Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: nicotine | gum | quit | smoking | nicorette | withdrawal | reactions

I'm Addicted to Nicotine Gum

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 09:49 AM

Question: I’m proud of the fact that I quit smoking this year. But I seemed to have switched one addiction for another as I’m now chewing nicotine gum every day. Can nicotine gum harm my health?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Are you taking over-the-counter nicotine gum (Nicorette, others)? This gum delivers nicotine to your blood through the lining of your mouth. It's available in a 2 mg dose for regular smokers and a 4 mg dose for heavy smokers. You need to arrive at the best dose and schedule for you, in consultation with the pharmacist or your doctor.
Quitting this medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as tobacco cravings, nervousness, irritability, and headache) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Chewing the gum too fast can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, hiccups, nausea, vomiting, or trouble sleeping.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: severe dizziness, mental/mood changes (e.g., irritability, trouble sleeping, vivid dreams), numbness/tingling in hands/feet, swelling hands/ankles/feet. Other rare but very serious side effects can also occur with nicotine gum: chest pain, confusion, severe headache, fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat, slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), trouble breathing. In any case, do not use this product for more than 12 weeks at a time unless directed by your doctor

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Nicotine gum can cause a variety of side effects.
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 09:49 AM
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