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Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Specifics on the Nicotine Inhaler

What is the product strength?
The inhaler consists of a mouthpiece and a plastic cartridge, delivering 4 mg of nicotine from a porous plug containing 10 mg nicotine.

What is the recommended treatment duration?
Research has shown that the most successful quitters use 6-16 cartridges/day for the initial treatment period of 12 weeks, followed by gradual reduction of dose over the next 6-12 weeks. Manufacturers recommend against using the inhaler for longer than 6 months. Talk to your doctor if you feel you need to use the inhaler for a longer period.

What are the adverse reactions and cautionary messages?
Like any medication, the inhaler can have negative side effects. The most common is irritation of the lining of the mouth. Less frequent side effects include coughing, runny nose or upset stomach. These symptoms are generally mild and likely to diminish with regular use. Check with your doctor if you take prescription medicine for depression, asthma, diabetes or other conditions; your medications may need to be adjusted as you quit. Also, consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

As in using all other forms of nicotine replacement, if you receive too little nicotine you may experience the symptoms of withdrawal. This can occur either from simply not using the inhaler frequently enough, or by not using it properly.

It is advised to start using the nicotine inhaler on your quit day. If you happen to have a brief lapse and smoke a cigarette or briefly use another type of tobacco, do not stop your nicotine therapy program. It is important to quickly get back to your quit plan and try to avoid relapse to your previous smoking or tobacco use. If you resume your previous pattern of tobacco use, stop using the nicotine inhaler and re-examine your quit plan with your doctor or coach. Using tobacco at significant levels and the inhaler as directed might cause you to ingest an excessive amount of nicotine. While the inhaler eliminates most of health risks associated with tobacco use, nicotine itself can cause serious medical problems if abused. Keep out of reach of children and animals.

If you are considering the nicotine inhaler, first read this information from the National Institutes of Health:

Content author: Alan S. Peters, CTTS-M
Reviewed by: Ann Wendling, MD, MPH, April 2013

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