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Nicotine Patch Side Effects

Common Side Effects

The prescribing information for prescription medications contains the exact percentage of side effects that occurred in clinical trials. However, information for over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as the nicotine patch, is less inclusive. Therefore, it can be difficult to know exactly what side effects to expect, and how common the reactions may be.
Some information is available from clinical trials of the nicotine patch. However, it is difficult to tell whether the side effects reported in these studies were due to the medication itself, nicotine withdrawal in people who stopped smoking, or too much nicotine in those who continued to smoke while using the patch.
In clinical studies, some of the possible nicotine patch side effects included:
  • Skin irritation at the patch site, such as:
    • Redness
    • Itching
    • Burning
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia, nightmares, and vivid dreams
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sweating or hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Nervousness.

Final Thoughts

You may experience some or none of the nicotine patch side effects listed in this article. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have problems with a medicine that you have never tried.
Therefore, make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you develop any side effects while using the patch or if something "just does not seem right." While it may not be related to the medication, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
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