Smoking is a habit that has severe effects on the health of an individual. Lung cancer, loss of teeth and respiratory problems, are just but a few risks associated with smoking. With that being said, a number of ways to curb the growing addiction that is smoking have emerged. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), is one of the many methods that are used to curb nicotine dependence. NRT gives you nicotine but not the other harmful substances found in tobacco.
How Does Nicotine Replacement Therapy Work?
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) reduces the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with tobacco. Combined with proper counseling, NRT has been proven to significantly increase the number of non-smokers and eventually help them quit the habit.
Who Should Not Use NRT?
The use of NRT has been contraindicated in teens and pregnant women. Individuals, who are still using other forms of tobacco or are still smoking, should also not use NRT. It is advisable that you talk to your healthcare provider first before you start the therapy.
Can NRT Cause Nicotine Overdose?
Although rare, nicotine overdose is still possible. It is recommended that you follow the dosing instructions as provided by your healthcare provider while using NRT products. Always keep in mind that nicotine overdose can cause death and as such, all NRT products like patches and gum should be stored safely.
Symptoms of Nicotine Overdose
The following are some common symptoms of a nicotine overdose:
- Cold sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pale skin and mouth
In order to know the right NRT dosage to take, one needs to understand the type of smoker he/she is. The following guidelines will help you determine what dosage is right for you:
- Highest dose of NRT: Applies to a heavy user who typically uses more than 3 pouches of tobacco per week
- Moderate dose: Used by individuals who use 2-3 pouches of tobacco per week
- Lowest dose: Used by individuals who use less than 2 pouches of tobacco per week
Forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy
There are 5 types of NRT that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) namely,
- Nicotine Patch
These patches give a recommended dosage of nicotine via the skin. Over the weeks, you are weaned off the nicotine by switching to lower-dosage patches. The patch in use depends on a person’s smoking habits and body size and should be changed every morning.
- Nicotine Nasal Spray
This is only available by prescription. It is absorbed via the nose hence delivers the nicotine quickly to the bloodstream. The spray is prescribed for a 3-month period, should not be used for more than 6 months and should not exceed 40 doses per day.
- Nicotine Gum
Nicotine gum is fast absorbed via the mucous membrane of the mouth. It can be bought over the counter and comes in 2 mg and 4 mg strengths. Nicotine gum is prescribed for 6-12 weeks and the recommended amount per day is just about 24 pieces.
- Nicotine Lozenges
These lozenges come in 2 mg and 4 mg strengths. While using the lozenge, you should not eat or drink anything. Do not use more than 5 lozenges in 6 hours and after 12 weeks, lozenge use should cease.
- Nicotine Inhaler
Nicotine inhalers deliver nicotine vapor to the mouth where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The recommended dosage is between 4 and 20 cartridges a day depending on the level of the smoker.
Smoking cessation is not an easy task. At Mind & Body Christian Health Group, we will help you find the best solution and tailor it to your needs. Feel free to make an appointment with one of our counselors to find out more about smoking-related therapies.