Nicotine Replacement Therapy
NRT is not a treatment for smoking. It is a method of substituting the nicotine in tobacco products by an approved nicotine delivery product so that the tobacco user does not have uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the tobacco product. Overtime, the dose of NRT is gradually reduced to make the process of cessation comfortable for the tobacco user. The release of nicotine into the blood, and thus its transport to brain is slower for NRT as compared to tobacco nicotine. As compared to blood levels of nicotine following tobacco smoke inhalation, NRT blood levels increase relatively slowly. Hence providing motivation and building patience for the user are essential.
Examples of NRTs include:
- nicotine patch,
- nicotine gum,
- nicotine inhaler,
- nicotine nasal spray.
Nicotine (Polacrilex) Gum:
- Contain 2mg or 4mg of nicotine. Nicotin is bound on prolarilex resin, which is eventually released under the action of mechanical chewing and subsequently absorbed by the buccal mucosa.
- It acts as an oral substitute and provides a source of nicotine that reduces the withdrawal symptoms experienced when tobacco use is stopped. The gum is available in different strengths and can be used on either at regular intervals or on an as needed basis. Tapering can be considered after 8 to 12 weeks.
Weaning of Nicotine Gum (NRT) involves decreasing the total number of nicotine gum (one piece every 4-7 days).