Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Details About Nicotine Gum

Nicotine replacement therapy is one way to help you quit smoking. One therapeutic option is nicotine gum, which, when used properly, has proven to be effective. Although not an instant cure, it can help you quit smoking without enduring the withdrawal symptoms that can cause you to relapse, according to research performed by Cornell University.


Nicotine gum provides nicotine that is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. Delivered in a continuous, steady supply, the nicotine helps curb cravings and lessen the desire to smoke. According to Cornell University research, this allows the smoker to quit smoking by gradually weaning the body off the nicotine in cigarettes, while easing the symptoms of withdrawal.


One benefit of nicotine gum is that although it does contain nicotine, it lacks the poisonous gases and tars that are in a cigarette. By curbing cravings and lessening the use of cigarettes, the gum can reduce the overall time needed to quit smoking, according to The American Lung Association.


The dosage required will depend on the number of cigarettes smoked in a typical day. Nicotine gum is available over the counter in two dosage levels. One level contains a dosage of 2 mg, for smokers of 24 cigarettes or less per day. The other level is a 4 mg dose for smokers who smoke 25 or more cigarettes per day. Each piece of gum is one dose.

Using a step-down procedure, the dosage is reduced from one piece every one to two hours, to a final dosage of one piece every four to eight hours. This reduction is usually drawn out over a 12-week period, although it has been reported that this period may be shortened as the patient feels comfortable. The maximum dosage for either level is 24 pieces per day, according to Cornell University research.


The proper usage of nicotine gum is is directly linked to its effectiveness. All forms of tobacco must be stopped while using the gum. You should not eat for 15 minutes before using the gum, and you should not eat or drink while chewing the gum. The proper way to use nicotine gum is to chew until you feel a peppery sensation, about 25 to 30 seconds. The gum should then be placed between the cheek and gum, in a process called parking. This will hold the gum close to the lining of the mouth, allowing proper absorption of the nicotine. The idea is to swallow a minimal amount of the nicotine, as it will not be absorbed by the stomach. Continue chewing the gum every few minutes, then returning it to the cheek until the peppery taste is gone. Each piece of gum should be chewed in this manner for 25 to 30 minutes before discarding.

Side Effects

A common side effect reported when using nicotine gum is indigestion caused by excessive swallowing of the nicotine-infused saliva. Also reported have been a sore mouth, headache, jaw pain and increased saliva. These symptoms should subside as you continue using the nicotine gum. Chewing the gum too fast can cause dizziness, nausea, hiccups and even vomiting. Chewing the gum slowly will reduce the chances of these symptoms occurring.


Discuss the use of nicotine gum with your doctor if you have a history of diabetes, angina (chest pains) or any drug allergy. The current drugs you may be taking can also interact with the nicotine gum and should be discussed with your physician. Nicotine is secreted through breast milk, therefore speak with your doctor before using nicotine gum if you are breastfeeding. Nicotine gum should not be used if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using nicotine replacement therapy.

Symptoms of an overdose are rapid heartbeat, excess saliva, dizziness and confusion. Other symptoms include confusion, weakness and seizures. If an overdose is suspected, seek immediate medical assistance. Keep nicotine gum and all medications out of the reach of children.

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