NRT – Pros and Cons on different products

There are lots of different products out there to support you when you quit smoking, so you may be wondering which product is the best for you.

We have provided a list of the pros and cons of some of the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) we offer at Everyone Health to help support you whilst you quit.

Patches

Pros:

The patch releases a steady amount of nicotine throughout the day, this reduces nicotine withdrawal effects. There are 2 different types of patches available; 24-hour patches and 16-hour patches. 24-hour patches are recommended for those who smoke within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning and/or wake in the middle of the night to smoke, and 16-hour patches are recommended for those who have early morning cravings and they smoke within 30 minutes of waking.

Patches are super easy to use, and, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, are most likely to be correctly used out of all NRT products

Patch strength will be reduced over time so you can reduce your nicotine intake slowly

Cons:

There are some side effects, these are: skin irritations where the patch is applied – ranging from itching, burning or tingling, to redness and swelling, or a severe rash or swelling, headaches, dizzy spells, and upset stomach sometimes leading to diarrhoea.

If you are on other medication you should consult with an expert before using the patch. You cannot smoke at all whilst using this product as you may overdose on nicotine.

Gum

Pros:

The gum can be tailored towards lighter and heavier smokers, it is adaptable, cheap and available over the counter.  It can also be used with other products.

Cons:

The gum usually has better results when used with another product and you might not like the taste.

Also, the gum can be chewed wrong (who knew). There is a chew and park technique to chewing to avoid swallowing saliva and a need to avoid certain drinks that would lower intraoral PH (avoid drinks that make your mouth more acidic). 

Inhalators

Pros:

The inhaler allows you to take small doses of nicotine when you need it, meaning if you feel like having less nicotine one day you can easily do so.

The inhaler can control sudden nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms, keeps your hands busy and allows you to choose your own dose.

The inhaler can be used with other products and can be used every time you feel strong cravings.

Cons:

You have to choose to take the inhaler, so if you get cravings for a cigarette it is down to you to make sure you use the inhaler; other products such as Patches reduce cravings throughout the day so you are less likely to have sudden intense cravings.

The inhalers are available to purchase from most pharmacies over the counter, in addition to stockists such as Feel Unique – making it easily accessible.

Inhalators have been known to cause mouth and throat irritations, so if you have a breathing condition (asthma, etc), the inhaler may not be the product for you.   

Nasal Spray

Pros:

The nasal spray works faster than other NRT product, you can control the dose and it can help you control sudden cravings and withdrawals. The spray Mimics the rush you get from smoking more closely than other NRT product with nicotine dose being the same as smoking one cigarette.

Cons:

Like the gum, you have to decide to use the product rather than giving in to your cravings when a sudden craving comes on and must be used repeatedly throughout the day. The spray can cause nasal and throat irritation and may not be good if you have a sinus condition.

Mouth Spray

Pros:

This spray allows nicotine to be absorbed through the inside lining of your mouth, which relieves the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. It is very straightforward to use.

The spray also acts very fast, so you will get that nicotine you’re craving to the brain almost instantly.

Cons:

Depending on the frequency and strength of your nicotine cravings, you may find that you require a refill often as the spray can be used up to four times in a hour. You may want to stock up on this product so you don’t run out and are left without any NRT products.

The spray does come with some common side-effects such as: hiccups, throat and mouth irritation, nausea, indigestion and dry lips.

There is also a chance that you may not like the taste of the spray.

Microtabs

Microtabs are small white singular tablets that contain nicotine – they can come in a packet of 30 or 100.

Pros:

The tablets can be tailored towards lighter and heavier smokers.

They’re very easy and straightforward to use – you simply place the tablet under your tongue and let it dissolve. As it dissolves, the nicotine will release and gets absorbed into the bloodstream via lining of the mouth.

You can also use microtabs whilst pregnant and if you’re breastfeeding which is a much safer option for you and your baby than continuing to smoke cigarettes. However, you shouldn’t become reliant on microtabs during your pregnancy and should aim to stop taking them as soon as possible – preferably after 2 or 3 months, as any form of nicotine is harmful to your baby and their development.

Cons:

The tablet can take up to 20-30 minutes to ‘work’ to relieve withdrawal symptoms, so if you’re looking for a treatment that works fairly quickly, then you may want to seek an alternative product.

Again, dependent on the frequency and strength of your cravings, you may find that you run out of tablets quickly. You can have up to 1-2 microtabs an hour, and the maximum recommended amount is 40 microtabs in 24 hours. If choosing to opt for microtabs as your NRT, you should think about stocking up to avoid running out at any time.

You should refrain from chewing or swallowing the tablet whole as this reduces the effectiveness of the tablet, in addition to eating and drinking while using the microtabs.

Lozenges

Pros:

They are easily accessible and are available to purchase from most pharmacies, as well as stockists such as Superdrug and Boots selling a wide range of lozenges at different prices.

Lozenges provide fast relief from cravings.

You can easily tailor them to yourself and choose the right lozenge strength for you based on when your first cigarette of the day was e.g. first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking: 4mg.

Cons:

It is very easy to misuse lozenges as they are very similar to sweets – in both taste and form, so you will need to make sure you do not exceed the correct dosage for them – typically 15 lozenges per day (however this may vary with what brand you use so double check!).

You cannot smoke or use any other NRT product while using lozenges as you run the risk of a nicotine overdose.

They should be on-hand and readily available for your use at all times for when your cravings hit, so make sure you don’t leave the house without them in tow!

How we can help:

For further advice and guidance call us on: 0333 005 0095 or take our online assessment. At Everyone Health, we provide 12 weeks* of sessions with a dedicated practitioner who will give you top tips on how to quit. We also advise and prescribe the best nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products!

*How many weeks of support you receive, depends on where you live in the UK.

It has been one to one and Nikki has made me feel at ease. I have not smoked for 3 months
Linda - 21/02/2019
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