Saturday, September 13, 2008

Top 8 Reasons Why Medications Don't Work When Quitting Smoking

I've heard it over and over again--"I tried The Patch (or the gum or any other medication) and it didn't work". there are several reasons why the 7 FDA-approved medications don't work.
1. Under dosed. The guidelines with the use of nicotine replacement products may not deliver sufficient nicotine. If a smoker is smoking two packs a day that is the equivalent to two-21mg patches. If they were only using one, they were not getting anywhere close to the level of nicotine that they are used to and they will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. 2. Used incorrectly. The gum is not to be chewed like gum but just soften enough and then parked so the nicotine is absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth instead of being swallowed into the stomach, which can cause indigestion.
3. Expecting too much. Medications are not a magic wand. Often a smoker will "try" medications with a "show me" attitude. Medications are used to help with the physical symptoms while the smoker learns to deal with the behavioral, social and psychological aspects. If nothing is done to address this issues, after discontinuing the use of the medication, the smoker will relapse.
4. Not used long enough. In a short period of time, most smokers have released their "habit" cigarettes and feel like a non-smoker but they are still at high risk for relapse but they will discontinue their medication because they think they've got smoking beat. Or the individual may experience side effects and simply stop the medication instead of changing the regiment to lower the risk of side effects.
5. Not having strong motivation to quit. Quitting can be one of the hardest things a smoker ever accomplished and it takes the right kind of motivation for the smoker to stick it out when the going gets tough instead of caving in and reaching for a smoke.
6. Assuming that because one kind of medication didn't work, the others won't either. Often it takes someone that is familiar with the medications to make adjustments to fit a particular individuals situation. for some smokers, a combination of several medications is suggested to increase the effectiveness.
7. Not even giving them a chance. Some individuals are concerned about the long term effects of medications or that they may become addicted. Discuss these concerns with your physician.
8. Doesn't make sense to take a little bit of your drug to overcome the withdrawals of your drug. Inhaling nicotine is the faster way to get the highest dosage of nicotine to the brain. None of the over the counter nicotine replacement products can match the speed and dosage level of smoking which is why there is little risk of becoming addicted to OTC nicotine replacement products. Nicotine spray which is by prescription only is an exception and should be monitored by a physician because it is closest to inhalation, in delivering the rapid dose of nicotine
I believe that the physical addiction to nicotine is over estimated when individuals are trying to quit and there are effective medications to help with these withdrawal symptoms BUT I believe that the physical addiction is UNDER rated when it comes to relapse prevention. Inhaling nicotine causes structural brain changes that are still there even after a smoker quits and having even one cigarette is risking a full relapse. Remember, you're a puff away from a pack a day.

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