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Co-Inventor of Nicotine Patch, 84, Dies of Congestive Heart Failure

Dr. Murray Jarvik, a pioneer researcher of smoking addiction and co-inventor of the nicotine patch, has died. He was 84.

Jarvik died May 8 at his home in Santa Monica, California, after a long struggle with congestive heart failure, said Mark Wheeler, a Health Sciences spokesman at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In the early 1990s, Jarvik, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and pharmacology, and Jed Rose, then a UCLA postdoctoral fellow and currently the director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University, invented a transdermal patch that delivers nicotine directly into the body to help smokers fight the urge to light up.

Jarvik's research into the absorption of tobacco through the skin began with studies of farmhands who harvest it in the South.

When Jarvik and Rose could not get approval to run experiments on human subjects, they decided to test their idea on themselves.

"We put the tobacco on our skin and waited to see what would happen," Jarvik recalled in an article in UCLA Magazine. "Our heart rates increased, adrenaline began pumping, all the things that happen to smokers."

In 1992, the patch became available in the United States by prescription for smoking cessation. It was approved for over-the-counter sale four years later.