Combination therapy means using two types of nicotine products, such as the nicotine patch and nicotine gum, at the same time. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before using combination therapy. They may recommend combination therapy if you have had cravings or not succeeded in quitting when using a single nicotine replacement product in the past.
Research suggests that using combination therapy increases your chances of quitting compared to using one product alone, and that it is better at suppressing cravings. Some experts advise that most addicted smokers would benefit from using combination therapy. Research suggests that suppressing cravings on your quit date in particular may increase the chance of success. However, living in a smoky home and having quick and easy access to cigarettes can work against you, even when you use combination therapy.
The approved combination for use in Australia are:
nicotine patch (15 mg, 16 hour patch; OR 21 mg, 24 hour patch)
nicotine gum (2mg) OR lozenge (1.5 or 2mg) OR inhalator OR mouth spray
The product information recommends using at least four pieces of gum per day, and no more than 12 pieces per day. The Consumer Medicine Information sheet that comes with the patches or gum will tell you how long you should use them and how to stop using them.
The 15 mg and 21 mg patches are available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), making them much cheaper. For more information, read Buying the patch.