Maybe you’ve been contemplating finally putting down that cigarette for a while. Perhaps you’ve tried before and found it difficult to quit the habit. Health professionals label this a nicotine dependence: your brain becomes hardwired to the pleasing effects that nicotine produces.1 Though you may experience that chemical “high” while smoking, its effects are only temporary — which provokes you to keep turning back smoking.1 In fact, many people experience such unpleasant mental and physical changes of nicotine withdrawal that quitting smoking can seem implausible.1
The good news is that even with these symptoms of withdrawal, there is an option of trying to quit with FDA-approved nicotine replacement products. These are a family of quit smoking medications commonly known as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that give you a controlled dosage of nicotine to help reduce withdrawal symptoms.2 Explore what nicotine replacement therapy is, various types of nicotine replacement therapy available, and how NRT can help you on your journey to quitting smoking.
What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is a way in which you can wean yourself off the physical dependence of nicotine by using a patch, gum, or lozenges.3 These medical therapies contain measured doses of nicotine without the other harmful chemicals in tobacco, and have proven to double the chances of quitting smoking.3
According to the American Cancer Association, nicotine replacement therapy is safe for adults who have the desire to quit smoking. Teenagers and women who are pregnant should consult a doctor before using.3
Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Not only can NRT help you on your journey to quitting smoking, but there are a variety of nicotine replacement therapies available to try.
There are many different nicotine patches available on the market for you to choose from, including the NicoDerm®CQ®Patch. These patches provide you with a measured dose of nicotine through the skin, and are available in different strengths.3 You can set and forget a patch for all-day relief. For example, the usage of Nicoderm®CQ® Patch is broken down into various steps. If you smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, there's a suggested 10-week plan, starting you at a higher dosage of nicotine in the first six weeks, and then slowly decreasing the dosage within the last four weeks.
When using a nicotine patch, you may experience possible side effects that can range from skin irritation, rapid heartbeat, nausea, sleep disturbances, vomiting or dizziness.3 These can vary among users, but if you find yourself experiencing symptoms, it's best to contact your healthcare provider.
Another form of nicotine replacement therapy is nicotine gum, which is absorbed through the mucous membrane of the mouth.11 Chew Nicorette® Gum to keep your mouth busy when cravings strike, which has been formulated to provide fast craving relief and curb withdrawal symptoms in order to help you quit smoking.12 For best results, follow all of the instructions with Nicorette® Gum, including not eating or drinking for 15 minutes before or while chewing Nicorette®, staying with the full 12-week quit program to increase your chances of success, and others.13
There are potential side effects to using nicotine gum, including allergic reactions, nausea, jaw discomfort, and more.14 Nicotine gum is a medicine and must be used as directed to get the best results. Check in with your health care provider if you start experiencing any of these symptoms.15
A nicotine lozenge works similarly to nicotine gum, minus the chewing part. The Nicorette® Lozenge dissolves in your mouth, releasing therapeutic nicotine to help beat nicotine cravings wherever and whenever they strike.16
The recommended treatment plan for Nicorette® Lozenges is 12 weeks, using at least nine lozenges a day for the first six weeks and then slowly working your way to smaller amounts.17 Once you start using any nicotine lozenge, it's important to be aware of possible side effects that range from nausea to indigestion to trouble sleeping, depending on the product.18
Before starting any nicotine replacement therapy, talk with your doctor. Pre-existing medical conditions could be impacted by NRT therapy. The journey to quitting smoking may seem daunting, but a better understanding of nicotine replacement therapy may provide you with the hope that quitting smoking is possible. Find more articles about quitting smoking and more at the Nicorette® Support Hub.