Nicotine patch falls under the category of medication called nicotine replacement therapies. Nicotine patch is a transdermal patch used by smokers as an aid to quit smoking and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. While there are few Nicotine Patch Side Effects, it reduces the craving for tobacco when a smoker quits smoking. This aid helps in overcoming some of the psychological stress while undergoing withdrawal with symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, restlessness and increased appetite. It supplements the need for nicotine of a smoker.
The nicotine is delivered through the skin over a period of 24-hours when the nicotine patch is applied. The dose of nicotine in the patch is variable depending upon the intake of nicotine and the medical condition of the smoker. This medication is therefore taken after being prescribed by a doctor. The dose is gradually reduced until the patient no longer craves for nicotine and finally the medication is stopped. Being a medication, the patch is not free from side effects. Major nicotine patch side effects are listed below.
Nicotine Patch Side Effects
In case of overdose, the person shows symptoms such as extreme dizziness, weakness and rapid heartbeat. You may also suffer from chest pain, flushing or headache.
High Blood Pressure
Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict and the patient suffers from high blood pressure. The blood pressure may increase to alarming high levels and the person may require emergency services.
The effects of nicotine on appetite is noteworthy when a chain smoker quits smoking. Nicotine is an appetite suppressant and overdose of nicotine in the patch may lead to loss of appetite.
These include insomnia, nightmares and vivid dreams. It is generally tough to differentiate insomnia as a side effect or withdrawal symptom. The patient is advised to remove the patch before going to sleep to avoid undesired side effects.
Risk Of Relapse
The risk of relapse is highest in the first few months after quitting. So, a smoking cessation program is highly suggested.
Effects On Pregnancy
Nicotine caused blood vessels to contract and become narrower restricting the blood flow, oxygen and nutrient delivery to the fetus. The effect of nicotine patches are amplified by the changes during pregnancy which includes increased blood pressure, irregular heart rate and even cardiac arrest. Gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion , nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also prominent.
Unfortunately there is no way to foresee the side-effects, the use of nicotine patch may have the problems it leads to. So,it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as one or more of the above symptoms are observed in a person. Proper diagnosis of the problem can lead to the cure of the problems developed by the use of nicotine patches and hence the nicotine patch side effects can be reduced to a minimal.