Nicotine, Transdermal


What are other names for this medicine?

Type of medicine: smoking deterrent

Generic and brand names: nicotine, transdermal; Habitrol; NicoDerm; NicoDerm-CQ; NicoDerm-CQ Clear

What is this medicine used for?

These adhesive patches are designed to help you stop smoking by releasing nicotine that is absorbed through the skin. As your body becomes used to smaller amounts of nicotine in your system, your addiction to nicotine is reduced. Using this medicine with behavior modification and counseling increases the likelihood you can quit smoking.

Changes in your behavior are also necessary for success.

This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.

What should my healthcare provider know before I take this medicine?

Before taking this medicine, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had:

  • An allergic reaction to any medicine
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease or a recent heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Skin disease or an allergy to adhesive tape
  • Thyroid disease

Females of childbearing age: Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Nicotine from any source can harm the baby. Do not become pregnant while using this medicine. If you become pregnant, contact your healthcare provider. This treatment is not recommended during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not use this medicine unless your healthcare provider approves. Smoking can seriously harm your child. Try to stop smoking without using any nicotine replacement medicine.

How do I use it?

You must stop smoking completely when you start using this medicine, and you must not smoke while using the medicine. Smoking while using this medicine may cause an overdose of nicotine with unpleasant side effects.

If you have tried to stop smoking using another form of nicotine replacement therapy and have not had any success, ask your healthcare provider if this medicine is right for you. Do not use this medicine with any other form of nicotine, because you may overdose.

Check the label on the medicine for directions about your specific dose. Large amounts of nicotine can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, and severe side effects that can affect your hearing, vision, mental state, and breathing. Also, an overdose may cause convulsions and even death. Follow your healthcare provider's directions exactly. Check with your healthcare provider before using this medicine in children under age 18.

Apply a patch once a day to clean, dry skin on your upper body or outer surface of the upper arm. Choose a spot with no hair or broken skin. Remove the patch after 24 hours and apply a new patch in a different spot. For Nicotrol, apply a new patch upon waking in the morning and remove it at bedtime each day. Do not reuse the same spot for at least one week.

Apply the patch right after removing it from the protective pouch to prevent loss of nicotine by evaporation. Make sure all the edges of the patch are firmly attached. Do not wear more than 1 patch at a time and do not cut patches.

After removing a used patch, fold it over and put it in the pouch from which you have removed a new patch. Dispose of the patch safely away from children and pets.

An instruction sheet is included in the package of this medicine. Read the information carefully. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you do not understand all of the instructions.

What if I overdose?

If you or anyone else has intentionally taken too much of this medicine, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away. If you pass out, have seizures, weakness or confusion, or have trouble breathing, call 911. If you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much of this medicine, call the poison control center. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. The poison control center number is 800-222-1222.

Symptoms of an acute overdose may include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, cold sweat, headache, dizziness, trouble seeing or hearing, confusion, restlessness, fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, drooling, coma.

What should I watch out for?

Caution: Nicotine can poison children and pets. Keep used and unused nicotine in a safe place out of the reach of children. Dispose of the medicine safely.

Your healthcare provider will want to see you regularly to reduce your dosage gradually until your urge to smoke is gone. Continue using the patches only for as long as directed by your healthcare provider.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or lab tests, tell the healthcare provider you are using this medicine. The patch may need to be removed before certain tests or procedures such as MRIs.

Diabetics: This medicine may affect your blood sugar level and change the amount of insulin or other diabetes medicines you may need. Talk to your healthcare provider about this.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its needed effects, your medicine may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medicine. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Serious (report these to your healthcare provider right away): Pale skin, cold sweats, nausea, increased saliva, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, confusion, weakness, very slow or very fast heartbeat, trouble breathing, trouble seeing or hearing, convulsions.

Other: Skin irritation, redness, or swelling under the patch, insomnia, nervousness, strange dreams.

What products might interact with this medicine?

When you stop smoking and start using any nicotine replacement (such as a nasal spray, patch, lozenge, or gum), the dosage of some medicines you may have been taking may need adjustment. Some of these medicines are:

  • Alpha blockers such as doxazosin (Cardura), prazosin (Minipress), and terazosin (Hytrin)
  • Antiarrhythmics such as flecainide (Tambocor) and mexiletine (Mexitil)
  • Antipsychotics such as clozapine (Clozaril) and olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Benzodiazepines such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and diazepam (Valium)
  • Beta blockers such as acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), pindolol, propranolol (Inderal LA), and sotalol (Betapace)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban)
  • Caffeine (NoDoz, Vivarin, Caffedrine, Quick-Pep)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Decongestants such as phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Insulin
  • Migraine medicines such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergotamine (Cafergot, Ergomar), and methylergonovine (Methergine)
  • Theophylline (Theo-Dur) and aminophylline (used in asthma medicines)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin, imipramine (Tofranil), and nortriptyline (Pamelor)

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.

How should I store this medicine?

Store this medicine at room temperature. Leave the patch in its sealed wrapper until you are ready to put it on.


This advisory includes selected information only and may not include all side effects of this medicine or interactions with other medicines. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information or if you have any questions.

Ask your pharmacist for the best way to dispose of outdated medicine or medicine you have not used. Do not throw medicine in the trash.

Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.

Do not share medicines with other people.

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