A burning question for many… Can I use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches whilst fasting?

Answer: YES!!!

According to the ahnaaf, the usool is that anything which enters the mouth and crosses the throat and anything which enters the stomach directly or via a large hole or orifice during fasting hours, will render the fast fasid/invalidated.

It is undisputed that rubbing oil on your skin during fasting is permitted, yet some of this oil enters the body and possibly even the blood stream through the vascular system in the skin. Why is rubbing oil still permitted? Because of the rule I’ve just stated above. The oil that penetrates through the skin and potentially enters the body will be through the pores in the skin and according to this rule, they are not large holes or orifices to the throat or stomach, hence it is permitted to massage oil anywhere on the body!
Similarly it is permissible to use creams, lotions, gels, skin medication for the same reason.

Now NRT patches.. What are they and how do they work? They are a matrix patch containing nicotine which when applied to the skin, this nicotine is released regularly over a period of time ranging from 15 to 24 hours. This nicotine is absorbed via the pores in the skin, into the vascular system and blood stream and is transported around the body where the nicotine then undergoes its pharmacological and pharmacokinetics processes and saturates the nicotine receptors in the body, thereby reducing the cravings to smoke cigarettes.

The crux? Nicotine being absorbed through pores in the skin does not invalidate the fast based on the principle above!

Therefore use of NRT patches do not break the fast!

Similarly, pain relief patches such as fentanyl etc are also permitted. Basically, anything applied to the skin does not break the fast.

This rule is stated by all the classical scholars and books including Bahrur Ra’ik, Allama Ibn Abideen’s Radd Ul Muhtar, Durr al Mukhtar et al!

Ps: same principle upon which eye drops is permitted during fasting without breaking the fast!

Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin