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Nicotine nasal spray: know the pros and cons of this smoking cessation treatment

Nicotine nasal spray: know the pros and cons of this smoking cessation treatment

Nicotine nasal spray is indicated

For those with nicotine nasal spray, it is indicated

Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which includes the nicotine nasal spray, is used when the patient has high dependence, ie when he has scored above five in a specific test, called the Fagerström Test, or when there is a history of withdrawal syndrome when the person is deprived of the smoke. In general, using this therapy in people who smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day is controversial, but needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How nicotine nasal spray works

Nasal spray works just like any other spray: Nicotine is diluted in a liquid that can be applied to the nose. Each dose contains 0.5 milligrams of nicotine, and indicates application to both nostrils, resulting in 1 mg.

How to use nicotine nasal spray

The nasal spray is sprayed on the nostrils. Each dose contains 0.5 milligrams of nicotine, and indicates the application in both nostrils, resulting in 1 mg. The peak of nicotine in the blood will occur between 5 to 10 minutes later.

Studies indicate the use of this method between 10 to 20 times a day, with reduction over two weeks. If there is a craving, ie a strong urge to smoke, the spray can be reapplied 10 to 15 minutes after the last dose.

Expected results

There are no relevant studies showing how much help nicotine spray to stop smoking compared to other methods within nicotine replacement therapy.

Advantages and disadvantages of nicotine nasal spray

One of the major advantages of nicotine nasal spray when compared to other techniques of replacement therapy of nicotine, is the rapid absorption of nicotine, which quickly falls into the bloodstream and reaches the brain, faster than the nicotine patch.

Any NRT has the advantage of only replenishing nicotine, sparing the until then smoker to be in contact with the other harmful substances of the tobacco (like the tar, for example), but reducing the crises of abstinence, since the nicotine is reduced gradually. The disadvantage lies in the side effects of this technique, which can cause, in some patients, irritation of the areas, nasal secretion, cough, bronchospasm , among others.

Side effects

Nicotine nasal spray can cause, in some patients, irritation of various areas, nasal secretion, cough, bronchospasms, among others. However, these symptoms are very individual and do not appear in everyone who uses the nasal spray.


Because nicotine is only restored and in much smaller amounts than cigarettes, there are no serious risks, since it is more responsible for addiction to smoking rather than for the harm of smoking itself.

Precisely for this reason, there are not many contraindications to nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine nasal spray, because continuing to smoke is always worse. Some experts claim that even people with heart disease and pregnant women can make use of these resources, because there is no evidence that this type of treatment causes problems for the health of the fetus.However, new studies have shown the relationship between nicotine and cancer. A study published in the scientific journal PLoS One in 2013 showed that the substance can alter the expression of the genes of the cells, making the appearance of the disease more likely. These findings may change the recommended measures for this type of therapy.

Nicotine Nasal Spray Treatments

Nicotine Adhesive

As the nicotine patch releases continuous amounts of the substance throughout the day, for some patients are worth allying this treatment with some other technique in which nicotine peaks faster, such as the nasal spray.


In other cases, when the patient is very dependent on nicotine, the physician may ally the therapies of nicotine replacement with the drug treatment, using bupropion. The drug also reduces the urge to smoke and can be taken for up to three, but can only be bought with prescription. Sources

Pulmonologist Luiz Carlos Côrrea da Silva (CRM-RS 4414), a member of the Smoking Commission of the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology and Tisiology (SBPT) and of the advisory council of the Tobacco Control Alliance (ACTBr) Psychologist Sabrina Presman, specialist in smoking of the Brazilian Association of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (ABEAD)

Book "Smoking: A disease that has treatment" (Editora ArtMed), organized by pulmonologist Luiz Carlos Côrrea da Silva

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