Nicotine patch

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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 in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a process for smoking cessation. Endorsed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is considered one of the safer NRTs available.

Medical uses[edit]

A meta-analysis found that fewer than 20% of people treated with nicotine replacement therapy remain abstinent from smoking at one year.[1]


The first study of the pharmacokinetics of a transdermal nicotine patch in humans was published in 1984[2] by Jed Rose, Murray Jarvik, and 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.[3] Frank Etscorn filed a patent in the United States on January the 23rd 1985 and was issued the patent on July 1, 1986.[4] The University of California filed a competing patent application nearly three years after Etscorn's filing on February the 19th, 1988, which was granted on May 1, 1990.[5] 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.[6]


Nicotine patches are under study to help relieve the symptoms of postoperative pain[7] and to treat early dementia.[8]

Studies are being conducted about the use of transdermal nicotine patches to treat anxiety, depression, and inattentiveness in subjects with ADHD[9][verification needed] and to treat late-life depression.[10]

Two small studies have shown that transdermal nicotine patches improve some symptoms of ulcerative colitis.[11] 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[edit]


  1. ^ Rosen LJ, Galili T, Kott J, Goodman M, Freedman LS (May 2018). "Diminishing benefit of smoking cessation medications during the first year: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Addiction. 113 (5): 805–816. doi:10.1111/add.14134. PMC 5947828. PMID 29377409.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ US 4597961, Etscorn, FT 
  5. ^ US 4920989 
  6. ^ OLIVIA M. DUVALL (21 February 1995). "Adverse Decisions in Interference". Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Nicotine Patch Decreases Post Surgical Pain". MediLexicon International Ltd, Bexhill-on-Sea, UK. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Nicotine Patches Up Early Memory Loss In Study". 9 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  9. ^ Cocores, James A. (2008). "Transdermal Nicotine in Adult ADHD With Depression and Anxiety". Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 10 (3): 253–4. doi:10.4088/pcc.v10n0312f. PMC 2446482. PMID 18615164.
  10. ^ "Nicotine Patch May Help Late-Life Depression". Medscape. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  11. ^ Cheah, Matthew, and Reena Khanna. "Current Medical Therapies for Ulcerative Colitis." In Pouchitis and Ileal Pouch Disorders, pp. 1-15. Academic Press, 2019.