Nicotine lozenges are a form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), designed to help individuals stop smoking. With this medication, nicotine is absorbed from the lozenge into the tissues of the mouth, where it enters the bloodstream.
The controlled dose of nicotine in the lozenges replaces the nicotine a person would get from smoking cigarettes and helps ease potential withdrawal symptoms.
Is It Possible To Overdose On Nicotine Lozenges?
Nicotine is poisonous, and though overdosing on nicotine is uncommon, it is possible. A nicotine overdose happens when an individual consumes too much nicotine, resulting in a toxic reaction, also known as nicotine poisoning.
Symptoms of a nicotine overdose include:
- difficulty breathing
- increased or decreased heart rate
If someone consumes more than the recommended amount of nicotine lozenges in a day, they can experience nicotine poisoning. The symptoms of nicotine poisoning can be subtle and in some cases, hard to identify.
Signs of a nicotine lozenge overdose can include:
- blurred vision
- pounding in the ears
In rare circumstances, individuals may also experience:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- hives and excessive itchiness
- rash, redness, or swelling of the skin
What To Do If Someone Is Showing Signs Of Nicotine Poisoning
If you or a loved one are experiencing nicotine poisoning, contact emergency services right away. Follow the medical guidance of the emergency personnel and do not force the individual to vomit or give them any fluids to drink.
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Other Potential Side Effects Of Nicotine Lozenges
Nicotine lozenges may produce some side effects that may not necessarily require medical attention. These side effects may go away as the body adjusts to the new form of nicotine absorption and can include:
- mouth sores, blisters, or irritation
- nausea or vomiting
- sore throat
Less common side effects of nicotine lozenges also include:
- acidic or sour stomach
- mouth, tooth, jaw, or neck pain
- problems with teeth
- unusual tiredness or weakness
How Much Nicotine Is Too Much?
Nicotine overdose depends on a handful of factors, including body weight and the source of nicotine. Fortunately, the mortality rate from nicotine poisoning remains very low.
Most researchers agree that a lethal dose of nicotine for adults falls between 50 to 60 milligrams (mg), which roughly equates to five cigarettes or 10 ml of liquid nicotine. Some research claims it takes 500 to 1000 mg of oral form nicotine to kill an adult.
Nicotine Lozenges: Dosage And Consumption
Nicotine lozenges come in two or four mg doses and are usually only recommended for eight to 11 weeks of use at a time.
How many lozenges you take a day is based on how many cigarettes you are accustomed to smoking and will vary by brand recommendation.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when consuming nicotine lozenges:
- only take one nicotine lozenge at a time
- do not exceed the total recommended daily amount of lozenges on the package
- do not eat at least 15 minutes before use, as this can disrupt the absorption process
- do not eat or drink with the nicotine lozenge in your mouth
- let the lozenge sit in your mouth, moving it from side to side occasionally—do not suck on, bite, chew, or swallow the lozenge.
Most lozenges are designed to dissolve in your mouth within half an hour.
Treatment Options For Nicotine Abuse And Addiction
There are a few treatment options for individuals with nicotine addiction. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine lozenges and patches, are great options for people looking to quit nicotine use on their own.
However, some people may find that receiving additional help from an outpatient treatment program may be what they need to kick their nicotine habit for good.
To learn more about nicotine lozenge overdose, or how to beat nicotine addiction, contact an addiction treatment specialist today.