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Tobacco 101: A Guide to Working with Nicotine Addicted Patients

Course Number: 534

Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Nicotine therapy is a gradual quit approach that uses patches as well as other products to deliver different dosages of nicotine over a given period of time. These products are sold over-the-counter, but patients should seek the guidance of a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable of these products and knows the patients’ medical and mental health history to maximize their effectiveness.

Nicotine replacement therapies are represented by an array of products which each may prove to be effective based on the individual. “Rates of smoking cessation may increase from 10% in control groups to 17% in persons using any form of NRT, and using 2 types of NRT has been found to be more effective than using a single type. There is evidence that combining a nicotine patch (slow nicotine-releasing) with a rapid-delivery form of NRT (for example, chewing gums, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhalers) is more effective than using a single type.” 50,51

Nicotine Patch

This product delivers a varying dosage transdermally (7mg, 14mg, 21mg). based on the extent of a patient’s nicotine addiction. The patch can deliver nicotine for a 16- or 24-hour period and is intended to wean the patient off of nicotine over an 8- or 10-week period.51

Photo showing an example of nicotine patch on upper arm

Nicotine Patch

Nicotine Gum and Lozenges

Nicotine gum and lozenges deliver nicotine more quickly to the brain than the patch and allow the patient to have more control of their nicotine intake if they experience strong or frequent cravings. Ideally these products will be used for approximately 12 weeks. Nicotine gum and lozenges come in 2 and 4mg dosages.51

Photo showing an example of nicotine gum and lozenges

Nicotine Gum and Lozenges

Nicotine Inhalers

Nicotine inhalers deliver 4 mg of nicotine which is delivered from a porous plug containing 10mg of nicotine. Initial treatment usually can last from 6-12 weeks.51