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A nicotine patch is a transdermal patch that releases nicotine into the body through the skin. It is usually used as a method to quit smoking. The first patch appeared in 1993.



There have been some doubts expressed as to the efficacy of nicotine patches. In some studies, the success rates of experimental groups using nicotine patches was comparable to using nothing at all and significantly lower than many other treatments. The American Cancer Society recommend using nicotine patches or other nicotine replacement therapies to help reduce the severity of physical withdrawal symptoms.

Side effects

Common side effects of using nicotine patches are similar to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These include dizziness, headache, irritability, sleep disturbances, and depression. Skin irritation at the site of the patch is also common, including allergic reactions to materials or adhesives on the patch.


In the U.S.marker, the nicotine patch costs roughly $20 to $30 per week, although some municipalities, schools, or health plan offer subsidized or free nicotine patches. Depending on local tax rates, the financial cost of the patch compares favorably to the cost of cigarettes.

Some pharmacies have begun marketing nicotine patches under private labels; they are approximately 25% to 30% cheaper than the "name brand" patches next to which they are shelved.

In the U.K.marker nicotine patches cost approximately £15 for a week's supply. For heavy smokers, this compares favorably with cigarettes at £5 for 20 (prices Jan 2007), however light smokers may find that nicotine patches are more expensive than their cigarette addiction. Patches are, however, available on NHS prescription from a GP.

In some countries the nicotine patches are more costly per week than smoking. For example, in Colombiamarker a packet of cigarettes can cost between 3000-4000COP (approximately 86p - £1.20 respectively, at time of writing). So at most, a pack a day smoker, would pay 28000COP (approx. £8) whereas the patches available (e.g. NiQuitin) can cost between 35000COP - 40000COP per week's supply.

Countries such as the Philippines, drug stores have stopped ordering in the patches due to the large price difference. For example: One pack is ranges from 35 - 80 pesos (70¢ - $1.60 respectively) depending on the brand, whereas a week's supply of patches are 850 pesos ($17.75). Due to low daily wages and education, there is little demand for nicotine patches.

Alternate uses

Nicotine patches are under study to help relieve the symptoms of post-surgical pain.

See also


  3. Nicotine Patch Decreases Post Surgical Pain

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