The Patch

The Patch

The patch sticks to your skin like a bandage, to slowly release nicotine to your body. The steady release of nicotine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

There are three different strengths of patches. The one you use depends on how much you smoke. Your health care provider can help choose the right patch.

You typically use the patch for eight to 10 weeks. You can use the patch with other NRT products (such as gum), as well as some other quit medications.

How to use the patch:

  • Apply the patch to a clean, hair-free area, on your upper body or upper outer arm. You should apply each patch to a different site.
  • Remove the backing.
  • Press the patch onto your skin for 10 seconds.
  • Wear a patch for 24 hours.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, remove the patch at bedtime and put on a new patch in the morning.
  • Always wash hands before and after handling the patch.

Talk to a community health nurse or doctor before using the patch if you:

  • are pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • are being treated for any serious heart condition;
  • have had a heart attack or stroke within the last two weeks; or
  • use any prescribed medication regularly.

Smoking alters the effects of some medications. When you quit smoking it may be necessary for your doctor to adjust the doses. This is especially important if you:

  • have diabetes;
  • have high blood pressure;
  • have heart disease; or
  • take antidepressants, mood stabilizers or sleeping pills.

Stop using the patch immediately and see a community health nurse or doctor if you have:

  • chest pain;
  • irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations;
  • leg pain;
  • persistent stomach pain; or
  • rash or hives.

The patch does have some side effects, including:

  • headaches,
  • dizziness,
  • problems sleeping,
  • upset stomach,
  • mild itching, burning and tingling  skin during the first hour of wearing the patch (this is normal), and redness of the skin when the patch is removed.