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.
Dozens of clinical trials have shown that the patch nearly doubles success rates for smoking cessation over placebo treatment. Placebo tests show a 5.9% success rate, in comparison to 7.2% in blind active trials, and 10.8% in randomized control trials.
The first study of the pharmacokinetics of a transdermal nicotine patch in humans was published in 1984 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. Frank Etscorn filed a patent in the United States on January the 23rd 1985 and was issued the patent on July 1, 1986. 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. 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.
Studies are being conducted about the use of transdermal nicotine patches to treat anxiety, depression, and inattentiveness in subjects with ADHD[verification needed] and to treat late-life depression.
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.
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