July 4, 1996 in Nation/World

Nicotine Patch Goes On Sale Over The Counter

Associated Press

A nicotine patch to help smokers kick their habit will go on sale in stores this month, after the government approved its sale without a prescription.

But Nicotrol by prescription hasn’t proved a cure-all for the cravings smokers experience as they try to quit. And the over-the-counter version won’t either, the Food and Drug Administration said.

About 20 percent of smokers who tried non-prescription Nicotrol in tests succeeded in quitting for a month - about the same success rate as various other anti-smoking aids.

“If you still have cravings after six weeks, check with your doctor,” said Dr. Debra Bowen, the FDA’s director of over-the-counter drugs. “It can take a couple of tries for people to quit.”

Smokers began buying nicotine chewing gum over the counter in April. But they also have called for non-prescription patches to send nicotine straight into the bloodstream.

The FDA approved Nicotrol on Wednesday, giving McNeil Consumer Products a jump on its competitors with one-dose nicotine patches that smokers are supposed to apply once a day for six weeks.

McNeil said smokers can buy the first non-prescription Nicotrol on July 18. An exact price wasn’t named, but McNeil estimated consumers will spend just under $30 a week.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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