Generic Name: Nicotine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is nicotine used for?

This medication can help you quit smoking by replacing the nicotine in cigarettes. The nicotine in tobacco is an important part of cigarette addiction. When you stop smoking, your nicotine levels drop quickly. This drop can cause withdrawal symptoms such as craving tobacco, nervousness, irritability, headache, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. Using the inhaler can replace the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking.

Stopping smoking is hard and your chance of success is best when you are ready and have made a commitment to quit. Nicotine replacement products are part of a total stop-smoking program that includes behavior change, counseling, and support. Smoking causes lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and live longer.

How should I take nicotine?

It is very important to stop smoking completely while using this nicotine product. Insert a cartridge into the mouthpiece and inhale the medication by quickly puffing on the mouthpiece for four 5-minute sessions or continually for about 20 minutes. Although using the inhaler is like smoking a cigarette, you do not need to inhale deeply as you would a cigarette for the medicine to work. The medicine works in the mouth and throat, not in the lungs.

Avoid acidic food and drink (e.g., citrus fruit, coffee, juices, carbonated drinks) for 15 minutes before inhaling this medication.

After using the inhaler for a total of 20 minutes, remove the used cartridge and throw it away out of reach of children and pets. The mouthpiece is reusable. Clean with soap and water.

When you quit smoking, start using a nicotine cartridge whenever you crave a cigarette. Usually, you will use at least 6 cartridges each day for the first 3 to 6 weeks or as directed by your doctor. Do not use more than 16 cartridges in a day. Your doctor may direct you to use this product on a regular schedule as well as at times when you have the urge to smoke. Regular use can help your body get used to the medication and decrease side effects such as sore throat. The best dose for you is the dose that decreases the urge to smoke without side effects from too much nicotine. Follow your doctor’s orders carefully. Your dose will need to be adjusted to your needs, including smoking history and medical condition.

After you have stopped smoking and you have reached the best dose and schedule for you, continue at that dose. Usually, after about 3 months, your doctor will help you gradually reduce your dose until you are no longer smoking and no longer need nicotine replacement.

This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as tobacco cravings, nervousness, irritability, headache) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

Tell your doctor if you have not been able to quit smoking after using this product for 4 weeks. Some smokers are unsuccessful the first time they try to quit. You may need to stop using this product and try again later. Many people who cannot quit the first time are successful the next time.

How do I store nicotine?

Nicotine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store nicotine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of nicotine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush nicotine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using nicotine?

Before using Nicotine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Nicotine or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking, including vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-fee If you become pregnant while using Nicotine, call your doctor.

Is it safe to take nicotine during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication.

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of nicotine?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • blisters inside your mouth;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest;
  • extreme weakness or dizziness;
  • severe nausea and vomiting;
  • bronchospasm (wheezing, tightness in your chest, trouble breathing).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild dizziness;
  • dry mouth, upset stomach, burping, or hiccups;
  • muscle or joint pain;
  • mouth or throat soreness;
  • changes in taste;
  • headache.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with nicotine?

Nicotine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Before using nicotine, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • imipramine (Tofranil);
  • oxazepam (Serax);
  • propranolol (Inderal), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), or prazosin (Minipress);
  • theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theochron, Theolair);
  • pentazocine (Talwin), or
  • insu

Does food or alcohol interact with nicotine?

Nicotine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with nicotine?

Nicotine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Angina (severe chest pain)
  • Asthma
  • Breathing problems
  • Buerger disease (circulation problem)
  • Diabetes (insulin-dependent)
  • Heart rhythm problems (eg, arrhythmia)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Pheochromocytoma (adrenal problem)
  • Raynaud disease (circulation problem)
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Heart attack, history of
  • Heart or blood vessel disease—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
  • Kidney disease, severe
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of nicotine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Smoking Cessation

>100 lbs.:
Habitrol or NicoDerm CQ: 21 mg/day for 6 weeks, then 14 mg/day for 2 weeks, then 7 mg/day for 2 weeks.
Prostep: 22 mg/day for 4 to 8 weeks, then 11 mg/day for 2 to 4 weeks.
Nicotrol: 15 mg/day for 6 weeks. The dosage is delivered over 16 hours. The patch should not be left on > 16 hours.
Nicorette gum: 4 mg piece every 1 to 2 hours for 6 weeks, then 4 mg piece every 2 to 4 hours for 3 weeks, then 4 mg piece every 4 to 8 hours for 3 weeks. No more than 24 pieces/day. Chew gum slowly for at least 30 minutes. Should not be used > 6 months.
Commit lozenge: 2 to 4 mg lozenge every 1 to 2 hours in mouth until it dissolves (about 20 to 30 minutes). Use the recommended minimum of 9 lozenges/ day for 6 weeks, then 2 to 4 mg lozenge every 2 to 4 hours on weeks 7 through 9. At the start of week 10, reduce dosage to one lozenge every 4 to 8 hours. Do not use more than 20 lozenges/day. For use in a 12-week plan
Nicotrol NS: 1 to 2 mg/hour (2 to 4 sprays). Should use at least the recommended minimum dose of 8 doses/day. Maximum dose 40 mg (80 sprays)/day.
Nicotrol Inhaler: 6 to 16 cartridges per day for 3 months. Then, gradually reduce daily dose and taper patient off the inhaler over the next 6 to 12 weeks. Should not be used >6 months.
<100 lbs., light smokers, CV disease:
Habitrol or NicoDerm CQ: 14 mg/day for 6 weeks, then 7 mg/day for 2 weeks.
Prostep: 11 mg/day for 4 to 8 weeks.
Nicorette gum: 2 mg piece every 1 to 2 hours for 6 weeks, then 2 mg piece every 2 to 4 hours for 3 weeks, then 2 mg piece every 4 to 8 hours for 3 weeks. No more than 24 pieces/day. Chew gum slowly for at least 30 minutes. Should not be used >6 months.
Nicotrol NS: 1 to 2 mg/hour (2 to 4 sprays).
Nicotrol Inhaler: 6 to 16 cartridges per day for 3 months. Then, gradually reduce daily dose and taper patient off the inhaler over the next 6 to 12 weeks. Should not be used >6 months.

What is the dose of nicotine for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is nicotine available?

Nicotine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Nicotine polacrilex lozenge, Oral: 2 mg.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose? 

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of nicotine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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