Nicotine Patch Side Effects (+ Precautions, Safer Alternative)
A nicotine patch is a fairly effective smoking cessation tool. You wear it on your skin to satiate your nicotine cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms once you quit smoking.
But does it have any side effects?
Research shows that the side effects range from mild headaches and skin irritation to serious heart problems.
Thankfully, you can minimize the risk by taking some precautions or switching to a safer smoking cessation aid (like a nicotine-free vape).
Let’s discover all nicotine patch side effects and find answers to other questions you may have about them.
- The Nicotine Patch Side Effects to Watch Out For
- Safety Precautions You Should Follow When Using the Nicotine Patch
- Nicotine-Free Vapes: A Safer Smoking Cessation Aid
- Other FAQs About Nicotine and the Nicotine Patch
The Nicotine Patch Side Effects to Watch Out ForNicotine patches come in different shapes and sizes, and they are supposed to help you quit smoking.
But how does a nicotine patch work?
Once you apply a nicotine transdermal patch (a Nicorette patch, for example) to the skin, it releases small, consistent amounts of nicotine into your body.
The nicotine then initiates the release of dopamine and adrenaline (responsible for the buzz & euphoric feeling after smoking) in the body.
In other words: Nicotine patch use mimics the effects of cigarette smoking without actually doing the deed.
Moreover, you can keep lowering your nicotine transdermal patch strength over time to quit nicotine entirely and wean off any nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
And while nicotine patches are an effective cessation tool, they can have serious health risks and adverse effects.
Here are some possible side effects of using a nicotine skin patch:
- Headaches and Dizziness
- Skin Problems
- Heart Problems
- Sleep Disturbances
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Hearing Issues
- Mental Health Issues
- Nicotine Addiction
- Other Side Effects
1. Headaches and DizzinessIt’s no secret that nicotine use can cause headaches, be it from cigarettes, nicotine patches, or other NRT tools like a nicotine lozenge or nasal spray.
Here’s how nicotine increases the risk of headaches:
- Nicotine use can constrict the blood vessels in your body. This could reduce blood flow to the brain and can lead to headaches.
- Continued exposure to nicotine may heighten the sensitivity of the pain receptors in your brain, making headaches more pronounced.
Nicotine-induced headaches are sometimes accompanied by spells of dizziness.
2. Skin Problems
Transdermal nicotine patches can cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis.
Methacrylates — an ingredient in nicotine patch — is known to cause adverse reactions like burning or itching skin and throat irritation.
3. Heart Problems
If you’re a cardiovascular patient, nicotine use could worsen the condition and increase the risk of developing severe heart disease.
Clinical trials show that nicotine can increase heart rate and lead to high blood pressure and hardening of artery walls.
4. Sleep Disturbances
If you’ve been using the nicotine skin patch, you’ve probably experienced vivid dreams and bouts of insomnia.
Nicotine is a powerful stimulant that disturbs your normal sleep cycle, preventing you from entering a deep sleep cycle. This means you’ll mostly stay in a “light sleep” state, leading to inadequate night's rest.
5. Nausea and Vomiting
Using a Nicotine patch with higher than recommended strength could cause nausea and vomiting.
Nicotine hinders serotonin receptors in the brain, leading to nausea and vomiting.
Additionally, nicotine can affect gastrointestinal muscle contractions, causing abdominal distress.
6. Hearing Issues
Nicotine can interfere with the neurotransmitters responsible for communicating external sounds to your brain.
When these neurotransmitters take damage, you could experience hearing loss.
But that’s not all.
Nicotine can lead to other hearing-related problems, such as vertigo and tinnitus.
7. Mental Health Issues
Smoking nicotine releases dopamine – the feel-good hormone in our body.
But, when you give up smoking and switch to cessation aids like nicotine patches, your body doesn’t produce the same amount of dopamine as before, leading to mood swings and feelings of depression.
Smokers and vapers often turn to cigarettes to cope with stress, anxiety, and feelings of anger.
But when they quit cigarette smoking, it’s like losing a “companion.”
This further increases the risk of various mental health conditions.
8. Nicotine Addiction
It’s widely known that nicotine is highly addictive.
And sure, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), like the transdermal nicotine patch, could help you get off the habit.
But sadly, they won’t get rid of your nicotine dependence.
While the patch has lower levels of nicotine than traditional cigarettes, it still contains enough to keep you addicted.
Did you know? According to the World Health Organization, the use of tobacco products causes 8 million deaths yearly.
9. Other Side Effects
Here are a few more possible side effects to keep in mind when using the nicotine patch:
- Back & joint pain
- Heartburn and gas
- Blurred vision
Note: Some of these nicotine side effects are temporary and disappear with treatment, while others (like heart disease) can have long-term implications.
So, it’s clear that nicotine patches aren’t entirely risk-free.
But, if you’re still planning on using them, here are some precautions you need to consider to minimize the risks.
Safety Precautions You Should Follow When Using the Nicotine Patch
If you have existing medical conditions, take caution when using the nicotine patch, as it can cause adverse effects.
Seek medical advice before using a nicotine skin patch if any of the following applies to you:
- Have sensitive skin or skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema
- Could be pregnant or nursing a baby
- Have heart disease (irregular heartbeat, heart attack in the last two weeks, chest pain, high blood pressure)
- Suffer from diabetes
- Suffer from kidney or liver disease
- Have esophagus problems (including stomach ulcers)
- Still smoke/vape, chew tobacco, or use other nicotine products
Another critical factor to consider when using nicotine patches is possible drug interactions.
Nicotine patches are known to interact negatively with the following medication:
- Hypertension drugs (Labetalol, Prazosin)
- Bronchodilators/decongestants (Phenylephrine, Isoproterenol)
- Chemotherapy drugs (Bendamustine, Tegafur)
- Porphyria drugs (Hemin)
Note: Patches may alter how your medication works or increase the risk of severe side effects. So, be cautious when using a transdermal nicotine patch with other prescription drugs.
Now, if you are a smoker looking to ditch cigarette smoking and nicotine altogether, you may be wondering:
Is there a safer and more enjoyable way of getting rid of cigarettes?
Sure there is…
Nicotine-Free Vapes: A Safer Smoking Cessation Aid
Vapes and e-cigarettes are known to be more effective smoking cessation tools than nicotine patches or any other nicotine replacement product.
Zero nicotine vapes take it a notch higher by minimizing the risk of nicotine side effects!
So, what nicotine-free vapes should you get?
The key is to opt for reputable brands, such as Cyclone Pods.
The California-based vaping company uses the finest quality ingredients for its vapes.
The best part?
Their products are free from nicotine, vitamin-E acetate, and diacetyl — all notorious for putting you at serious health risks.
The Thunder Device Starter Kit is the perfect product to kickstart your nicotine-free vaping journey! The rechargeable Thunder Device comes with a flavor pod and charging cable. Choose from a range of five flavors, including mango and mint.
Or, check out the Gust Super disposable device with up to 5000 puffs. Pick your favorite from six irresistible flavors, including strawberry and watermelon.
Now, let’s tackle some questions you may still have about a nicotine patch.
Other FAQs About Nicotine and the Nicotine Patch
Here are some commonly asked questions:
1. Is the Nicotine Patch Effective?
Yes, clinical trials suggest that the nicotine patch can be an effective method of quitting smoking, albeit with some side effects.
According to a Jama Internal medicine report, the nicotine patch has a success rate of about 18-77%.
Did you know: The use of nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, nicotine lozenge, and nicotine nasal spray have about the same efficacy rate as nicotine patch use?
2. What are Some Common Nicotine Patch Strengths?
The nicotine patch is most commonly available in three strengths:
- 7 mg
- 14 mg
- 21 mg
Now, we know what you’re thinking…
3. What Nicotine Patch Strength Should I Use?
It depends on how much you currently smoke.
For instance, if you’re a smoker who smokes more than 10 cigarettes daily, consider starting with a 21mg patch.
If you smoke 10 cigarettes or less, consider starting with the 14 mg patch.
Start with the 7 mg patch if you smoke less than 7 cigarettes daily.
Note: You may still experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms if your patch strength is too low.
4. How Long Should I Wear the Nicotine Patch?
Typically, you can wear the nicotine skin patch for up to 24 hours.
Most people apply a fresh patch as soon as they wake up and change it the following day after 24 hours.
However, if you’re experiencing vivid dreams or trouble sleeping, you can remove the patch before bed and apply a new one in the morning.
5. Can You Vape While Using the Nicotine Patch?
No, it is not advised to vape nicotine while using the patch treatment, or any other form of NRT like nicotine lozenge, for that matter.
You run the risk of a nicotine overdose.
Here are some symptoms of a possible nicotine overdose:
- Severe headaches
- Blurred vision
- Cold sweats
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dizziness, fainting, or weakness
- Hearing problems
- Upset stomach
6. Can Kids, Older people, and Breastfeeding Women use Nicotine Patches?
Let’s take a closer look at whether or not children, the elderly, and breastfeeding women can use a Nicotine Patch:
Children: Small amounts of nicotine can cause serious unwanted side effects in kids, and nicotine patches contain enough nicotine to cause issues.
Older people: Whether the effects of nicotine patches are connected to a person’s age is not certain. However, studies indicate a greater success rate for seniors who use nicotine patches than younger people.
- Breastfeeding women: Studies on nicotine use in breastfeeding women show harmful effects on the infant. Consult your doctor for an alternative smoking cessation or nicotine replacement product.
Switch to No-Nicotine Vaping: A Guilt-Free Experience
At the end of the day, nicotine patches are an effective but not entirely safe way to quit smoking.
The best way to kick the habit?
Cyclone Pods offers no-nicotine vapes, which help many smokers overcome their nicotine addiction while providing a safe vaping experience.
Ready to join the nicotine-free revolution?
Check out Cyclone Pods to see how you can ditch the nicotine and improve your overall health!