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Nicotine Gum and Lozenges

Generic Name: nicotine (gum, lozenge) (NIK oh teen)
Brand Names: Leader Nicotine Polacrilex, Nicorelief, Nicorette, Thrive

Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm Last updated on Sep 11, 2019.

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is the primary ingredient in tobacco products.

Nicotine gum and lozenges are medical products used to aid in smoking cessation in adults.

Using a controlled amount of nicotine helps reduce withrawal symptoms when you quit smoking.

Important Information

Do not smoke or use other nicotine products (including snuff, chewing tobacco, patches, inhaler, or nasal spray) while you are using nicotine gum or lozenges.

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if nicotine is safe to use if you have ever had:

Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant unless your doctor has told you to. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Using a nicotine replacement product during pregnancy or while breast-feeding may be safer than smoking. However, you should try to stop smoking without using a nicotine replacement product if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Talk with your doctor about the best way for you to stop smoking.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Nicotine lozenges may contain phenylalanine. Check the medication label if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

Do not give this medicine to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.

How should I take nicotine gum or lozenges?

Nicotine is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include counseling, group support, and behavior changes. Your success will depend on your participation in all aspects of your smoking cessation program.

Use nicotine gum and lozenges exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Start using the gum or lozenges on the same day you stop (quit) smoking or using tobacco products.

Your dose will depend on how many cigarettes you smoked daily before quitting. Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

To use nicotine gum:

  • Chew the gum slowly and stop chewing when your mouth starts to tingle. "Park" the gum between your cheek and gum and leave it there until the tingly feeling is gone. Then slowly chew a few more times until the tingling returns. Park the gum again in a different place in your mouth.

  • Remove a piece of gum after 30 minutes, or when chewing no longer causes the tingly feeling.

  • If you have very strong or frequent cravings, you may chew a new piece of gum within 60 minutes.

  • Avoid chewing one piece of gum right after the other, or you may have side effects such as hiccups, heartburn, or nausea.

  • For best results, use at least 9 pieces of gum per day for the first 6 weeks of treatment. Do not use more than 24 pieces of gum per day.

To use nicotine lozenges:

  • Place the lozenge in your mouth and allow it to dissolve slowly over 20 to 30 minutes, without chewing or swallowing.

  • Move the lozenge from one side of your mouth to the other until it has completely dissolved.

  • You may notice a warm or tingly feeling in your mouth.

  • For best results, use at least 9 lozenges per day for the first 6 weeks of treatment. Do not use more than 5 lozenges in 6 hours (20 lozenges per day).

    After removing the gum or lozenge, wrap it in paper and throw it away in a place where children and pets cannot reach it.

    Do not use this medicine for longer than 12 weeks without the advice of your doctor.

    Do not use more than one lozenge or piece of gum at a time. Do not use the gum and lozenges together at the same time.

    Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

    Keep both used and unused gum and lozenges out of the reach of children or pets.

    What happens if I miss a dose?

    Since nicotine is used as needed, you are not likely to miss a dose. Do not use more than 20 lozenges or 24 pieces of gum per day.

    What happens if I overdose?

    Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. The amount of nicotine in a used or unused lozenge or piece of gum can be fatal to a child who accidentally sucks or chews on it. Seek emergency medical attention if this happens.

    Overdose symptoms may include severe dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and fast heart rate.

    What should I avoid while using nicotine gum or lozenges?

    Do not eat or drink anything within 15 minutes before using the gum or lozenge or while the medicine is in your mouth.

    Nicotine gum or lozenges side effects

    Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to nicotine: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

    Stop using nicotine and call your doctor at once if you have:

    • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest;

    • blisters inside your mouth;

    • problems with your teeth or jaw; or

    • wheezing, tightness in your chest, trouble breathing.

    Common nicotine side effects may include:

    This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

    What other drugs will affect nicotine gum or lozenges?

    Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using nicotine gum or lozenges with any other medications, especially:

    This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with nicotine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

    Further information

    Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use nicotine only for the indication prescribed.

    Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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