Medicines to Help You Quit Smoking
Quitting tobacco isn’t easy. But
millions of people have done it. And you can too. Once you decide to quit, it's important
to have a plan.
The first step is to set a quit date.
You will also need to figure out who can help you. And figure out what to do when you want
to use tobacco. Your plan might also include medicines that can help you quit.
Several different medicines are
available to help with withdrawal symptoms. Some require a prescription from your
healthcare provider. Others don't need a prescription. Before starting any of these
medicines, talk with your healthcare provider about them and which ones are best for you.
Tell your provider all the prescribed and over-the-counter medicines you are taking. Tell
your provider if you want to get pregnant.
Nicotine patch. Nicotine is
delivered through the skin to fight cravings. Several types and strengths are
available. The strength you use depends on how often and how much tobacco you use
most days. Follow the specific instructions on the label. They will tell you how
to apply the patch. And how to get rid of it. You will need to replace the patch
with a new one every day. Place the new patch on a different area to prevent
irritation. Slowly reduce the strength of the patch. Patches can be used for 6 to
20 weeks depending on the specific instructions supplied with the patches.
Nicotine gum. Gum delivers
nicotine quickly. It comes in 2 strengths: 2 mg and 4 mg. The strength you use
also depends on how much tobacco you use most days. For the first 6 weeks you can
chew 9 or more pieces a day. But don't chew more than 24 pieces a day. Slowly
reduce the number of pieces you chew each day. If you need to use nicotine gum for
more than 12 weeks, talk with your healthcare provider. You can't eat or drink
within 15 minutes of using the gum. Try using the gum when you crave nicotine the
most. Don't smoke cigarettes or use other nicotine products while using nicotine
gum. This will help prevent a nicotine overdose.
Nicotine lozenge. Lozenges
are like hard candy. They are available in 2 strengths: 2 mg and 4 mg. The
strength you use depends on when you first normally use tobacco each day. Let them
slowly melt in your mouth by moving them around with your tongue. Don't crush or
chew them. You can’t eat or drink within 15 minutes of using the lozenges. Don't
smoke while using nicotine lozenges. If you need to use them for more than 12
weeks, talk with your healthcare provider.
Nicotine nasal spray.
Nicotine is delivered quickly. The spray works well, but it can cause sneezing and
Nicotine inhaler. Using an
inhaler is like smoking cigarettes. When you puff on the inhaler, it releases
nicotine. But the medicine doesn't go into your lungs. It's delivered to your
mouth and is absorbed quickly.
Bupropion. This pill (oral medicine) helps reduce your
cravings for nicotine. Some people combine it with nicotine replacement therapy.
Some people start taking it shortly before quitting.
Varenicline tartrate. This is
another pill. It reduces the uncomfortable feelings when you try to quit. It also
reduces the pleasure you get from smoking. It may cause mood changes. People may
start taking it shortly before quitting.
Make sure you have answers to your
questions. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist:
Is the medicine safe for me?
Can I take it with my other
prescribed and over the-counter medicines?
When should I start taking it? ________________________________________________________________
How long should I use it? ___________________________________________________________________
What are the side effects? ___________________________________________________________________
How much does it cost? ____________________________________________________________________
When should I come back for an office visit? _____________________________________________________
Other questions? __________________________________________________________________________