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Nicotine (nik oh TEEN)

Adult Medication

Brand Names: U.S.

Nicoderm CQ [OTC]; Nicorelief [OTC]; Nicorette Mini [OTC]; Nicorette Starter Kit [OTC]; Nicorette [OTC]; Nicotrol; Nicotrol NS; Thrive [OTC]

Brand Names: Canada

Habitrol; Nicoderm; Nicorette; Nicorette Plus; Nicotrol

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat nicotine withdrawal.
  • It is used to curb the craving to smoke.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to nicotine or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Chest pain or pressure, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, or a recent heart attack.
  • For women, if you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
  • Do not smoke, chew tobacco, or use other products that have nicotine while you are using this drug.


  • If you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disease.

Nose spray:

  • If you have asthma or nose problems like allergies, runny or stuffy nose, or nasal polyps.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • Do not use more than told. Unsafe side effects may happen.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this drug affects you.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
  • When you stop smoking, other drugs may be affected. Talk with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you have not been able to quit smoking after using this drug for as long as it says to use it.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.


  • Gum chewing may cause problems with dental work.
  • If you are on a low-salt diet (this drug has salt), talk with your doctor.


  • The patch may have metal. Take off the patch before an MRI.
  • This drug may cause harm if swallowed. If this drug is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.


  • If you have PKU, talk with your doctor. Some products have phenylalanine.
  • If you are on a low-salt diet (this drug has salt), talk with your doctor.

Nose spray:

  • If the bottle breaks, do not get this drug on your skin. If it does get on your skin wash off with water right away.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Very nervous and excitable.
  • Mood changes.
  • Change in thinking clearly and with logic.
  • Chest pain.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Very bad dizziness.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Shakiness.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.

Nose spray:

  • Nose sores.

Gum and lozenges:

  • Sore throat.
  • Very bad mouth pain or irritation.
  • Jaw pain.

Nose spray and inhaler:

  • Very bad mouth pain or irritation.


  • Very bad skin irritation.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Bad dreams.
  • Nervous and excitable.
  • Headache.
  • Joint pain.


  • Skin irritation.

Gum and lozenges:

  • Mouth tingling.
  • Gum changes.
  • Mouth irritation.

Nose spray:

  • Runny nose.
  • Nose and throat irritation.
  • Watery eyes.

Puffer (inhaler):

  • Cough.
  • Runny nose.
  • Mouth irritation.
  • Throat irritation.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read and follow the dosing on the label closely.
  • Get counseling to help you quit.

Puffer (inhaler):

  • Use as you have been told.
  • Keep out of your eyes.
  • Clean the mouthpiece often with soap and water.


  • The gum comes in 2 doses. If you smoke your first cigarette of the day within 30 minutes of waking use the 4 mg dose. If you smoke your first cigarette of the day more than 30 minutes after waking use the 2 mg dose.
  • Use right after opening.
  • Do not swallow gum.
  • Chew slowly until there is a tingling or peppery taste in the mouth.
  • Then place between the cheek and gum.
  • After the taste or tingle is gone, chew again slowly.
  • Put between the cheek and gum at some other site once the taste or tingle comes back.
  • Keep repeating this for about 30 minutes or until the taste or tingle is gone.
  • Do not eat or drink within 15 minutes before using the gum or while you are using it.
  • If needed, you may use a second piece within the hour. Do not use 1 piece right after the other.


  • The patch comes in 3 doses. If you smoke 11 or more cigarettes a day start with the 21 mg patch (step 1). If you smoke 10 or less cigarettes a day start with the 14 mg patch (step 2).
  • Put patch on clean, dry, healthy skin on the chest, back, belly, or upper arm. Move the site with each new patch.
  • Put patch on a site without hair.
  • Wash your hands after use.
  • Keep each patch on for 16 to 24 hours.
  • Do not leave on the skin for more than 24 hours.
  • Do not put on more than 1 patch at a time.
  • Do not use patches that are cut or do not look right.


  • The lozenge comes in 2 doses. If you smoke your first cigarette of the day within 30 minutes of waking use the 4 mg dose. If you smoke your first cigarette of the day more than 30 minutes after waking use the 2 mg dose.
  • Use right after opening.
  • Suck oral lozenge. Do not chew, break, or crush it. Do not swallow it whole.
  • Move this drug to the other side of the mouth every so often while it melts. This may take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Try not to swallow very often while you are sucking on this drug.
  • Do not eat or drink within 15 minutes before using the lozenge or while you are using it.
  • Do not use more than 1 lozenge at a time. Do not use 1 lozenge right after another.

Nose spray:

  • For the nose only.
  • Keep out of your eyes.
  • Blow your nose before use.
  • Tilt your head back.
  • Spray up the nose only. Do not spray onto the wall joining your two nostrils.
  • Do not sniff, swallow, or breathe in through your nose while you are using your dose of this drug.
  • Breathe out from your mouth.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not use 2 doses or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.


  • Wrap the gum in paper before you throw it away.


  • Wrap any part not used all the way in paper before you throw it away.


  • After you take off a skin patch, be sure to fold the sticky sides of the patch to each other.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.


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