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Following on from a couple of (no-so) recent reviews many of you will know that I have been trying to kick the evil habit of nicotine. Due to my inability to have any form of willpower at all I have been relying on nicotine products which have been prescribed to me by my nurse. And after my recent completely disastrous experiment with Champix in which the side effects had me as a suicidal manic depressive with urges to do all sorts of silly things including driving my car into a tree at 70mph, I needed something else quite urgently. Aside from nearly getting myself sectioned I learned an important lesson in life; be very careful with any medication that can mess with your brain! As a result of this I am back on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), but because my smoking habit is at the very least much improved if not completely nullified it was decided that I'd go onto the 2mg lozenges rather than the 4mg lozenges, and the type that the doctors prescribe is a different brand to the NiQuitin's I was using previously. To be fair I am gradually winning this battle against the weed as is shown by the fact that I managed to pull a merit in the Bishop's Award which is a singing exam set by the RCSM; if I go back to January I couldn't manage much more than a croak.
===Nicotine Replacement Therapy===
Nicotine replacement therapy is one of the many possible ways to stop smoking. Basically nicotine addiction is what happens when you're an eejit like me who started smoking, because the nicotine in cigarettes gets into the bloodstream and stimulates the brain. It is also highly addictive and it is very rare that you will meet a regular smoker who is not addicted to nicotine. When the nicotine levels in the blood fall then the smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms which can include but is not restricted to irritability, restlessness, dizziness and feeling like absolute crap. This means that many smokers will try to quit, and often seriously want to quit, but time and time again will fail as either the cravings or the withdrawal symptoms get too much for them for one reason or another.This is where NRT comes in. Nicotine replacement therapy is designed as a way to get nicotine into the bloodstream without smoking. This therefore reduces the cravings for a cigarette as the only cravings will be habitual ones which come from smoking being a long term stress reliever or smoking at particular time, and it also reduces the withdrawal symptoms as these are caused by the lack of nicotine in the bloodstream. This is not a medication that will stop you smoking, will power is still required but it is a way to make the quitting process easier and to enable you to be less likely to fail.
===How to take===
As with the NiQuitin lozenges the idea is to take a lozenge whenever you need a cigarette instead of smoking, ideally this will be every one or two hours and you can't take more than 15 of them in one day. Most people will use between 8 and 12. You do not however suck this like you would a normal lozenge; that is a fantastic way to give yourself a mild nicotine overdose and make yourself rather dizzy and sick. Not a mistake I made with these, but I did manage it on the NiQuitin lozenges previously. Instead you suck it until the taste becomes strong and then tuck it between your teeth and your cheek; this way the nicotine can get into your system through the lining of your mouth without you making yourself ill. I would also point out here that no matter how many cigarettes you were smoking a day these are a medication and a nicotine overdose can have life threatening consequences, so although they may seem like minty lozenges you need to keep track of how many you are taking.
It is to be fair about as simple as it's going to get with any form of medication. The only things are that you are not to take them if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or if you are a non smoker (well duh!). In addition you need to consult your doctor if you are pregnant, under 18, have heart problems or are taking any other medication. Personally I would suggest seeing your doctor anyway as you can get them far cheaper through a prescription.
These lozenges are available in 1mg or 2mg strength and which one you have depends on how many a day you are or were smoking. Officially you are meant to be taking these 2mg lozenges if you were smoking more than 20-30 cigarettes a day, but considering that was more or less the reason I was on the 4mg lozenge it seemed useless to try to bring it down to 1mg and skip a step as it was obvious it would only make me grumpy and unhappy. And currently the last thing my nurse wants to do is make me grumpy and unhappy considering how she epically failed to notice that I was having a very negative reaction to the Champix medication. Honestly, if you are smoking that amount a day I would recommend starting on the 4mg, as I don't think these would have held me had I been started on them. I'd have been smoking at the same time. The packaging is the same whether you buy them yourself or whether you have them prescribed to you by a nurse and is fairly plain - blue and green with a picture of the tablets, how many are in the box and the flavour. Inside the box are several plastic and foil strips which again has the product name, dosage and flavour on it and a little piece of paper telling you how to take them and what to watch out for in terms of side effects. It's basically a very stereotypical medication.
The first impression when taking these is a fairly sweet and minty taste. I actually found them sickly when I first started taking them previously as I was moved down from the 4mg. The NiQuitin has as a very strong mint flavour that's akin to a strong adult mint and has somewhat of a kick to it, whereas these are more like the mint flavour that you'd find in a child's sweet. By no means is it unpleasant, but definitely originally I found them distasteful because I was used to the much bolder taste of the NiQuitin. These don't have the kick to them that the NiQuitin did, and they don't give you a burning sensation in the back of your throat although that may be because they are using a much lower dose of nicotine. When I was originally taking them as a downgrade from the 4mg I was also put off by the slightly more slimy texture they seemed to have, but again I think that is only in contrast to the NiQuitin which are a much rougher texture as taking them since being on Champix and not having the NiQuitin to compare to in such an immediate fashion this isn't an issue I have noticed. In actual fact I've found that I now actually prefer these ones to the NiQuitin, and when I tried one of the NiQuitin tablets recently I found them too overbearing. It seems to depend on which one you are used to at the time.
===Does it work===
As with my previous reviews on the nicotine replacement products I will have to say yes, particularly if you have already cut down massively on smoking or are using them as a downgrade to a stronger product such as the 4mg tablets. However, on both the occasions when I have used these I have found the urge to smoke to be much stronger and I think that if I had started on these rather than the 4mg lozenges I wouldn't have stood a chance. As with the NiQuitin tablets the relief from both the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms is instantaneous, but they don't seem to be quite as effective. This does make sense when you consider that they have half the dose of nicotine in them though. Either way although they quite nicely ensure that I'm not ratty, irritable or flying off the walls at people it doesn't take long before I start getting twitchy again unlike the NiQuitin tablets where the effects lasted quite a long time.
I am therefore unsure about the claims that these are suitable for someone smoking over 20 a day because I honestly don't think that would have worked for me. Granted I would advise you to go with whatever your nurse or healthcare professional suggests but I think mine was very sensible in starting me at least on the stronger ones as I truly don't think I'd have stood a chance. And if I had I'd have been overdosing on these to the high heavens to achieve it.
Now here is a welcome change; a stop smoking drug that has caused almost no side effects in me! This has to be a miracle in itself when you consider how nauseous, dizzy and bloated (not to mention the wind) the NiQuitin made me and then how much of suicidal maniac the Champix made me. I finally seem to have found something that actually agrees with me. This is probably due to the lower doses of nicotine in each tablet but I really don't mind - this is the first occasion I've found something that works albeit not quite as well, and doesn't upset me in some disturbing way.The potential side effects are more or less the same as the NiQuitin range. Potentially you can suffer nausea, dizziness, flatulence, bloating and a couple of other gastrointestinal side effects but it's nothing drastic and you are far less likely to develop them with these for the simple reason that they are a lower strength. There is also the potential for mouth problems which I have had to a small degree with the nicotine in the tablets irritating the gums, mouth and tongue. Providing they are used correctly this shouldn't be a massive problem as this is the reason you are meant to move the lozenges between the two sides of your mouth. I have found that the left side of my mouth is what has become slightly sore and inflamed and this is simply because that is where I tend to stick the lozenge and forget about it! Again, I'm an eejit and so do what I say not what I do. Amusingly the nurse did say that I must have the constitution of a mule as most people do tend to get this soreness and inflammation much earlier than I have!
This is a product I would happily recommend but I would suggest using it as a stepping stone rather than as your original attempt to quit if you have been a heavy smoker because whatever the manufacturers say I do not believe they are strong enough to counteract the original pangs of giving up smoking. From my experience I would suggest starting on the NiQuitin 4mg and then moving down to these once you feel comfortable, or the nurse suggests it's the right rime. I would also very much recommend you going through your GP for two reasons. Firstly the emotional support they give you is invaluable, and the fact that you have to go back and see them means that you know you are going to get a hammering from them if you have been smoking giving you that extra incentive to stick to your guns. Secondly, it is much cheaper if you go through your GP. Granted £10-£12 depending where you buy them from for 72 isn't going to break the bank and is much cheaper that £6-7 for a packet of 20 cigarettes, but if you pay for your prescriptions then it is £7.40 in my area and I'm not one to sniff at a repeated £3 saving.
As an added hint, if you are using them as a stepping stone in an ongoing process of giving up then I have found it very handy to have a packet of Trebor extra strong mints by me as well and then I can alternate between the nicotine lozenges and the regular mints. In this way I am also cutting down on the amount of nicotine coming into my system whilst trying to fool my brain that it is getting nicotine.
Quitting smoking is by far the best decision I have ever made, I've come this far and I have no intention of backing down now. I have my voice back, more expendable income than I've had in a long time and I don't reek of stale smoke anymore. Now all I need to do is persuade my boyfriend that he needs to quit too... I cannot recommend quitting enough; it's a life saver on the wallet front, on the health front and on the social front. For years I tried to blame the coughing, the croaking and the bank balance on anything and everything but the fags, six months down the line I can see how wrong I was. The only thing left for me to say is that you know you should, these products can really help you so what's stopping you?
Last year, I made an attempt to quit smoking, and had some moderate success, using the nicorette inhalator device, a kind of plastic tube that mimics the action of smoking . I did quite well, until the stress of having to meet my boyfriends parents led me to have 'just the one' to calm my nerves in the days beforehand , 'just the one' quickly paving way to 'just one more, and then I really will stop again'.
Roll on to december, and I was smoking just as much as before -but I still wanted to kick the habit, so made it my new years resolution . Just before new years, I went shopping and purchased a 36 pack of 2MG Nicotinell Lozenges , for £7. These were significantly cheaper than the inhalator, and would not mimic the actions of smoking, and I hoped they would also stop me wanting to eat more .
Roll on new years day, and I opened the packet and read the instuctions . Simple enough really - use a lozenge every one or 2 hours, pop it into your mouth at the side, and let it dissolve, switching side of the mouth every so often . Don't chew it or crunch it, and as with any product of this kind, it advises you to consult your doctor if you have any illnesses, just to be on the safe side.
The Lozenges themselves come in a blister pack, and are easy to pop ouit. I was surprised by how large they were, about the size of an extra strong mint. They were a pure white in colour and smooth surfaced, and popping it into my mouth I got a mild flavour of spearmint. As I allowed this to dissolve in my mouth, switching it from side to side, I read the rest of the instructions, which were not really to in depth, but provided a suggestion for how to cut down on the lozenges in gradual stages, and also said not to eat or drink while dissolving the lozenge as it may affect it's effectiveness. Easy Peasy, or so I thought .
And so it was , at least at first . The flavour of these was not at all unpleasant, and the first 20 or so minutes passed along fine . As the lozenge got smaller though, the taste began to get a bit wearing, and I could detect a nasty subtle undertaste . My tongue began to feel a bit dry also, but I persevered until the lozenge was dissolved, and then had a drink of water.
With further lozenges, I began to get a little annoyed at not being able to drink whilst using them - perhaps because in my normal routine, I have a cig with a nice cup of tea . A cig only takes five minutes to smoke, and I do that while the tea cools. Half an hour is a lot longer than 5 minutes though, and I found I actually began to get irritable about wanting my cup of tea, on a couple of occasions giving up on the half sucked lozenge and binning it so I could have my cuppa.
I also found it annoying having to dissolve it slowly when talking - I worried the thing was going to fall out of my mouth, or that I would look rude talking with my mouth full . Because these need to be held at the side of the mouth, between the cheek and teeth, rather than directly on the tongue, holding these in place was tricky, and looking in the mirror I could see that I had an expression of gormless absorption on my face - not a good look .
I guess the key issue is if these worked or not . To be fair they did reduce my cravings for a smoke, but did not reduce them entirely . I actually found them frustrating at times, which did nothing for my stress levels, and made me desire a ciggie to relax. I also hit a stuimbling block due to heavy snow this week meaning I was unable to buy more as the shops were shut, so I had to start ekeing out the ones I had left to last me, meaning I was not able to take the full dosage the last 3 days, which has left me increasingly irritable, but which can't be blamed on the product - it's just nature attempting to hijack my resolutions .
These do work , rather well, and are pretty inexpensive . However, while they work, I don't feel they are the best nicotine replacement product for me personally, and when I can wade through the snow to the shops, I think I'll look into other options that deliver the nicotine faster to my system .
I would recommend these, but only if you have the patience to dissolve the things for the full half hour . I don't sadly, and found the flavour got sickly after a while, so I'm giving these a personal rating of 3 stars .
Well this is my review on the patches made by the same company. I know it isnt the gum im reviewing, however it is in the same category. I suggested Dooyoo added it to their list however they werent very interested therefore I decided to put this review up as most people wanting to give up smoking may also be interested in these so here goes.
Well I still havent stopped smoking and to be honest these patches didn't help much at all. I smoke extremely heavily and would like to stop, however I havent found any replacement therapies which have helped.
These patches come in three different strenghts. 21mg, 14mg and 7mg. These patches are the strongest brand on the market at the moment which can make them seem more appealing to heavy smokers, however I wouldnt advice them for light smokers. Obviously the more you smoke in the day the higher the dose you start with. I would then advice you to cut down on the patches every two months. Also ensure that you dont smoke while wearing one of these patches as you can be liable to nicotine poisoning which can make you extremely ill. If you do overdose on nicotine I would advice you to take the patch off immediately and consult your local GP or pharmacy.
I however found these patches terrbile. They gave me a terrbile rash and I found that they didnt stay on during excercise and in bed. They are small and discreet though which is a plus, however due to the price and my bad experiences with them I would strongly advice anyone not to use them and to firstly consult your GP before trying them as a doctor will be able to advice you more precisely.
Well Worth A Try! - Advantages: Minimal health risks, Nice mint taste, Safer substitute compared to ANY form of tobacco - Disadvantages: Cost a small fortune , No actual nicotine rush, *HIGHLY ADDICTIVE FOR ME*
You may have seen my previous opinion on Nicorette gum. I liked it and it helped me. The downside to it was that I found it difficult to stop using the gum (you can chew a piece for so long that you end up always chewing !!) I did not feel that I could stop the chewing immediately as I would start smoking again but I felt that I needed a change before the chewing became too much of a habit. The first time I tried the lozenges, I found it difficult to make them last long enough. However, there is a knack to it just like the gum. In fact, you can make them last 45 mibutes if you want to - they don't have sugar in them so your teeth should be ok !! The flavour is nice and minty - you could be eating a normal sweet apart from the nice nicotine buzz that comes from them. Do not think that they will be the unpleasant version of a mint (the gum is a slightly unpleasant version of a much nicer product). The makers say that they are intended for light smokers (which I was). However, reckon even heavy smokers could use these as their final stage in giving up... Finally, most chemists now have them on the shelves - you don't even have to ask for them - no more embarrassment of feeling like a complete wimp cos you can't give up without drugs... give them a go - its better than smoking!
Nicotinell mint flavour lozenges provide an effective aid to combat the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms caused by giving up smoking. Nicotinell lozenges contain 1mg of nicotine but provide the same level of nicotine as 2mg nicotine gum.