National Stroke Foundation

NicoDerm CQ

The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.

Approval Status:

Approved August 1996

Specific Treatments:

smoking cessation

Therapeutic Areas

General Information

NicoDerm CQ has been approved as an OTC stop smoking aid. NicoDerm CQ is the first OTC nicotine patch to be available in all prescription strengths: 21 mg, 14 mg, and 7 mg per day. NicoDerm CQ provides a step down program that allows smokers to gradually reduce their nicotine intake, rather than stop abruptly. Most smokers should start with Step 1 (21 mg) for six weeks; step down to Step 2 (14 mg) for two weeks; and then use Step 3 (7 mg) for two weeks.

NicoDerm CQ is the only nicotine patch approved for light smokers. Those who smoke 10 or fewer cigarettes a day should start with the Step 2 (14 mg) dose for six weeks and then step down to the Step 3 (7 mg) dose for two weeks.

NicoDerm CQ is the only patch that can be worn for either 16 or 24 hours. Smokers who crave cigarettes when they wake up can wear the patch for 24 hours.

Certain patient populations should seek the advice of a health professional prior to starting therapy with nicotine patches. These include people under the age of 18; people with heart disease, an irregular heart beat, or those who have had a recent heart attack; people with high blood pressure not controlled with medication; people taking prescription medicine for depression or asthma; or people with skin problems or those who are allergic to adhesive tape. Pregnant or nursing women should first try to stop smoking without the nicotine patch and seek the advice of a health professional before using a nicotine patch.

Side Effects

The most frequently reported adverse effects associated with nicotine patches are usually mild and include itching or burning at the site of application and dizziness.