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Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is preparations containing nicotine that are used in place of cigarettes as an aid to stopping smoking. Nicotine products are available in the form of sublingual tablets, chewing gum, skin patches, nasal spray, or inhaler. Side effects may include nausea, headache, palpitations, cold or flu-like symptoms, hiccups, and vivid dreaming. Nicotine replacement therapy should be used as part of complete package of measures, including the determination to succeed.
Nicotine is a drug in tobacco which acts as a stimulant and is responsible for dependence on tobacco. After inhalation, the nicotine in tobacco smoke passes rapidly into the bloodstream. The drug acts on the nervous system until broken down by the liver and excreted in the urine.
Nicotine acts primarily on the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary body activities such as the heart rate. In habitual smokers, the drug increases the heart rate and narrows the blood vessels, the combined effect of which is to raise blood pressure. Nicotine also simulates the central nervous system, thereby reducing fatigue, increasing alertness, and improving concentration.
Stopping smoking often causes withdrawal symptom such as headaches and difficulty in concentrating. Nicotine replacement therapy, such as the use of nicotine skin patches and chewing gum can be effective in aiding withdrawal from nicotine.