Nicotine Nasal Spray

Nicotine Nasal Spray icon

Nicotine nasal spray comes in a hand-held sprayer bottle. You use one spray in each nostril frequently throughout the day. The medicine is not inhaled. The nicotine is absorbed mostly in your nose. It is usually prescribed to people with severe nicotine addiction.

Pros:

  • Can be used regularly and when you feel withdrawal symptoms or urges coming on.
  • Delivers nicotine most rapidly of all nicotine replacement medicines (NRTs).
  • Can be used with the patch to deal with breakthrough urges.
  • You control how often you use it, so you won’t get more nicotine than you want.

Cons:

  • Usually takes several days to get used to nose irritation.
  • You have to remember to use it regularly and often.
  • Some people don’t like having to spray medicine into their nose.
  • It’s more addictive than other forms of NRT but still safer and less addictive than smoking cigarettes.
  • May be visible to people around you when using.
  • Requires a prescription.

Possible Side Effects (and what you can do about them):

  • Nose and throat irritation; hot, peppery, burning feeling (very common, but may lessen with continued use).
  • Tearing, runny nose, sneezing, or cough (often people get used to these. Talk to your doctor if they continue to bother you).
  • Headache (Consider waiting longer between doses and talk with your doctor).

Nasal Spray Precautions (If any of these apply to you, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before starting to use spray.):

  • A heart attack in the last two weeks.
  • A serious heart rhythm problem.
  • Pain in your heart (angina) that is serious or getting worse.
  • Problems in your nose or sinuses.
  • Severe breathing problems like asthma.
  • Could be pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Less than 18 years old.

More precautions and general information are available about the nasal sprayexternal icon.

The quit-smoking medicines talked about on this website are approved by the FDA for adults to use to quit cigarettes. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or younger than 18, you should not use these medicines without talking to your doctor. If you use tobacco products other than cigarettes (like cigars, chew, snuff, hookah, or e-cigarettes), talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider or call the quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to get help with quitting. All the ways to use medicines presented here are reviewed in Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General (Chapter 6)pdf icon. Some of the ways have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA.