Nasal Nicotine Spray
Some quitting methods, like cold turkey and tapering, essentially rely on willpower to cope with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But the fact is that the physical symptoms caused by nicotine withdrawal are one of the primary reasons that people return to smoking. Willpower isn't always enough.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms by supplying a relatively safe source of nicotine in measured doses that can be reduced in strength or frequency until the supply of nicotine is completely stopped. This therapy has helped many people successfully stop smoking.
Several types of NRT are now on the market. Nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges are available without a prescription, while nicotine nasal sprays and inhalers are available through prescription only. This post will examine the nicotine nasal spray so that you can decide if it would help you in your efforts to quit smoking.
WHAT IS IT?
The nicotine nasal spray dispenses small doses of nicotine into the nasal passages, where it can be absorbed by the body. Each spray bottle contains 100 milligrams of nicotine in a concentration of 10 milligrams per milliliter.
Each individual spray delivers approximately 0.5 milligram of nicotine, with each bottle containing about 200 applications. Generally, a dose is considered two sprays, one in each nostril, which together deliver about 1 railligram of nicotine – about half the amount you would get by smoking a cigarette.
This type of NRT is intended to be used on a regular basis as a of preventing or minimizing withdrawal symptoms.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
As you learned earlier, the nicotine in cigarettes provides feelings of enjoyment by increasing brain levels of the chemical dopamine – a substance associated with the pleasure system of the brain. As nicotine creates a feeling of pleasure time and time again, it also creates an addiction that causes your brain to punish you when smoking stops. When the supply of tobacco is severed, you experience symptoms such as irritability, frustration, anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Many people find these symptoms so distressing that they start smoking cigarettes again despite their desire to quit.
Nicotine nasal spray helps you stop smoking by bringing nicotine into your body via a different delivery system – a safer delivery system that does not provide the tars, carbon monoxide, and other toxic chemicals contained in cigarettes. When the spray enters your nasal passages, it is absorbed into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes. Because your brain is not starved of nicotine, it produces either no withdrawal symptoms or less severe symptoms, making it easier to quit.
It's important to understand that all NRTs work in different ways. The patch delivers a slow, constant, low level of nicotine. But like nicotine gum and lozenges, the nasal spray delivers a measured dose of nicotine only when you choose to use it.
HOW DO YOU USE IT?
Nicotine nasal spray must be used in combination with cold turkey quitting. You cannot smoke while using the spray, as this can result in an overdose of nicotine. For that reason, your first step in using this technique is to choose a Quit Date, just as you would if you were quitting cold turkey without the help of an NRT.
Because nicotine nasal spray is not an over-the-counter product, you must discuss this quit-smoking tool with your doctor and – if the spray appears to be a safe option for you – obtain a prescription. Depending on your health insurance, this NRT may or may not be covered.
When your Quit Date arrives and you stop smoking, you should begin using your nicotine nasal spray according to the manufacturer's directions and your physician s recommendations. To use, simply prime the pump of the bottle, tilt your head back slightly, insert the tip of the bottle into one nostril, and spray once. For a complete dose, this should be repeated in the other nostril. (One dose consists of two sprays.)
During this process, you must be careful to breathe through your mouth and to avoid sniffing or inhaling. You want the spray to remain in your nasal passages so that it can be absorbed through the mucous membranes. Be sure to avoid contact between the spray and your skin, mouth, eyes, and ears. If even a small amount of spray comes in contact with any of these areas of the body, immediately rinse the area with water only.
Along with your doctor, decide the frequency with which you will use the spray each day. The manufacturer suggests that you start with one or two doses each hour, with each dose consisting of two sprays, one in each nostril. This can be increased up to the maximum recommended dose of forty doses, or about half the bottle, per day. To prevent nicotine withdrawal symptoms, it is suggested that you use a minimum of eight doses per day, as fewer doses than this are likely to be ineffective. In clinical trials, it was found that people were most successful at quitting when they used the product more heavily during the peak of nicotine withdrawal.
You and your doctor should discuss the duration of your treatment and a method for eventually discontinuing use of the spray. You can, for example, use your agreed-upon number of daily doses for about eight weeks, and-then taper the doses for four to six weeks before completely ending use.
The maximum recommended duration of treatment is three months. Possible strategies for discontinuing use include using only a half dose (one spray) at a time, using the spray less frequently, skipping every other dose, or simply setting a planned Quit Date for ending use of the NRT. At this point, no method of tapering has been clinically proven to be superior to another. To learn more, you can check out Nasal Nicotine Spray.