Nicotine Patches: An Innovation in Tobacco De-Addiction

In the year 2017, market research firm Euromonitor International valued India’s e-cigarette/vaping market at around $15.6 million and projected it to grow 60 per cent annually until 2022.

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The recent ban on e-cigarettes is a welcome move by the Government. E-cigarettes had once emerged as de-addiction products, to help smokers to switch to safer methods of nicotine consumption without the harmful effects of smoking conventional tobacco-made cigarettes. Though the consumption of e-cigarettes and vapes was much less in India when compared to other countries, it was fast catching up with the younger population.

In the year 2017, market research firm Euromonitor International valued India’s e-cigarette/vaping market at around $15.6 million and projected it to grow 60 per cent annually until 2022. Though the market was dominated by imported brands, few Indian companies too launched e-cigarette brands to tap into the growing demand among young consumers.

E-cigarettes use a battery-powered device that heats a liquid to form vapours, or more accurately aerosol that the user can inhale (vaping). Research has found that while e-cigarettes replace tobacco, they don't take away addiction.

Nicotine patches to the rescue

Nicotine patches are a part of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which acts as an aid to help quit smoking/chewing tobacco over a period of three (3) months. They are applied to the skin to deliver a remedial sustained-release dose of nicotine through the skin. The nicotine patches are available in primarily 3 strengths, which gives an option to tobacco consumers to start with the relevant strength based on their dependence.

The nicotine patch is an effective smoking cessation aid and has the potential to improve public health significantly. Compliance is increased and is a simple method to actively help patients quit their habit by applying the patch in the morning which will work for a period of 24 hours.

This step-down therapy over three (3) months, acts on the physiological dependency caused due to the habit and helps in overcoming common withdrawal symptoms experienced while quitting such as irritability, frustration, anger, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating and restlessness which are common reasons for relapse.

Oral medication vis-à-vis patch medication

Transdermal drug delivery is a very exciting and challenging area in medicine. There are several indications for which transdermal delivery systems are currently available in the market such as pain management, deaddiction.

Transdermal patches are medicated adhesive patches that are placed on the skin to deliver a specific dose of medication through the skin and into the bloodstream. Depending on the indication the patches are designed to release the drug over a specific period of time ensuring a sustained release and increased patient compliance.

Medicines are generally administered orally, through nasal or oral inhalations, or through injections. Transdermal patches have a definite benefit over these, such as the ease of supplying a controlled dose of the drug into the body, bypassing the first-pass metabolism and the flexibility to remove the patch immediately in case of any side effects. Replacing oral medication with patch medication can reduce the burden for patients who are supposed to take numerous medications orally on a regular basis.

In a nutshell…

Transdermal patches are an effective mode of drug delivery into the human body. They are equipped to release controlled doses of medicine which helps in increasing patient compliance and effective management of treatment especially in pain management and addiction treatment.


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