nicotine patch

What is the nicotine patch, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Nicotine patches are used for smoking cessation. Nicotine is released from the patches and absorbed through the skin. Released nicotine binds to nicotine receptors in the body, reducing nicotine craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation. The FDA approved the grit nicotine patch in November 1991.

What brand names are available for for nicotine patches?

Nicoderm CQ

Is the nicotine patch available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for a nicotine patch?


What are the uses for the nicotine patch?

Nicotine patches are used to control nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with smoking cessation.

What are the side effects of the nicotine patch?

Nicotine patches can cause the following side effects:

What is the dosage for the nicotine patch?

Smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day:

  • Step 1: Use one 21 mg patch per day for weeks 1 to 6 then,
  • Step 2: Use one 14 mg patch per day for weeks 7 to 8 then,
  • Step 3: Use one 7 mg patch per day for weeks 9 to 10 then stop.

Smoking 10 or less cigarettes per day:

  • Do not use Step 1 (21 mg)
  • Start with Step 2: Use one 14 mg patch per day for weeks 1 to 6 then,
  • Step 3: Use one 7 mg patch per day for weeks 7 to 8 then stop.

Apply one new patch every 24 hours to dry, clean, hairless skin. Patients may wear the patch for 16 to 24 hours. Do not wear one patch for more than 24 hours due to chances of skin irritation and loss of effectiveness of patch.

Which drugs or supplements interact with nicotine patches?

Nicotine patches may cause palpitations and abnormal heart rate. Patches should be used with caution in patients who take medications for abnormal heart rhythm.

What else should I know about nicotine patches?

What preparations of nicotine-patch are available?

Nicotine patches are available in doses of: 21 mg (Step 1), 14 mg (Step 2), and 7 mg (Step 3) per patch. Each patch delivers nicotine over 24 hours.

How should I keep nicotine-patch stored?

Nicotine patches should be stored at room temperature, 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).


How to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End Addiction See Slideshow


Nicotine patch (Nicoderm CQ, Habitrol) is a prescription medication used for assistance in smoking cessation. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


FDA Prescribing Information.