Medicines To Help You Quit
Medicines To Help You Quit
Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system can get tobacco cessation medications such as over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) and prescription medications through the VA pharmacy with a prescription from your primary care provider or another health care professional. TRICARE does not currently offer its beneficiaries over-the-counter NRTs or prescription medications.
Use this dropdown menu to get information about different kinds of medicines to help you quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
Used correctly, medicines can double your chances of quitting and staying quit, especially if you are nicotine dependent. While medicines alone can’t do all the work, they can make quitting and nicotine withdrawal less difficult.
Some medicines have nicotine in them and are called NRTs. Others do not contain nicotine, but they reduce nicotine cravings or help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
You can get some of these medicines over the counter without a prescription. For others, you need a prescription from your doctor.
Information on this site is not a recommendation or prescription. It is not a substitute for the advice of a doctor or pharmacist.
Nicotine Gum, Patch, Inhaler, Spray, and Lozenge (with nicotine)
Products like nicotine gum or patches give you low doses of nicotine to replace the nicotine from cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. NRT can help with nicotine withdrawal and lessen your urge to smoke.
You need a prescription to buy a nicotine inhaler or nasal spray. But you can buy nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and nicotine lozenges over the counter.
Thinking About Using NRT?
- Be patient. Using NRT correctly can take some getting used to. Follow the instructions and give it time.
- Don’t mix tobacco and NRT. Your goal is to quit smoking or chewing for good, so use NRT only when you are ready to quit. If you do slip up, don’t give up on NRT. Keep trying.
- Start out using enough medicine. Use the full amount of NRT suggested in the instructions. Don’t skip or forget to use your NRT after you first stop smoking or chewing.
- Slowly use less and less medicine. Don’t stop completely until you’re ready. You can set up a schedule with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Keep some of the medicine with you after you stop using it. This way, you’ll be ready for an emergency.
Other Medicines (with no nicotine)
Medicines like Zyban and CHANTIX* contain no nicotine, but they can help with withdrawal when you quit and can lessen the urge to smoke or chew. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if these medicines may be right for you. You may need a prescription for these medicines.
* NOTE: Serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have occurred in patients being treated with CHANTIX. All patients being treated with CHANTIX should be observed for neuropsychiatric symptoms, including changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior. Patients attempting to quit smoking with CHANTIX and their families and caregivers should be alerted about the need to monitor for these symptoms and to report such symptoms immediately to the patient’s health care provider. CHANTIX should not be used by personnel operating aircraft (including aircrew and air traffic controllers) and missile crew members.