Nicotine patch

A 21 mg dose patch applied to the left arm

A nicotine patch is a transdermal patch that releases nicotine into the body through the skin. It is used as an aid in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a process for smoking cessation.

Medical uses

Dozens of clinical trials have shown that the patch approximately doubles success rates over placebo treatment. Placebo tests show a 5.9% success rate, in comparison to the 7.2% blind active tests, and the 10.8% open tests.[1][2][3]

Side effects

Analysis of nicotine patches has shown that they contain tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), known cancer-causing agents, in quantities of up to 173 mg per patch.[4]


The first study of the pharmacokinetics of a transdermal nicotine patch in humans was published in 1984[5] by Jed E. Rose, Ph.D., Murray E. Jarvik, M.D., Ph.D. and K. Daniel Rose, and was followed by publication by Rose et al. (1985) of results of a study of smokers showing that a transdermal nicotine patch reduced craving for cigarettes.[6] Frank Etscorn Ph.D. filed a patent in the United States on January the 23rd 1985 and was issued the patent on July 1, 1986.[7] The University of California filed a competing patent application nearly 3 years after Etscorn's filing on February the 19th, 1988, which was granted on May 1, 1990.[8] Subsequently, the U.S. Patent Office declared an interference action and, after a thorough review of conception, reduction to practice and patent filing dates, issued on September 29, 1993 a priority decision in favor of the Rose et al. patent.[9]


Nicotine patches are under study to help relieve the symptoms of post-surgical pain[10] and treat early dementia.[11]

Studies are being conducted about the use of transdermal nicotine patches to treat anxiety, depression, and inattentiveness in subjects with ADHD.[12]

Transdermal nicotine patches can be used to relieve ulcerative colitis symptoms. However, this is not the case with Crohn's disease, a similar health condition, where smoking and nicotine intake in general worsen the disease's effects.

See also


  1. Renshaw, Amy. "The Real Story Behind the Nicotine Patch and Smoking Cessation". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  2. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Quick Reference Guide for Clinicians. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. April 2009
  3. In India, Rusan Healthcare has launched the Nicotine Transdermal Patches under the Tradename '2baconil'
  4. UCSF Library, 3 Feb 1995, Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines in Nicotine Patches, retrieved 11 Aug 2013.
  5. Rose, J. E.; Jarvik, M. E.; Rose, K. D. (1984). "Transdermal administration of nicotine". Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 13 (3): 209–213. doi:10.1016/0376-8716(84)90061-9. PMID 6734425.
  6. Rose, J. E.; Herskovic, J. E.; Trilling, Y.; Jarvik, M. E. (1985). "Transdermal nicotine reduces cigarette craving and nicotine preference". Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics. 38 (4): 450–456. doi:10.1038/clpt.1985.203. PMID 4042528.
  7. US 4597961, Etscorn, FT
  8. US 4920989
  9. OLIVIA M. DUVALL (21 February 1995). "Adverse Decisions in Interference". Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  10. "Nicotine Patch Decreases Post Surgical Pain". MediLexicon International Ltd, Bexhill-on-Sea, UK. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  11. "Nicotine Patches Up Early Memory Loss In Study". 9 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  12. Cocores,, James A. (2008). "Transdermal Nicotine in Adult ADHD With Depression and Anxiety". National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
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