Penn Heart and Vascular

Heart and Vascular Patient Information

Medications to Help You Quit Smoking
Comparing Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) provides a safe, non-addictive way of relieving cravings while you quit. The following NRTs each have pros and cons, which are listed below. It's up to the person quitting and his or her healthcare provider which NRT is most appropriate.

Nicotine patch
Overview
  • Helps to prevent cravings
  • Available in 21mg, 14mg, 7mg
  • Generally start with 21mg if smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day
Advantages
  • Easy to use
  • Provides steady dose of nicotine for 24 hours
Possible Side Effects
  • Skin irriitation can occur
  • Difficulty sleeping
Tips
  • Change patch every morning and use a different site every day
  • If you have trouble sleeping, remove before bedtime
Availability
  • Nicoderm CQ
  • Generic patches
Nicotine gum or lozenge
Overview
  • Helps treat sudden onset of cravings
  • Available in 2mg and 4mg
  • Can be used in combination with the patch
Advantages
  • Used regularly in response to cravings
  • Flexible dose based on your cravings
  • Helps control weight gain
Possible Side Effects
  • Very few side effects if used correctly
  • Some patients may experience mouth soreness, hiccups, and heartburn
Tips
  • Gum should be chewed until soft and parked between the cheek and gums
  • Lozenge should be parked under the tongue
Availability
  • Nicorette
  • Nicorette Mint
  • Nicorette Orange
  • Commit Lozenge
Nicotine inhaler
Overview
  • Helps sudden onset of cravings
  • Each cartridge delivers 4mg of nicotine, approx. 80 "puffs"
Advantages
  • Used regularly in response to cravings
  • Flexible dose based on your cravings
Possible Side Effects
  • Cough if inhaled too deeply
Tips
  • To avoid side effects, proper technique is important
  • Do not inhale. Puff on inhaler until you feel a buring sensation in back of your throat
Availability
  • Nicotrol Inhaler
Bupropion SR
Overview
  • Helps reduce cravings
  • Begin treatment 7-10 days before quit date
  • Day 1-3: 1 tablet every morning
  • Day 4-end: 1 tablet twice daily
Advantages
  • Can be combined with nicotine replacement therapy
  • Reduces urge to smoke
Possible Side Effects
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vivid dreams
  • Dry mouth
  • Agitation
Tips
  • If you have trouble sleeping, try taking second pill earlier in the evening (i.e., after dinner)
  • Dry mouth and agitation usually go away after a few days
Availability
  • Zyban
  • Wellbutrin
  • Generic bupropion
Varenicline
Overview
  • Partially stimulates nicotine receptors in the brain while blocking cigarette's effect
Advantages
  • Reduces urge to smoke
  • May reduce withdrawal symptoms and minimize reinforcement of continued smoking
Possible Side Effects
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Abnormal dreams
Tips
  • Take with food and/or water to reduce nausea
Availability
  • Chantix

Quit Smoking With Help From Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine has a Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program that provides individualized treatment to help smokers quit safely and comfortably. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists offer treatment that is respectful and supportive, without guilt or pressure. All of Penn's smoking cessation services are reimbursed by most major insurance carriers.

Contact Us

For an appointment or more information about quitting smoking, please call 888-PENN-STOP (888-736-7867).