Arizona Smokers’ Helpline

About the Nicotine Patch

Nicotine patches contain nicotine and are a form of nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit smoking. Nicotine is the habit-forming drug in tobacco, and is a stimulant and mood lifter. When you give up smoking, you give up nicotine. During nicotine withdrawal, you may experience feelings such as being worried, angry, irritated, frustrated, restless or have concentration problems.

Using medications and a Quit Coach together can greatly enhance your chances of quitting, more than just using medication alone.

How It Works

When you wear a nicotine patch, nicotine is steadily absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream, keeping an even, low-amount of nicotine in your body. This amount of nicotine is less than what you would get from smoking, but it may be enough to keep you from wanting cigarettes or having other withdrawal symptoms.


You should only use patches as part of a quit smoking program that also offers ways to change your smoking behavior through support. If you have not stopped smoking after four weeks of using nicotine patches, it’s likely the patch treatment isn’t effective for you.

Before using a nicotine patch, make sure your doctor knows if you have or have had any of the following: chest pain from a heart condition (angina), diabetes requiring insulin injections, heart attack, high blood pressure (severe), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), kidney disease, liver disease, overactive thyroid, skin disease, ulcers or any other serious illness.

The effects of nicotine patches can change if you are using other medications. Check with your doctor before using a patch with: Tylenol®, No Doz®, Dristan®, blood pressure medication, insulin, lithium and many other drugs.

Used patches can poison a child or pet. Throw away your used patch by placing it in its original wrapper or aluminum foil and throwing it away—out of the reach of children and animals.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects include itching and burning, and a rash or redness of the skin in the spot where the patch was placed.

Less common side effects include abnormal dreaming, allergic reactions, back or chest pain, constipation, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, high blood pressure, impaired concentration, indigestion, inflammation of sinuses, menstrual irregularities, nausea, nervousness, numbness, pain, a pins-and-needles sensation, sleeplessness, sore throat, stomach pain, sweating, taste changes, tingling, vomiting and weakness.

It’s important to see a doctor if you have any strong symptoms.


Do not use any form of tobacco while wearing a patch. You could overdose. Remember that nicotine stays in your body many hours after taking off the patch. Do not use a patch if you have had an allergic reaction to other patches or adhesive tape.

Call 1-800-55-66-222 to get started.

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