Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
A nicotine patch looks like an oversized adhesive bandage.
The outer part of the patch sticks to your skin, while the inner portion
presses against and slowly releases nicotine into your skin. See a picture of
how to use these patches to help you quit smoking or stop using smokeless tobacco.
patches are usually sold in kits that contain enough patches to get most people
through the quitting process. Many brands come with different-sized patches
containing different strengths of nicotine. For the first few weeks, use a
large patch. Then use medium-sized patches for the next few weeks, and use the
smallest patches—which contain the least nicotine—during the last few weeks.
With other brands, you use the same size of patch every week then simply stop
using the patch.
Nicotine patches are available in forms that supply a
constant dose of nicotine for either 16 or 24 hours.
patch may cause sleep disturbance, such as difficulty sleeping or unusually
vivid dreams. Removing the patch a few hours before you go to sleep may stop sleep
Choosing the right patch strength is important to your
success in quitting smoking. If you weigh more than
100 lb (45.36 kg), start with
the highest dose patch. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more help
choosing the right patch strength.
Use of nicotine patches usually lasts 8 to 10 weeks,
but this can vary with the individual and the brand of patch. If you feel you need to use the patch for a longer period of time, talk to your doctor.
Your chances of quitting may be increased if you use
nicotine gum, inhalers, or lozenges or bupropion along with the patch. You can talk with your doctor about combining the patch with another nicotine replacement therapy or a quit-smoking medicine.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJohn Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Current as ofAugust 21, 2015
Current as of:
August 21, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.