Diabetes Planned Visit Notebook

36.9 Handout—Nicotrol Inhaler

Summa Health System developed this fact sheet for patients who smoke tobacco. Care providers give it to patients during diabetes planned visits, and it is part of the Diabetes Planned Visit Notebook. 

Nicotine Inhalation System

Congratulations on your decision to quit smoking. The Nicotine Inhalation System (Nicotrol ®Inhaler) your doctor has recommended will help make it easier to quit. The instructions in this handout will help you use the Nicotrol ®Inhaler the right way. Commit yourself–Be sure to stop smoking on the day you start using the Nicotrol ®Inhaler. Smoking or using other forms of tobacco while you're using the Nicotrol ®Inhaler may lead to health problems. Use of the Nicotrol ®Inhaler is most successful when used along with a quit smoking class or quit line.

Do not let anyone else use your Nicotrol ®Inhaler. Keep the away from children and pets. Do not use the Nicotrol ®Inhaler if you are pregnant, unless your doctor knows you are pregnant and has told you to do so. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using. You should also talk to your doctor before using the Nicotrol ® Inhaler if you are younger than 18 years old.

Dosage: Each cartridge contains 10mg with 4 mg delivered. Nicotine in cartridges is used up after 20 minutes of active puffing. You should initially use at least 6 cartridges in a day for the first 3-6 weeks. Additional doses may be needed to curb nicotine cravings for up to 12 weeks. Most patients will need to gradually discontinue dosage after 12 weeks of initial treatment and reduction can last for up to 12 weeks. Do not use more than 16 cartridges in a day unless directed by your doctor to do so. You must get a doctor's prescription to obtain the Nicotrol ®Inhaler. Do not use for longer than 6 months.

Try different schedules to help control cravings. Puffing on the Inhaler for 5 min at a time will give you enough nicotine for 4 uses. In a few days you'll find what works best and know when nicotine in cartridges is used up.

Directions on how to use the Nicotrol ®Inhaler:

  • Follow the package instructions for proper usage of this product.
  • Follow the package instructions on how to open and install cartridge
  • Inhale deeply into back of the throat (not the lungs) or puff in short breaths.
  • As you inhale or puff through the mouthpiece, nicotine turns into vapor and is absorbed into your mouth and throat.
  • Use Inhaler longer and more often at first to help control cigarette cravings.
  • Less nicotine per puff is released when you use Inhaler versus a cigarette.
  • When cartridge is empty, take off top of mouthpiece.
  • Throw used cartridge away, out of reach of children and pets. The Nicotrol ®Inhaler is a child resistant product. Please read instructions carefully on how to open, close, and lock.
  • While not in use keep the mouthpiece and cartridges in plastic case, out of reach of children and pets.

Because nicotine is addictive it is possible to become dependent on the nicotine inhaler. Do not use longer than 6 months. Studies show no increase in effectiveness is using longer than 6 months. Store cartridges at room temperature (above 60 degrees but not over 77 degrees). If you keep cartridges in your car, be careful: interiors heat up quickly. Cold temperatures reduce the amount of nicotine you inhale. Protect from light.

Side Effects: You may experience mild irritation of the mouth or throat and cough when you first use the Nicotrol ®Inhaler. You should get used to these effects in a short period of time. Stomach upset can occur. If you have any serious side effects or have side effects that last longer than one week, call your doctor.

Nicotine overdose symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Drooling.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Hearing difficulties.
  • Weakness and confusion.
  • Upset stomach.

What do I need to tell my doctor?

Please tell your doctor if you have any illnesses, including the following:

  • Wheezing or asthma.
  • Heart problems (recent heart attack, irregular heartbeat, severe or worsening heart pain).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Drug allergies.
  • Overactive thyroid.
  • Diabetes requiring insulin.
  • Skipped or irregular heart beats.
  • Allergies to tape, bandages or medicines.
  • Kidney or liver disease.

Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking-the dosages may need to be changed. Check with your doctor before taking any new medicine while taking the Nicotrol ®Inhaler

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, only use on the advise of your health care provider. Smoking can seriously harm your child. Try to stop smoking/using tobacco without using any other nicotine replacement product. This medicine is believed to be safer than smoking. However the risks to your child from this medicine are not fully known.

Information for the Nicotrol ®Inhaler was obtained from the Pfizer consumer health care website: www.nicotrol.com. Be sure to read enclosed instructions with your product before using.

Community Resources:

Consider taking a free quit smoking class: call 330-861-7179 for list of free local classes and/or call the Ohio Quit line at 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669) for support. These programs can help you with the habit part of smoking. Quitting may take practice, not everyone can quit the first time.

People who choose to call the Ohio Quit Line or take a quit smoking class are 5 times more likely to succeed than those who try to quit on their own.

Page last reviewed October 2014
Page originally created January 2008
Internet Citation: 36.9 Handout—Nicotrol Inhaler. Content last reviewed October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/education/curriculum-tools/diabnotebk/diabnotebk369.html