Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Patches, Gums & Lozenges — Helping hand in Quitting Smoking
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is a treatment that effectively helps people to drop the addiction of smoking. It comprises of products that offer low doses of nicotine. These products exclude almost 7000 toxic chemicals found in a standard cigarette. The main object of using Nicotine Replacement Therapy is to cut down the cravings for nicotine and to soothe the symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal.
Results have shown that this therapy increases the chances of quitting smoking by 55%. More research is being done in this field to improve the overall efficacy of the treatment further.
Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy
1. Nicotine Gum
Nicotine Gum is a type of chewing gum that delivers small amounts of nicotine without the tar and other harmful chemicals found in the cigarettes. It is one of the best NRT’s that helps one to quit cigarettes by dealing with the physical side of nicotine addiction.
On chewing this gum, the nicotine content is released while it gives a peppery taste and tingling sensation at the same time. After getting the tingling sensation, the user then places the gum between their gums and teeth. This generates a steady stream of nicotine which then, is ingested orally. The only demerit of nicotine gum can be its taste, which may not suit some.
# Pros of Nicotine Gum
- Easy to use
- Comes in several flavours
- Sold over the counter, so you don’t really need a prescription
- Does not cause any smoking-related disease
# Cons of Nicotine Gum
- Not ideal to use during formal occasions
- The taste might not suit everyone
- Can be a tad bit expensive
2. Nicotine Skin Patches
Nicotine Patches are adhesive patches that are placed on the skin to administer nicotine in smaller amounts. They are primarily used to soothe the withdrawal symptoms that can happen while quitting cigarettes. Nicotine patches are placed in a clean, dry and hairless part of the skin, usually the upper arm. The sticky adhesive part of the patch makes contact with the skin while the rest of the piece is removed.
The remarkable thing about Nicotine Skin Patches is that one can even wear them during shower as water will not harm it.# Pros of Nicotine Skin Patches
- Delivers the nicotine more slowly and steadily throughout the day which curbs mood swings.
- Patches are available in various strength
- Easy to use and apply
- Absolutely water-proof
- Can be combined with other drugs
- Patches may irritate the skin
- Can sometimes induce flu-like symptoms
- May fail to tackle acute cravings
3. Nicotine Lozenges
Nicotine Lozenges are small, candy-like, sugar-free tablets that significantly helps to reduce the urge to smoke. It generally comes in flavours like cinnamon, fruit and mint. When these tablets are placed in the mouth for 20-30 minutes, it starts dissolving before finally releasing the nicotine. The nicotine then enters the bloodstream, which relieves the short term cravings to smoke.
Since Nicotine Lozenges are quite similar to candies, both in taste and shape, the potential to abuse it is significantly high.
# Pros of Nicotine Lozenges
- Available without a prescription
- Apt for those who prefer not to or cannot chew gum
- Very easy to conceal
# Cons of Nicotine Lozenges
- Highly vulnerable to misuse and overuse
- Prolonged use may cause anxiety and headache
- The flavour may not suit a few people
4. Nicotine Nasal Sprayers and Inhalers
Nicotine Nasal Spray is a medicine that curbs the urge to smoke by delivering nicotine in the nostrils of the user. Nicotine inhalers, on the other hand, resemble an electronic cigarette, where one can take short, shallow and frequent puffs through it. People often confuse between Vape pens and Nicotine Inhalers as they look quite similar. While Vape Pens are used for leisure, Nicotine Inhalers and Nasal Sprays require doctor’s prescription before use.
# Pros of Nicotine Nasal Sprayers and Inhalers
- The Nasal Sprayers are fastest-acting nicotine replacement therapy product
- Nasal Inhalers mimic the standard cigarettes
- They both ease the symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawals effectively
# Cons of Nicotine Nasal Sprayers and Inhalers
- Some may dislike the taste of the spray
- Nicotine Inhalers are one of the most expensive NRT’s
- Both these NRT’s can be highly addictive
While choosing an NRT, one needs to make sure that it really fits with his or her daily lifestyle. Also, the dosage of the nicotine medications needs to be strictly followed and should be used only as long as it is recommended. With the help of these NRT’s along with some self-discipline, one can be sure of eliminating the habit of smoking forever.
- Matt Robertson