Tips for Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Nov 29, 2012

Many people I talk with say that they have tried the nicotine patch or the gum, and they say it “didn’t work”.  However, when I ask them more about this, I find that they may not have been using the nicotine replacement medications optimally.  Below are some tips for using these medications to help make them more effective for those trying to stop smoking.

Use the appropriate dose of the patch and use it for long enough.  We frequently find that people who use the patch are under-dosed, especially people who smoke more than a pack per day.  Every smoker is different.  Talk with your health care provider if you think you may need a higher dose of nicotine patch therapy.  Also, don’t feel that you need to be in a hurry to step down on the patch dose or stop taking the patch.

You can use other nicotine replacement medications in combination with the nicotine patch.  The nicotine patch provides a steady amount of nicotine and can help alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal.  You can then use nicotine gum or nicotine lozenge for “trigger” situations (i.e., those times when you may have cravings or urges such as after meals, driving, etc.)

When using the gum, you want to bite into it a few times until you get a tingly sensation, and then “park” it between your cheek and gum for 20-30 minutes.  Alternatively, you can chew it until you get that tingly sensation, then park it for just a few minutes, and chew it again until you get that tingly sensation again, and repeat.  Either way, after 30 minutes of “parking” it will be used up, and then you can either chew it like regular gum or dispose of it.

You can watch the videos in the re-learn addiction section of the becomeanex.org home page to learn more about nicotine replacement and other medications that can help you stop smoking for good.