Nicotine Patch for ADHD

Patient

Q: I suffer from ADD, but I have discovered that the 14 mg nicotine patch gives me complete relief. What are the risks of continuing this off-label use of the patch?

I was diagnosed with ADD (predominantly inattentive) a few years ago. The doctor prescribed Adderall, but it only made me anxious and failed to serve its purpose of helping me focus. I switched to Ritalin with the same results. I quit these drugs after only a few months, and I stopped seeing the doctor.

I decided to try nicotine replacement therapies for this purpose after reading about it online. I tried tobacco when I was younger, but I've never been a smoker. Nicotine gum worked but was frustrating, so I switched to the patch, starting with 7 mg and settling on 14 mg. I've been using it for about a month with no side effects, and I've been amazed by how perfectly it seems to fit my needs.

Given the large benefits, I'm willing to incur some risks as long as they're not too extreme. This seems appropriate because there would be risks with any drug. I know the patch is better than tobacco because of the absence of carcinogens. But what should I be worried about?

Doctor

A:   This question is currently in queue and will be answered shortly by one of our doctors. In the meantime you may browse our library of answered questions by clicking here.

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