What are the potential side effects of using the patch?
Information from the American Lung Association lists potential side effects as
- Upset stomach
- Blurred vision
- Vivid Dreams
- Mild itching and burning of the skin
- Redness, itching and or burning sensation at the site of the application
- Difficulty sleeping
- abdominal pain
- pain in the muscles
The Hype on the Patch
Nicoderm, Habitrol, Nicotrol, and Prostep all manufacture forms of the patch, which works by continuously passing nicotine (in low doses) through the skin and into the bloodstream. Supposedly this helps the body fight cravings for nicotine that are present after quitting, which is the symptom (ranging from grouchiness to severe headaches) that usually causes would-be quitters to return to their old habits.
According to the Nicoderm CQ website the patch consists of a 10 week plan with 3 different levels of nicotine patches. The catch is that you must stop smoking before beginning the program, or else your blood will get too much nicotine in it.
The first 6 weeks use the 21mg patch, then for the next 2 weeks it decreases to 14mg, and the final 2 weeks have a 7mg patch. This simulates a gradual weaning from the nicotine, hopefully producing fewer side effects. The instructions are very precise, and the site indicates that you must follow the instructions carefully in order for it to work.
It is very clear that the program only works once the person has made a personal commitment to stop smoking as well – the patch cannot override the mind.
Placebo Blind Active Open Active At 6 weeks 5.9% 7.2% 10.8% At 24 weeks 2.8% 5.6% 8.2%