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Help and advice on quitting smoking

Soluble nicotine tablets (Microtabs)

What are the advantages of microtabs?

  • The sublingual tablets reduce or prevent weight gain after smoking cessation, like the patch, gum and other nicotine substitutes, provided they the right dose is used and for a sufficient time.
  • Microtabs are fast acting, like nicotine gum, but the microtabs are more discreet than the gums and simpler to use.
  • Microtabs rapidly relieve irritability, food cravings, mood swings, concentration difficulties, the urge to smoke and other inconveniences that may occur in smoking cessation.
  • Microtabs can greatly decrease or even completely eliminate these symptoms, provided they are used at the right dose. Therefore one should always choose the dose of drugs using a nicotine dependence test.
  • Microtabs can be combined with other medications, such as the patch to increase your protection against cravings, snacking, mood swings and other symptoms.
  • Scientific studies have proven that microtabs (and other NRT) increase your chances of successfully quitting smoking. The Swiss drug authority, Swissmedic, officially recognizes the efficacy of sublingual tablets, listing them amongst drugs to be given during smoking cessation.

What are the side effects?

About 20% of patients treated with microtabs experience side effects; these are generally mild and limited to the duration of treatment. Some symptoms such as dizziness, headache and insomnia, may also be due to withdrawal symptoms that appear as part of smoking cessation.

The following adverse reactions have been reported: mouth ulcers, increased heart rate, heartburn, nausea, dizziness, hiccups, irritation of the mouth or throat.

How to use the tablets?

  • First and foremost, you should know your degree of physical dependence on nicotine, for example by using a very short test (three questions), then return to this page.
  • If you are highly dependent, we recommend that you take 16 to 24 tablets daily (2 mg tablets, maximum 30 tablets throughout the day).
  • If you are only slightly dependent, you should take 8 to 12 tablets daily.
  • You can also combine these pills with a patch in order to be protected against withdrawal symptoms throughout the day.
  • Place the tablet under your tongue and let it melt for 20 minutes. The perceived effect varies greatly from person to person. The treatment should last from 8 weeks to 3 months. If you feel that the tablets do not suit you, talk to your doctor about the possibility of another nicotine replacement. If you stop all treatment, this will decrease your chances of success.

Tips from smoking cessation specialist doctors

  • Avoid drinking coffee or fruit juice (which are acid) before and while taking the tablets, as these drinks reduce drug absorption.
  • Do not chew or swallow the tablets, as this reduces their effectiveness. Let the microtabs dissolve under the tongue.
  • Do not stop treatment prematurely as this will decrease your chances of success.