Cessation of smoking sometimes requires more than self-determination. The main over-the-counter (OTC) medication available for smoking cessation contains nicotine. These medications must be used under a doctor’s supervision in case of individuals with heart disorders and pregnant women. These medications must be kept away from children.1,2
Smoking becomes a habit owing to nicotine dependence that develops in chronic smokers. Nicotine, a major constituent of tobacco acts in the mid-brain resulting in creation of dependence and causes unpleasant mood and symptoms when one abstains from smoking. This phenomenon is used in the formation of OTC medicines, which contain nicotine in variable quantities and helps in reducing the urge of smoking over a period of time. The different forms in which nicotine is available as OTC medication are:
These patches are available in various designs and different amount of dosages (7, 14, 15 and 21 mg). These patches are required to be worn continuously for 16–24 h based on its dosage. The duration of this therapy ranges between 6 and 8 weeks.
The dosage patterns vary with the number of cigarette smoked every day.
In individuals who smoke >10 cigarettes/day:
In individuals who smoke ≤10 cigarettes/day:
These are more common with 24-h patches and can be reduced by applying the patches to a different area each day or using a 16-h patch.
Individuals who do not stop smoking even while using the patches may feel various symptoms such as nausea, pain in the abdomen, diarrhoea, vomiting, profuse perspiring, hearing and vision disturbances, confusion, rapid heart beat and hypotension.
The nicotine gums are available in the strengths of the 2 or 4 mg.
In individuals who smoke <15 cigarettes/day:
In individuals who smoke ≥15 cigarettes/day:
The nicotine lozenges are similar to nicotine gums and are indicated in individuals who cannot tolerate the use of gums and also in cases of individuals with jaw problems. Other side-effects and contraindications are similar to that of nicotine gums. The lozenges are available in the strengths of the 2 or 4 mg.
Individuals who smoke very frequently should use 4-mg dose while others can use the 2-mg dose.
Prompt medical attention should be sought in the following cases:
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: May 12, 2015
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