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Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Can it help someones addiction?

nicotine replacement therapy

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Table of Contents

Nicotine Replacement Therapy Overview

Nicotine replacement therapy is a treatment designed to help people quit smoking. Different products are involved in the process of quitting which provide nicotine in small amounts. The prime objective of a nicotine replacement therapy is to ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and decreases nicotine cravings. A great benefit of nicotine replacement products is that unlike cigarettes, they do not contain tar, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and other toxic chemicals that harm one’s body.

Common Facts About Nicotine Replacement Therapy

  • A number of cigarettes a person used to smoke will determine the dose one will first need.
  • Entering a counseling program can be of great help.
  • They are highly advised against smoking cigarettes while going through the nicotine replacement therapy because nicotine can build up to toxic levels.
  • When on nicotine replacement, the urge to munch on food will decrease, which in turn will prevent weight gain.
  • Try to reduce a daily nicotine dose slowly.
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Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine products come in various forms. Gum and patches are the two most common supplements that give excellent results when used correctly. Other products include:

  • Inhalers
  • Lozenges
  • Nasal spray

Nicotine Patches

Nicotine patches are worn on the skin so that the body can absorb nicotine from them. Patches are a continuous process that can last up to 24 hours. The nicotine patch is available in three sizes; the biggest one being 15 or 25mg, which is a 16-hour patch and should be used only during the day. A 21mg is a 24-hour patch, and can be utilized during the day and overnight. Furthermore, the third type of patch is the pre-quit patch, which is designed to help one prepare for the quitting process two weeks before starting the nicotine replacement therapy.

Nicotine Gums, Lozenges, Mouth Sprays and Inhalators

Nicotine Gums
Nicotine gums, lozenges, mouth sprays and inhalators have one thing in common; all of these supplements provide nicotine through the lining of the mouth. More specifically, one has to chew the gum for the nicotine to be released and absorbed, while the lozenge should be sucked on, and the spray sprayed onto the inner linings of the mouth.

Nicotine Side-Effects

Sadly, even though the nicotine replacement therapy is an effective method which greatly aids the quitting process, it does come with a host of side effects that may include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia

Before Starting a Nicotine Replacement Therapy

  • Consult a doctor if suffering from a heart condition or other serious health problems.
  • Let a doctor know if a person is planning on becoming pregnant, or if a woman is pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Always make sure to keep nicotine supplements out of children’s reach.
  1. Nicotine replacement therapy. United States National Library of Medicine.
  2. Siu AL; US Preventive Services Task Force. Behavioral and pharmacotherapy interventions for tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant women: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(8):622-634. PMID: 26389730
  3. Andrew Molyneux. Nicotine replacement therapy. BMJ. 2004. 454–456.
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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