If you are looking for nonprescription ways to stop smoking, you may wonder if the nicotine patch (Nicoderm® CQ®) is available over-the-counter (OTC). Nicotine patches are available without a prescription and are commonly used to help people quit smoking.
These patches are applied to the skin every 24 hours. Your dosage will depend on how many cigarettes you smoke each day. This medicine works by continually releasing a small amount of nicotine, which helps reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The dosage amount of the patches is slowly decreased, which gradually weans you off nicotine.
Although most people tolerate this medication well, side effects are possible and may include skin irritation, headaches, and sleep problems. Also, you may not be able to use the nicotine patch if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney problems, or high blood pressure.
(Click Nicotine Patch for more information on this OTC medication. This Web resource offers a complete look at this nicotine replacement therapy, including how it works, dosing guidelines, and general safety warnings to be aware of before using these patches.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Nicotine. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2011. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed March 1, 2011.
Nicoderm CQ Web site. Available at: http://www.nicodermcq.com/. Accessed March 1, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 27, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed March 1, 2011.
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