CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Smoking Cessation Drugs: Nicotine Replacement Products

Type of Medication:    TOP

Nicotine replacement

Medications and Their Commonly Used Brand Names    TOP

Type of medicationBrand name
Nicotine patch/transdermal nicotine Habitrol
NicoDerm CQ
Nicotrol
ProStep
Nicotine gum/lozengesNicorette/Commit
Nicotine nasal sprayNicotrol NS
Nicotine inhalerNicotrol Inhaler

What They Are Prescribed For    TOP

Nicotine replacement products are used to help people stop smoking. These products work best as part of a program that also includes education, counseling, and/or psychological support.

How Nicotine Replacement Products Work    TOP

These products provide nicotine without the cigarette and help to wean your body off of nicotine. The typical effects of withdrawal are reduced as your body adjusts to not smoking. The products provide you with progressively lower doses of nicotine until you stop using them. Here's how each product works:

  • The nicotine patch releases nicotine through your skin and into your bloodstream.
  • Nicotine gum is chewed slowly, and then stored between the gum and cheek so that the nicotine can be absorbed through the lining of your mouth and into your bloodstream.
  • Nicotine lozenges are allowed to dissolve slowly in your mouth to release nicotine at a slow rate.
  • Nicotine nasal spray contains small doses of nicotine that are sprayed into your nasal passages and absorbed into your bloodstream.
  • A nicotine inhaler contains nicotine that is inhaled through the mouth and is absorbed in the mouth and throat.

Sometimes these products are used in combination, like the patch along with the lozenges, which may help some people stay smoke-free.

Precautions While Taking These Medicines    TOP

Do Not Smoke

Smoking and using nicotine replacement products can be dangerous because nicotine can build up to toxic levels. Since your goal is to quit smoking entirely, you should not smoke while using a nicotine replacement product. If you still have the urge to smoke, you may need an additional strategy to quit.

See Your Doctor

Patches, lozenges, and gums can be purchased over-the-counter, but the nasal spray and inhaler require a prescription. Your doctor will help you determine the appropriate dosage. Also, your doctor can prescribe additional smoking cessation aids and can refer you to a counselor, support group, or other services that may help you quit smoking. People who combine several quitting strategies often have the most success.

Do Not Overuse These Products    TOP

After quitting smoking, the goal is to end your use of the nicotine replacement products as well. Here are guidelines for how long you should use these products:

  • Nicotine patch—Do not use longer than 6-12 weeks.
  • Nicotine gum—Do not chew or use more than 24 pieces a day; do not use longer than 12 weeks.
  • Nicotine lozenges—Do not use more than 20 lozenges a day; do not use longer than 12 weeks.
  • Nicotine nasal spray—Do not use longer than 12 weeks.
  • Nicotine inhaler—Do not use longer than 12 weeks.

If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding, Talk to Your Doctor    TOP

If you are pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor to select a safe method to quit smoking. Ask if nicotine replacement products are a good option for you.

Be Careful Around Children    TOP

Children can be seriously harmed by any amount of nicotine. Keep these products, including used patches, away from children.

Use With Adolescents and Older Adults    TOP

Nicotine replacement products are believed to be safe for adolescents and older adults. People with dentures, though, should avoid using nicotine gum because it could cause damage.

Manage Your Medications    TOP

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Some should not be taken when you are quitting smoking with nicotine replacement products, while others may require a different dosage level.

Be Cautious With Certain Conditions    TOP

The presence of other conditions may affect the use of nicotine replacement products. Tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, such as:

Possible Side Effects    TOP

There are side effects associated with taking nicotine replacement products. The side effects you may experience will depend on the type of product you choose. For example, rash has been associated with using the patch while nasal irritation has been associated with using the nasal spray.

If you experience side effects, talk to your doctor. A different product may be recommended.

Symptoms of Nicotine Overdose    TOP

It is possible to overdose on nicotine when you use nicotine replacement products. Some symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Increased watering of the mouth
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Disturbed hearing and vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Smoking Cessation Success    TOP

Your chance of long-term success depends a great deal on your motivation and commitment to quitting, regardless of which therapy you choose.

RESOURCES:

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

References:

Guide to quit smoking. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 30, 2017.
Nicotine. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T356507/Nicotine. Updated March 6, 2017. Accessed March 30, 2017.
Nicotine lozenge. Colorado QuitLine website. Available at: https://colorado.quitlogix.org/preparing_to_quit/nrt/lozenge.aspx. Accessed March 30, 2017.
NRTs. Tobacco-Free website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 30, 2017.
Quit guide. Smokefree.gov website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 30, 2017.
Smokeless tobacco and cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 25, 2010. Accessed March 30, 2017.
10/14/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Shiffman S, Ferguson SG. Nicotine patch therapy prior to quitting smoking: a meta-analysis. Addiction. 2008;103:557-563.
12/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Strandberg-Larsen K, Tinggaard M, Nybo Andersen AM, Olsen J, Gronbaek M. Use of nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy and stillbirth: a cohort study. BJOG. 2008;115:1405-1410.
11/13/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Piper ME, Smith SS, Schlam TR, et al. A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial of 5 smoking cessation pharmacotherapies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(11):1253-1262.
11/30/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: US Food and Drug Administration. Propoxyphene: withdrawal—risk of cardiac toxicity. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Published November 19, 2010. Accessed March 24, 2015.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 3/24/2015

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000