Before buying patches, you should tell your pharmacist or doctor if you have an illness, or if you are taking any other medicines (even non prescription ones). In some cases, you may need medical supervision or advice, or in other cases nicotine patches may not be suitable. Please check the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) that comes with the patches for the latest list of common medicines and illnesses that may be affected by using the patch or stopping smoking.
Illnesses listed in the CMI for which you may need medical advice include: heart disease, any blood circulation disorder, kidney disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, phaeochromocytoma (a tumour of the adrenal gland), and allergic reactions that involve the swelling of the lips, face and throat or itchy skin rash.
The nicotine patch is not recommended for people with long term skin disorders, such as psoriasis, dermatitis or urticaria.
Can I use the patch if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended that you first try to quit without medication. However, if you are able to quit without medication, you may use the day-time patch to help you quit. If you feel you need to use a nicotine replacement product to help you quit, the better options are the nicotine gum, inhaler, lozenge, or tablet. These products usually provide a lower daily dose of nicotine than the patch. However, if you have nausea or sickness, a patch may be preferred. You must remove it before going to bed.
While using the patch is considered safer than smoking, nicotine from the patch may not be entirely risk-free for your baby. You need to discuss the risks and benefits with your pharmacist or doctor before using it, and you should tell the doctor supervising your pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding, you should not use the patch, however you can use nicotine gum, lozenges, inhaler, or tablets. If you have any questions regarding these issues, please ask your doctor.
Can I use the patch if I am under 18 years?
The patch can be used by persons aged 12 years and over, however if you are under 18 years you should speak to your doctor before using the patch. It is highly recommended that people in this age group discuss quitting smoking with a trained health advisor to benefit from using the patch.