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More help in getting rid of the evil weed.


Smokers who are trying to kick the habit (and we hope they are many!) may find help in an interesting product that has just come on the market. Called Nicoderm, the product was developed jointly by Marion Merrell Dow Inc., the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Nicorette gum, and the Alza Corporation of Palo Alto, California.

Many smokers have found that they can control the craving for a cigarette by chewing gum that contains nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco. Obtaining nicotine in this manner helps to reduce the withdrawal symptoms of headaches, irritability, and difficulty in concentration.

Now an alternative method of obtaining nicotine is available. Nicoderm delivers nicotine to the body transdermally (through the skin) from a small adhesive patch applied to the skin, on the upper outer arm or the upper body. The patch contains a membrane that allows nicotine to pass through into the skin-and from there into the bloodstream-at about the same rate that nicotine is being eliminated in the system. Thus, a relatively constant level of nicotine is maintained in the system, thereby freeing the user from having to regulate his dosage.

A new patch is applied every 24 hours. The patches are available in different dosages, permitting gradual reduction in dosage over time. Used in conjunction with smoking-cessation counseling programs, the transdermal patches normally may be discontinued in about 10 weeks. In clinical trials of the efficacy and safety of the patch, a six-month follow-up of patients found that a significant number had successfully quit smoking.

Like nicotine gum, the nicotine patches are available only by prescription. The most frequently reported side effects in the clinical trials were itching or burning at the site of application, which did not usually last long.
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Title Annotation:Nicoderm patch to help smokers quit
Publication:Medical Update
Article Type:Evaluation
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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