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Nicotine Patch Dosage

If you are trying to quit smoking with the nicotine patch, your dosage will depend on how many cigarettes you smoke each day. Treatment with this patch usually lasts no longer than 8 to 10 weeks. Do not leave the patch on the skin for more than 24 hours, as it may irritate the skin.

An Introduction to Your Dosage of the Nicotine Patch

Your initial dose of the nicotine patch (Nicoderm® CQ®) will depend on how many cigarettes you generally smoke each day. The dose is then slowly reduced to gradually wean your body off nicotine.
Following the recommended dosing guidelines for the nicotine patch will improve your chances of successfully quitting smoking.

Nicotine Patch Dosing Guidelines for Smoking Cessation

The recommended initial nicotine patch dosage for people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day is one 21-mg patch per day for six weeks (weeks 1 through 6). After six weeks, you should step down to one 14-mg patch per day for two weeks (weeks 7 and 8). Finally, you will use one 7-mg patch per day for your final two weeks of treatment (weeks 9 and 10).
People who usually smoke 10 or fewer cigarettes a day will start on one 14-mg patch per day for six weeks, and then step down to one 7-mg patch per day for two more weeks. In this case, only eight weeks of treatment are needed.
In general, it is recommended that the nicotine patch be used for no longer than 8 to 10 weeks. However, some people may need to continue to use the patch for a longer period of time. If you feel that you still crave cigarettes after you complete treatment, talk to your healthcare provider.

General Information on Using the Nicotine Patch

Some 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.
  • You can 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 can 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 nicotine 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.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be used as directed.
  • If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage of the nicotine patch, please talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
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