Nicotine Side Effects
Some side effects of nicotine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to nicotine: patch extended release
Other dosage forms:
Along with its needed effects, nicotine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking nicotine:More common
- Injury or irritation to mouth, teeth, or dental work—with chewing gum only
- High blood pressure
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- hives, itching, rash, redness, or swelling of skin
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- increased watering of mouth (severe)
- abdominal or stomach pain (severe)
- diarrhea (severe)
- pale skin
- cold sweat
- headache (severe)
- dizziness (severe)
- disturbed hearing and vision
- weakness (severe)
- extreme exhaustion
- low blood pressure
- difficulty in breathing (severe)
- fast, weak, or irregular heartbeat
- convulsions (seizures)
Some side effects of nicotine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
- Belching—with chewing gum and lozenges
- headache (mild)
- increased appetite
- increased watering of mouth (mild)—with chewing gum only
- jaw muscle ache—with chewing gum only
- redness, itching, and/or burning at site of application of patch—usually stops within 24 hours
- sore mouth or throat—with chewing gum only
- Abdominal or stomach pain (mild)
- change in sense of taste
- coughing (increased)
- dizziness or lightheadedness (mild)
- dryness of mouth
- hiccups—with chewing gum and lozenges
- hoarseness—with chewing gum only
- indigestion (mild)
- loss of appetite
- menstrual pain
- muscle or joint pain
- nausea or vomiting (mild)
- passing of gas
- sweating (increased)
- trouble in sleeping or unusual dreams
- unusual irritability or nervousness
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to nicotine: compounding powder, inhalation device, nasal spray, oral transmucosal gum, oral transmucosal lozenge, transdermal film extended release
Cardiovascular effects have included increases in heart rate and blood pressure. New ventricular and supraventricular tachycardia, increase in PVC frequency, less supraventricular arrhythmia, less arrhythmia and lower heart rate, new ST segment depression, and an improvement in ST- or T-wave changes have been reported in patients with coronary artery disease given transdermal nicotine for smoking cessation. The average heart rate and incidence of arrhythmias or angina has not been shown to be significantly different from baseline while smoking and during transdermal nicotine therapy in patients with coronary artery disease. In patients with coronary artery disease, nicotine may cause coronary artery vasoconstriction. Myocardial infarction has been rarely associated with the use of nicotine patches. Some of these patients were also smoking (receiving a greater than recommended dose of nicotine) and some may have had underlying coronary artery disease. At least one case of intracerebral hematoma has also been reported.
In patients with coronary artery disease, nicotine may cause coronary artery vasoconstriction. This can be important to patients with ischemic heart disease.
In patients with coronary artery disease given transdermal nicotine for smoking cessation, the following have been reported: new ventricular and supraventricular tachycardia, increase in PVC frequency, less supraventricular arrhythmia, less arrhythmia and lower heart rate, new ST segment depression, and an improvement in ST- or T-wave changes. The average heart rate and incidence of arrhythmias or angina has not been shown to be significantly different from baseline while smoking and during transdermal nicotine therapy in patients with coronary artery disease.
Myocardial infarction has been rarely associated with the use of nicotine patches. Some of these patients were also smoking (receiving a greater than recommended dose of nicotine) and some may have had underlying coronary artery disease.
Respiratory side effects have included bronchospasm in patients with preexisting asthma. It has been associated with the use of nicotine nasal spray and inhaler. Sore throat reported in at least two patients has been associated with the use of the nicotine gums.
Dermatologic side effects have included itching and local erythema at the patch site in up to half of patients treated. Skin irritation rarely required drug discontinuation. Contact dermatitis due to nicotine or the contents of the nicotine transdermal patch has been reported. Nicotine gum has been associated with increased sweating.
Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, dry mouth, dyspepsia, and diarrhea with the patch and gum formulations in approximately 6% of patients. Use of nicotine gum may also cause hiccups, flatulence, increased salivation, stomatitis, tooth disorder, glossitis, and unpleasant taste. The use of nicotine has been shown to decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure. Heartburn has been associated with nicotine lozenges in 5% to 5.8% of patients. Gastrointestinal side effects associated with nicotine gum reported postmarketing have included oral blistering.
Nervous system side effects have been reported in 3% to 12% of patients. These have included lightheadedness, headache, sleep disturbances, abnormal dreams, irritability, dizziness, and tremor. Stroke due to severe cerebral artery vasospasm has been reported in a patient with a recent history of subarachnoid hemorrhage shortly after applying a 10 mg nicotine patch.
Musculoskeletal side effects have rarely included arthralgias and myalgias. Jaw pain has been associated with the use of nicotine gum.
Hematologic side effects have included increases in platelet aggregation and enhanced thrombus formation.
Local side effects have been reported most frequently with the use of nicotine nasal spray. Nicotine inhaler also produced local irritant effects including coughing and rhinitis in 40% of patients.
Endocrine side effects have included hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance during the long-term use of nicotine gum.
Metabolic side effects including at least one case of hyponatremia and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) have been reported.
A 39-year-old male in good health experienced hyponatremia and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) after being administered a nicotine patch. The patient presented complaining of a worsening cough that had progressed over the past month. A chest radiograph showed pneumonia with bilateral lower lobe infiltrates. He was administered a nicotine patch (21 mg/d), ticarcillin/clavulanate, tobramycin, nebulized albuterol, and ipratropium. His urine sodium and osmolarity were 156 mmol/L and 550 mOsm/kg, respectively, confirming the diagnosis of SIADH. On day 12, his serum sodium was 130 mmol/L. The serum sodium continued to decrease despite fluid restriction to 128 mmol/L and 126 mmol/L on Day 14 and 15, respectively. The nicotine patch was reduced to 14 mg/d on Day 16. The patient continued the same fluid restriction and regular diet while the serum sodium remained low at 129 mmol/L. The nicotine patch was further reduced to 7 mg/d on Day 17. The patient was discharged after 18 days of hospitalization with a sodium level of 131 mmol/L.
Ocular side effects including vision problems reported in at least two patients have been associated with the use of the nicotine gums.
More nicotine resources
- nicotine gum MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- nicotine Inhalation, oral/nebulization Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Nicotine Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Nicotine Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Commit lozenges MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- Habitrol Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Nicorette Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Nicorette Consumer Overview
- Nicorette Fruit Chill Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Nicotrol inhaler MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- Nicotrol Inhaler Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Nicotrol NS Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Nicotrol NS Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Nicotrol NS spray MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
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