Mental Health Home > Nicotine Patch

Drug Interactions

Although the nicotine patch is not likely to react with most medicines, just the act of stopping smoking may affect a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Nicotine Patch).

What If I Overdose on This Medication?

An overdose with this medication may cause a variety of symptoms, some of which may be dangerous. Seek immediate medical attention if you may have overdosed on this medication.
(Click Nicoderm CQ Overdose for more information.)

What Should I Do If I Forget a Dose?

If you forget to change your patch, change it as soon as you remember and then change it after 24 hours. Do not use two patches at one time.

How Does the Nicotine Patch Work?

This medicine is a nicotine replacement patch. It contains a small amount of nicotine that is absorbed through the skin into your bloodstream. When nicotine patches are used daily, the level of nicotine in your blood remains relatively constant. This helps reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as nicotine craving, associated with quitting smoking.

When and How to Use This Medication

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with the nicotine patch include the following:
  • This medication comes in the form of a patch. One new patch is applied directly to the skin every 24 hours.
  • Apply the patch to any clean, dry, hairless area of your skin. Do not place the patch on red or irritated skin. Also, do not use soaps, lotions, oils, or creams on the area before applying the patch. Choose a new skin area for your next patch; avoid the same area for at least one week.
  • To apply the patch, remove it from its pouch, remove the patch backing, and immediately press the patch onto your skin. Hold it in place for 10 seconds.
  • Wash your hands immediately after applying and removing the patch. Nicotine from your hands could irritate your eyes or nose, causing stinging or redness.
  • You may wear each patch for 16 to 24 hours. If you experience sleep problems or vivid dreams, remove the patch before bedtime. If you crave cigarettes when you wake up, you may want to wear the patch for 24 hours.
  • Do not cut the nicotine patches or use cut or damaged patches. Doing so may affect the amount of the medication released from the patch, causing you to get too much or too little nicotine.
  • Do not keep a nicotine patch on for more than 24 hours. After 24 hours of use, the patch loses its strength and can irritate the skin. Also, do not wear more than one patch at a time, as it may increase your risk for an overdose.
  • Apply a new patch at about the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medicine in your blood.
  • Dispose of a used patch by folding the sticky sides together and putting it back into its original pouch. Discard it in a safe place out of the reach of children and pets.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be used as directed.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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