When assessing your need for nicotine replacement in your quit plan, it is important to assess the risks and side effects of treatment options. The side effects of the nicotine patch are greater than some other forms of nicotine replacement; however they may be better for some individuals. Here are some side effects that are generally specific to the nicotine patch that some users experience:
- Vivid Dreams
Many people who use the nicotine patch experience vivid and memorable dreams while using the product. This is possibly caused by the constant stream of nicotine, a stimulant, into the bloodstream during nighttime hours. These symptoms can be minimized by lowering the dose or putting the patch on in the morning and taking it off at night. Keep in mind that the nicotine patch delivers a smaller amount of residual nicotine after it has been removed. Because of this it may be best to remove it an hour or two before going to sleep.
- Skin Irritation
Some people experience a rash, redness or pain at the application site. This may be caused by an allergic reaction to the adhesive, or by the chemicals in the patch.
The Nicotine patch may cause sleeplessness in some individuals. This again is generally caused by the constant stream of nicotine into the system. Users can minimize this by taking it off prior to going to bed, or for an hour or two before going to bed.
- Heart Palpitations
Some users experience heart arrhythmia, or palpitations, while using the patch, but not with other forms of nicotine replacement.
These are some of the short term side effects of the nicotine patch, but other forms of nicotine replacement can have their own set of side effects, and because nicotine is a poison, nicotine replacement products can have various side effects with longer term usage as well. They may include nervousness, severe allergic reaction, digestive issues, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, hair loss and blood pressure problems as well as other symptoms. Talk to your doctor about any new symptoms you may be experiencing right away, as some could be a sign of a serious condition. If you have certain medical conditions, you should not use the nicotine patch. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any nicotine replacement therapy.
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