Ask your doctor or pharmacist to teach you how to use the nicotine patch effectively and to give you tips on quitting smoking. Only one nicotine patch should be applied once a day to an area on the upper body or upper outer arm that is non-hairy, intact, non-irritated, clean, and dry.
After 24 hours, the old patch should be removed and discarded and a new patch applied. Be sure that new and discarded patches are kept out of the reach of children. It is very important to apply the patch to a new site on the body and avoid any unnecessary contact with the medicated part of the patch. If during handling you do come into contact with the medicated portion of the patch, quickly wash the affected area with water only. Do not use soap as it can increase the amount of nicotine absorbed into the body. Avoid contact with your eyes.
Your initial dose and duration of therapy can depend on a number of factors such as weight, number of cigarettes you smoke, and various medical conditions. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before beginning a nicotine patch therapy.
Therapy for most people begins with the 21 mg/day patch and continues for 6 weeks. It is important to reassess your initial dose of nicotine after the first 2 weeks of therapy. The next stage of therapy will gradually reduce the dose of nicotine. After successful completion of the first 6-week stage, the 14 mg/day patch should be started for 2 weeks, immediately followed by the 7 mg/day patch for another 2 weeks. Treatment will generally take 8 to 12 weeks. You should not use this medication for more than 3 months. You must stop smoking completely when taking this medication.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication on a regular schedule as prescribed by the doctor. If you miss a dose of this medication, take your next scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.