the same application site. Apply a new patch if your patch falls off.
Do not wear a patch for more than 24 hours. Do not wear more than 1 patch at a time. After removing each patch, fold it in half so it sticks to itself, and discard in the trash away from children and pets.
Use a new patch each day, applying it at the same time each day to help you remember, usually when you wake up. After several weeks, you will gradually lower your dose (strength of patch) until you no longer need nicotine replacement. It is important to complete the treatment with this medication (8 to 10 weeks). If after the treatment period, you still feel the need to use this medication to prevent you from smoking, talk to your doctor.
If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as tobacco cravings, nervousness, irritability, headache). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used nicotine for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.
Tell your doctor if you have not been able to quit smoking after using this product for 4 weeks. Some smokers are unsuccessful the first time they try to quit. You may need to stop using this product and try again later. Many people who cannot quit the first time are successful the next time.
Mild itching, redness, burning, and stinging at the application site may occur. Stop using this product and tell your doctor if redness caused by the patch does not go away after 4 days. Nausea, dizziness, flushing, heartburn, or headache may also occur. Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop smoking and include dizziness, anxiety, depression, or trouble sleeping, among others. If any of these withdrawal symptoms or side effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Serious side effects are more likely if you continue to smoke while using this product.
Stop using this medication and tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Stop using this medication and get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to nicotine; or to adhesive tape; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
If you are going to have an MRI test, tell testing personnel that you are using this patch. Some patches may contain metals that can cause serious burns during an MRI. Ask your doctor whether you will need to remove your patch before the test and apply a new patch afterward, and how to do so properly.
Strenuous exercise may raise your skin temperature and increase the amount of nicotine absorbed through the skin. Talk with your doctor about the effects of exercise on this medication.
Avoid exposing the skin under the patch to direct heat sources such as heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, heated water beds, or prolonged direct sunlight while wearing your patch. Heat sources may cause more drug to be released into your body, increasing the chance of side effects.
Nicotine and smoking may harm an unborn baby. If you are pregnant, try to stop smoking without using a nicotine replacement product if possible. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Nicotine from smoking and from this medication passes into breast milk and could have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Smoking near an infant can also harm the infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
Stopping smoking can change the way the liver removes certain drugs from the body (including acetaminophen, caffeine, insulin, oxazepam, pentazocine, propoxyphene, propranolol, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline/imipramine, "water pills"/diuretics such as furosemide). Tell all your doctors and pharmacists that you are quitting smoking.
This medication patch may be harmful if chewed or swallowed. If someone has overdosed, remove the patch if possible. For serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: confusion, drooling, seizure, slow/shallow breathing, hearing problems.
If your doctor has prescribed this medication for you, do not share it with others.
If you forget to change your patch on time, change it as soon as you remember. You can change your next patch 24 hours later or go back to your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store in original packaging at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep patches in the sealed protective pouch until ready to use. Apply patch immediately after removing from pouch. Do not use if the pouch is damaged, cut, or opened ahead of time. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed (See How to Use section).
Information last revised April 2022.
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