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FDA Approved Smoking Cessation Products

New medication products are emerging to help smokers quit. It's important to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out which product might be right for you. All the products should be used in conjunction with a behavioral or support program.

Over the Counter Products

Nicotine Patch - NicoDerm® CQ, Nicotrol® Nicotine Transdermal Patch Nicotine patches help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms by providing a steady dosage of nicotine throughout the day. Each day, a new patch is applied to the upper body. Patches sold over the counter are available in either 6-week or 10-week treatment periods.

Nicotine Gum - Nicorette®
Nicotine gum provides nicotine to your bloodstream to help reduce your urge to smoke. Like the nicotine patch, nicotine gum helps reduce some of the physical symptoms that people experience when trying to quit. Nicotine gum is available over the counter and the recommended treatment period is 12 weeks.

Products Currently Available by Prescription

Nicotine Patch - Habitrol®, ProStep®
Read information above.

Nicotine Nasal Spray - Nicotrol® NS
Delivers nicotine through the lining of the nose when you squirt it directly into each nostril.
Unlike nasal sprays used to relieve allergy symptoms, the nicotine spray is not meant to be sniffed. Rather, it is sprayed once into each nostril once or twice an hour. Be sure to ask your pharmacist for help in using the product correctly.


      * Flexible dosing
      * Can be used in response to stress or urges to smoke
      * Fastest delivery of nicotine of currently available products
      * Reduces cravings within minutes


  • Nose and eye irritation is common, but usually disappears within one week
  • Frequent use during the day required to obtain adequate nicotine levels

NICOTINE INHALER - Nicotrol® Inhaler
A plastic cylinder containing a cartridge that delivers nicotine when you puff on it.
Although similar in appearance to cigarette, the inhaler delivers nicotine into the mouth, not the lung, and enters the body much more slowly than the nicotine in cigarettes.

Puffing must be done frequently, far more often than your cigarette. Each cartridge lasts for 80 long puffs; each cartridge is designed for 20 minutes of use. A minimum of six cartridges per day is needed for three to six weeks, then the patient starts tapering off. You do not need to inhale deeply to achieve an effect.


  • Flexible dosing
  • Mimics the hand-to-mouth behavior of smoking
  • Few side effects
  • Faster delivery of nicotine than the patches


  • Frequent use during the day required to obtain adequate nicotine levels
  • May cause mouth or throat irritation

Non-nicotine Pill - ZYBAN™
Currently the only non-nicotine medication shown to be effective for quitting smoking. Treatment must be started at least one week before your target quit date. This is the first medication to help quit smoking that is available in tablet form. Its primary role is to act on brain chemistry to bring about some of the same effects that nicotine has when people smoke. Zyban helps reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke by working on two brain chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine. These two chemicals particularly are associated with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

A small risk of seizure is associated with use of this medication. The main ingredient in Zyban has been available for many years as a treatment for depression under the trade name Wellbutrin. However, it works well in people with no depression as an aid to quit smoking. Most people take Zyban 7 - 12 weeks.


  • Easy to use
  • Pill form
  • Few side effects
  • Can be used in combination with nicotine patches


  • Should not be used by patients with eating disorders, seizure disorders or those taking certain other medications
  • Lack of flexibility of use

        The IHC quits.org is neither associated with the manufacturer nor the seller of these products and takes no responsibility with respect to them nor does it endorse any specific product.

        While you may still get cravings to smoke, don't smoke while using the patch or gum!

Congratulation! Your reading is very encouraging.


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