Though effective as a stop-smoking aid, the nicotine patch may cause some side effects. This Buzzle article provides a brief overview about the adverse effects of nicotine patches.
There are various products that help smokers to get rid of nicotine addiction. They include nicotine gums, sprays, patches, inhalers, and lozenges. These products are specially used for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). A nicotine patch is one such product that is used as a stop-smoking aid. While some of the users find it effective, for others, it may not be of much help. It may also happen that, some of the users develop certain side effects after using the nicotine patch.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance that is found in tobacco. Whenever a smoker stops cigarettes, he/she may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. So nicotine replacement therapy aims at providing small amounts of nicotine to the body, thereby curbing the physical urge to smoke. This takes care of the withdrawal symptoms too, as the effect of nicotine in the body is tapered off. The dosage of nicotine in the patch, is reduced gradually, to reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms to the lowest possible limit.
Nicotine patches are otherwise known as nicotine transdermal system patches. Different brands of nicotine patches are now available in the market. These adhesive skin pads contain a specific amount of nicotine. Normally, these patches come in different strengths. While some of them are meant for 24-hour use, some others have to be worn for 16 hours. This adhesive patch has to be applied on the skin, through which small amounts of nicotine will be absorbed into the blood stream.
As there is a continuous presence of nicotine in the body, the user will not crave for tobacco products. Another advantage of the nicotine patch is that the user is not exposed to the smoke and other harmful products in the cigarette.
Nicotine patches are available in different doses. These products must be used according to the instructions of a health care provider, who is the best person to decide the dosage and duration of use, on the basis of individual requirements.
Even though nicotine patches are touted as one of the safest methods for quitting smoking, they are not totally free of side effects. So it is always better to have a basic idea about nicotine addiction, NRT products, and the possible side effects of such products, beforehand.
Mild and Severe Side Effects
It is said that, some mild side effects are common in those, who use nicotine patches. They include headache, dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, stomach upset, and skin irritation at the site of the patch. In most people, such side effects disappear once the body gets adjusted to the product. If these symptoms persist or worsen, you must seek medical attention.
Severe nicotine patch side effects are very rare, and they include irregular heartbeat, chest pain, tremors, nervousness, and breathing trouble. In some cases, diarrhea, cold sweats, vision problems, extreme fatigue, seizures, and confusion, may also develop. Immediate medical attention is necessary in such cases. Use of nicotine patch for a timespan of 24 hours and more, is associated with side effects, like insomnia and abnormal dreams.
Materials like adhesives, in the nicotine patch, may cause allergic reactions, like itching, burning, stinging, redness, and swelling. Such reactions are mainly concentrated at the location, where the patch is attached. In some cases, severe allergic reactions, like watery eyes and breathing trouble, may also develop. In both cases, you have to discontinue the use of the product, and seek medical attention. Severe allergic reactions must be treated as emergency situations.
While incidences of nicotine patch side effects are claimed to be very low, they are not uncommon. It has also been claimed that, in most cases, side effects are found to be associated with smoking, while using the patch. In some others, side effects were linked to some medical conditions, like heart diseases and skin problems. So, it is very important to discuss your health problems with the doctor, to prevent such side effects. Above all, use nicotine patches, as per the instructions of the doctor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding proper use of this product.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.