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Nicotine Patch Dosage: Is Your Nicotine Replacement Therapy Working?

Whether you’ve just started contemplating putting down cigarettes or you’ve already been using nicotine replacement therapy for a few weeks, you may have questions about your quit smoking journey. Nicotine replacement therapy like nicotine patches and nicotine gum help reduce withdrawal symptoms and can make quitting cigarettes easier. However, once you start using nicotine replacement therapy products, you might not know if they’ve started working. Following proper instructions and dosage raises your likelihood of being able to quit for good.

Is Your NicoDerm CQ Patch Working?

The best way to get the most out of your NicoDerm CQ patch is to use it properly. Following the directions can help make sure you’re using your NicoDerm CQ Patch the way it was intended – as an effective way to double your chances of success.**

** Doubles your chances of quitting vs. placebo.

How to Know if Your Nicotine Patch is Working.

Within the first week of using the patch you'll notice that your nicotine withdrawal symptoms will start to diminish. NicoDerm CQ Patch delivers a steady flow of nicotine using extended-release technology. As you stick with your quit plan, generally speaking, you should find that your cravings will lessen over time. Cravings should subside by the end of the treatment, typically after 8 to 10 weeks.
Follow the instructions and proper dosage when using nicotine patches. Apply one new patch every 24 hours on dry, clean and hairless skin.1 To apply, remove the backing from the patch and immediately press it onto your skin. Hold for 10 seconds.
You may wear the patch for 16 or 24 hours, depending on your cravings. If you crave cigarettes when you wake up, wear the patch for 24 hours. Do not wear more than one patch at a time and do not leave a patch on for more than 24 hours.

Nicotine Patch Dosage Instructions

For best results, use the right dose of nicotine patch.1 NicoDerm CQ Patch comes in three steps to help control cravings during your no-smoke journey. The right dose depends on how much you currently smoke and how strong and frequent your cravings are. If you smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day, use NicoDerm CQ Patches according to the following 10-week schedule.

  • Weeks 1 to 6: use one Step 1 (21 mg) patch per day
  • Weeks 7 to 8: use one Step 2 (14mg) patch per day
  • Weeks 9 to 10: use one Step 3 (7 mg) patch per day

If you smoke 10 or less cigarettes per day, skip NicoDerm CQ Patch Step 1 (21 mg) and start with Step 2 (14 mg) for 6 weeks and Step 3 (7mg) for 2 weeks before stopping the program.

How to Know If Your Nicotine Gum is Working

Like nicotine patches, nicotine gum works best when taken according to instructions. Chew the gum slowly until it develops a peppery taste or tingling sensation and then keep the gum in your cheek. Once the sensation disappears, repeat the process for about 30 minutes or until the sensation is gone. This method allows the nicotine to be absorbed. Wait 15 minutes or more after drinking any beverages besides water, like coffee, tea, carbonated beverages and acidic beverages before chewing nicotine gum.2 After 12 weeks, you should be able to stop using nicotine gum. Consult your healthcare provider before using nicotine gum for longer than 12 weeks.

Nicotine Gum Dosage Instructions

Your nicotine gum dosage depends on how frequently you smoke. If you’re beginning your quit smoking journey, start by chewing 1 to 2 pieces of nicotine gum each hour. Do not chew more than 24 pieces per day. If you smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning, use Nicorette 4 mg nicotine gum. Otherwise, use Nicorette 2 mg nicotine gum according to a 12-week schedule.

  • Weeks 1 to 6: 1 piece every 1 to 2 hours.
  • Weeks 7 to 9: 1 piece every 2 to 4 hours.
  • Weeks 10 to 12: 1 piece every 4 to 8 hours.

For the first six weeks of using nicotine gum, chew at least 9 pieces per day to improve your chances of quitting. For strong cravings, you can use a second piece within the hour but avoid continuously chewing one piece after another. Chewing nicotine gum continuously may cause hiccups, heartburn, nausea or other side effects. Quitting smoking may seem challenging but using nicotine replacement therapy correctly can help support your journey. To find out more about quitting cigarettes, visit the Nicorette Support Hub.

  1. How to Use Nicotine Patches. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quit-smoking-medications/how-to-use-quit-smoking-medicines/how-to-use-a-nicotine-patchAccessed 5/18/2022.
  2. Nicotine replacement therapy. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007438.htm. Accessed 5/18/2022.

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