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Brought to you by Southern DHB and WellSouth primary health network

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Medications that help you stop smoking

The approved stop smoking medicines that are funded and available in New Zealand are:

The approved stop smoking medicines that are NOT funded but available over the counter are:

Nicotine Patch

Strengths:

21mg, 14mg, 7mg – to meet individual needs.

Using it:

Good points:

  • Easy to use and discreet.
  • Gives a constant level of nicotine throughout the day.

 Things to think about:

  • Patches must not be cut or put on skin that is broken, burnt or inflamed.
  • Wait 10 minutes after a bath or shower before putting your patch on.
  • Wash your hands after handling the patch to remove all traces of nicotine.
  • If you have any sleep disturbance or vivid dreams remove the patch before bed.
  • Throw away used patches safely out of reach of children and pets.

 Cost and availability:

  • FREE when enrolled with the Southern Stop Smoking Service.
  • Available on prescription from GP or from any community pharmacy at a cost of $5.00 per product (patch, gum, lozenge).

 How long do I take it?

  • About 8 weeks for a high dose, then 4 more weeks for medium and low doses.

 Not suitable for:

  • Children under the age of 12 years.
  • People who are allergic to sticking plaster or have a severe skin reaction to it.

 Further information:

  • For pregnant and breastfeeding women, NRT is always safer than continued smoking. The oral products (gum, lozenge, spray) are the first choice.  If patches need to be used, take them off overnight.  During breastfeeding, ideally use the gum or lozenge after feeding.

Nicotine Gum

Strengths:

4mg and 2mg – to meet individual needs.

Using it:

  • Use the gum 20 minutes before you would usually have a smoke.
  • Chew the gum until you get a peppery taste, then rest it between your gum and cheek.
  • Repeat this process every few minutes for 30 minutes then discard safely out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not chew continuously like normal gum.
  • Can be used in combination with patches.
  • Watch a video on how to use the nicotine gum

Good points:

  • Discreet product to use.
  • Looks like regular gum.
  • Available in mint and fruit flavour.

 Things to think about:

  • If not used as per instructions can cause indigestion.
  • The taste can take some time to get used to.
  • Avoid eating and drinking while using the product.

 Cost and availability:

  • FREE when enrolled with the Southern Stop Smoking Service
  • Available on prescription from GP or from any community pharmacy at a cost of $5.00 per product (patch, gum, lozenge).

 How long do I take it?

  • 8 to 12 weeks.

 Not suitable for:

  • Children under the age of 12 years.
  • People who have false teeth or  braces as the gum may stick.

Further information:

  • Okay to use if pregnant and breastfeeding but discuss risks and benefits with health professional or stop smoking coach.

Nicotine Lozenge

Strengths:

2mg and 1 mg – to meet individual needs.

 Using it:

  • Use the lozenge 20 minutes before you would usually have a smoke.
  • Suck the lozenge until you get a peppery taste, then rest it between your gum and cheek.
  • Repeat this process every few minutes for 30 minutes then discard safely out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not chew or swallow lozenge.
  • Can be used in combination with patches.
  • Watch a video on how to use the nicotine lozenge

Good points:

  • Discreet product to use.
  • Fast acting.

 Things to think about:

  • Avoid eating and drinking whilst using product.
  • Can cause hiccups and excess saliva.

 Cost and availability:

  • FREE when enrolled with the Southern Stop Smoking Service.
  • Available on prescription from GP or from any community pharmacy at a cost of $5.00 per product (patch, gum, lozenge).

 Not suitable for:

  • Children under the age of 12 years.

 Further information:

  • Okay to use if pregnant and breastfeeding but discuss risks and benefits with health professional or stop smoking coach.

Nicotine Mouth Spray

Strength:

150 x 1mg doses per dispenser.

 Using it:

  • The spray releases a 1mg liquid dose of nicotine into the mouth.
  • Should be sprayed into the inside of the cheek, avoid the lips and do not spray towards back of throat.
  • Spray but DO NOT inhale at the same time.
  • Wait a minute or so before swallowing.
  • Can be used in combination with patches, gum, lozenge.

 Good points:

  • Discreet product to use.
  • Fast acting.
  • Easy to use.
  • Faster acting than some other NRT products.

 Things to think about:

  • Avoid eating and drinking whilst using product.
  • Can cause hiccups and a hot sensation in the mouth.

 Cost and availability:

  • This product is not funded. 
  • Can be purchased over the counter from supermarkets or community pharmacies for the normal retail price.

 Not suitable for:

  • Children under the age of 12 years.

 Further information:

  • Okay to use if pregnant and breastfeeding but discuss risks and benefits with health professional or stop smoking coach.

Nicotine Inhalator

Strength:

15 mg inhalator

 Using it:

  • The plastic mouthpiece comes with nicotine cartridges which are changed at regular intervals.
  • Puff on it like a cigarette and the nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.
  • Can be used in combination with patches, gum, lozenge.
  • Watch a video on how to use the nicotine inhalator

Strength:

15 mg inhalator

 Using it:

  • The plastic mouthpiece comes with nicotine cartridges which are changed at regular intervals.
  • Puff on it like a cigarette and the nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.
  • Can be used in combination with patches, gum, lozenge.
  • Video about how to use Nicotine Inhalator is available below

Good points:

  • Mimics the hand to mouth action of a cigarette.
  • Small, so easy to carry around in a pocket or bag.
  • Convenient as can be used in public or indoor spaces, such as the workplace, as there is no smoke or vapour released.  Nothing goes into the lungs!
  • It can be used during those strong urges to smoke (at work, at night, when busy).

 Things to think about:

  • It can be quite strong at first and can hit the back of the throat.
  • The cartridges should be kept at room temperature before use, to help deliver the nicotine more quickly.
  • Avoid eating and drinking while using the product.

 Free and available:

  • This product is not funded.
  • Can be purchased over the counter from supermarkets or community pharmacies for the normal retail price.

 Not suitable for:

  • Children under the age of 12 years.

 Further information:

  • Okay to use if pregnant and breastfeeding but discuss risks and benefits with health professional or stop smoking coach.

Varenicline Pfizer (previously Champix)

Using it:

  • Oral tablet.
  • You can start by taking Varenicline Pfizer for at least one week before you stop smoking or stop smoking between 8 and 35 days of using Varenicline Pfizer.
  • Important to complete the 12-week course.

 Good Points:

  • Easy to use.
  • Twice daily dosing.
  • Can reduce the urge to smoke and remove the pleasure associated with smoking.

 Things to think about:

  • Should not be used with other stop smoking medications.
  • Common adverse effects may include nausea, abnormal dreams and sleep disturbance.
  • If you experience changes in mood or behaviour, stop taking Varenicline Pfizer and contact your health care worker immediately.

 Free and available:

  • One 3 month course fully funded every year (subject to Special Authority Criteria) on prescription from your GP.

 Not suitable for:

  • Children/young people under the age of 18 years.
  • Do NOT use if pregnant, breastfeeding or allergic to it.

Zyban (Bupropion)

Using it:

  • Oral tablet.
  • 712 week course.

Good Points:

  • Easy to use.
  • Twice daily dosing.
  • Reduces the urge to smoke and other withdrawal symptoms.

Things to think about:

  • Common side effects include dry mouth, insomnia, headaches, rash.

Cost and availability:

  • Fully funded on prescription from your GP.

Not suitable for:

  • Children/young people under the age of 18 years.
  • Do NOT use if:
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Have an eating disorder
    • Allergic to it
    • If taking Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI) within 14 days
    • Have had seizures
    • Have central nervous system tumour
    • Are quitting alcohol or sleeping pills at the same time
    • Take caution if you have liver or kidney disease

Norpress (Nortriptyline)

Using it:

  • Oral tablet.
  • 12 week course.

Good Points:

  • Easy to use.
  • Work up to 3 to 4 pills daily.
  • Reduces the urge to smoke and other withdrawal symptoms.

Things to think about:

  • Common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation.

Cost and availability:

  • Fully funded on prescription from your GP.

Not suitable for:

  • Children/young people under the age of 18 years.
  • Do NOT use if:
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Have had a recent heart attack
    • Allergic to it
    • Have taken Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI) within 14 days