When you crave for a smoke, you are actually craving for nicotine, the chemical responsible for cigarette dependence. Fortunately, there are various products and methods nowadays to help you quit smoking. There are nicotine replacement products and non-nicotine medications that target the receptors in the brain, helping you ease out from the smoking habit. Do remember, however, that each type of treatment has its own benefits and limitations. A combination of therapy may be required in some, while others don’t. Consult a physician if you have other medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, in order to prevent adverse effects.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
NRT should be taken according to the recommended dose and duration. Tapering off use is also expected.
1. Transdermal Nicotine System – or nicotine patches are available in different types and doses. An individual may experience side effects such as skin irritation and nausea, but this may be due to factors such as the patch brand or dose.
2. Nicotine Gums – these over-the-counter replacement is available in 2 mgs and 4 mgs and can be used as needed. They are recommended for heavy smokers.
3. Nicotine Lozenges – like nicotine gums, they are available OTC in the same doses. The lozenge is required to be used as part of a 12-week program.
4. Nicotine Nasal Sprays and Inhalers – both replacements require a doctor’s prescription. The nasal spray route delivers the nicotine most rapidly to the bloodstream, while the inhaler allows the individual to feel like they are smoking, since some of the nicotine goes to the mouth.
For individuals who really want to quit smoking but find it extra hard because of the withdrawal symptoms, the following are medications you can take:
1. Bupropion – this prescription anti-depressant relieves the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal by targeting the same receptors in the brain.
2. Varenicline – unlike bupropion, this drug was designed for smokers who want to quit. Its mechanism of action is to block the nicotine receptors in the brain, reducing cravings. Varenicline has been shown in several studies to increase a smoker’s chances of quitting.
3. Clonidine – this drug is actually used to treat high blood pressure, but it can be taken as a pill twice a day for smoking cessation.
Hypnosis – clinical studies of hypnosis show that it is one of the most effective tools for kicking the habit. There are reputable hypnotherapists that your doctor can refer you to.