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Nicotine (transdermal)

Generic Name: nicotine (transdermal) (NIK oh teen)
Brand Name: Habitrol, Nicoderm C-Q, Nicotine System Kit

Medically reviewed on Jul 2, 2018

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is the primary ingredient in tobacco products.

Nicotine transdermal (skin patch) is a medical product used to aid in smoking cessation in adults. Using a controlled amount of nicotine helps reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking.

Nicotine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Do not use nicotine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding unless your doctor has told you to.

Do not smoke or use other nicotine products (including snuff, chewing tobacco, or nicotine gum, lozenges, inhaler, or nasal spray) while you are using nicotine transdermal.

Keep both used and unused nicotine patches out of the reach of children or pets. The amount of nicotine in a used or unused skin patch can be fatal to a child who accidentally sucks or chews on the patch.

The nicotine transdermal patch may burn your skin if you wear the patch during an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Remove the patch before undergoing such a test.

Before taking this medicine

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have:

Do not use nicotine transdermal if you are pregnant unless your doctor has told you to. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Nicotine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medicine if you are breast-feeding unless your doctor has told you to.

Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Using a nicotine replacement product during pregnancy or while breast-feeding may be safer than smoking. However, you should try to stop smoking without using a nicotine replacement product if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Talk with your doctor about the best way for you to stop smoking.

The nicotine transdermal patch may burn your skin if you wear the patch during an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Remove the patch before undergoing such a test.

How should I use nicotine transdermal?

Nicotine transdermal is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include counseling, group support, and behavior changes. Your success will depend on your participation in all aspects of your smoking cessation program.

Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Your patch strength and number of weeks of treatment will depend on how many cigarettes you smoked daily before quitting. Follow the guide in the patient instructions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Apply the patch to clean, dry, and hairless skin on your chest or the outer part of your upper arm. Press the patch firmly into place for about 10 seconds to make sure it sticks. You may leave the patch on while bathing, showering, or swimming.

If a patch falls off, try sticking it back into place. If it does not stick well, put on a new patch.

Remove the skin patch after 24 hours and replace it with a new one.

Choose a different place on your body to wear the patch each time you put on a new one. Do not use the same skin area twice within 7 days.

Do not wear more than one nicotine patch at a time. Never cut a skin patch.

After removing a skin patch fold it in half, sticky side in, and put it back into its pouch.

Wash your hands after applying or removing a nicotine skin patch.

You may wear a Habitrol patch for 24 hours.

You may wear a Nicoderm CQ patch for 16 or 24 hours (wear for 24 hours if you crave cigarettes when you wake up in the morning).

Do not wear a nicotine patch at night if you have vivid dreams or trouble sleeping.

Do not use nicotine patches for longer than 8 weeks without the advice of your doctor.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep each patch in its foil pouch until you are ready to use it. You may save the pouch to use for throwing away used patches.

Keep both used and unused nicotine patches out of the reach of children or pets.

The amount of nicotine in a used or unused skin patch can be fatal to a child who accidentally sucks or chews on the patch. Seek emergency medical attention if this happens.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply a skin patch as soon as you remember. Do not wear a patch for longer than 24 hours. Do not use extra patches to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include severe dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and fast heart rate.

What should I avoid while using nicotine transdermal?

Do not smoke or use other nicotine products (including snuff, chewing tobacco, or nicotine gum, lozenges, inhaler, or nasal spray). Even while you are not wearing a nicotine skin patch, you will still have nicotine in your blood stream. Using many forms of nicotine together can be dangerous.

Avoid using lotions, oils, or moisturizing soaps on the skin where you plan to wear a nicotine transdermal patch, or it may not stick well.

Nicotine transdermal side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using nicotine transdermal and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest;

  • extreme weakness or dizziness;

  • severe nausea and vomiting; or

  • redness, swelling, or skin rash where a nicotine patch was worn (especially if these symptoms do not clear up within 4 days after the patch was removed).

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness;

  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;

  • dry mouth, upset stomach;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • headache; or

  • mild skin irritation where the patch is worn.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect nicotine?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with nicotine transdermal, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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