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INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS

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Consumer Medicine Information

NICORETTE® Gum and NICORETTE® Mint Gum

Nicotine
2 mg, 4 mg chewing gum

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about Nicorette Gum. It does not contain all the available information or take the place of professional advice such as talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

All medicines have risks and benefits. You need to weigh the risks of taking Nicorette Gum against the benefits it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet with the medicine. You may need to read it again.

What Nicorette Gum is used for

Nicorette Gum helps you to give up smoking by relieving the desire to smoke, as well as some of the unpleasant effects, which smokers experience when they stop smoking.

Nicorette Gum is also used to help smokers who need to temporarily stop smoking e.g. on long air flights. Nicorette Gum can also help reduce the amount of cigarettes smoked in smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit.

How Nicorette Gum works

Smokers have both a physical reliance on nicotine (i.e. the body becomes dependent on nicotine) and a psychological reliance on the smoking habit.

When you give up smoking, your body will miss the effects of nicotine and you will miss the habit of smoking.

Nicorette Gum helps you to tackle these two sides of the problem separately, instead of all at once.

It is your body's dependence on nicotine, which causes withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop smoking. Nicotine is an addictive substance. Symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, depression, weight gain, and craving for cigarettes.

Nicorette Gum is intended to ease such withdrawal symptoms by providing your body with nicotine. This leaves your mind free to concentrate on overcoming your psychological desire to smoke.

Before using Nicorette Gum

When you must not use the Nicorette Gum

Do not use Nicorette Gum if:

You should not use Nicorette Gum if the expiry date printed on the carton has passed or the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.

Do not give Nicorette Gum to anyone else to use as it is recommended that they seek professional advice prior to starting treatment.

Before you start to use Nicorette Gum

If you have had any of the following, you should ask for your doctor or pharmacist's advice before using Nicorette Gum.

These medical conditions may need consideration by or discussion with your doctor or pharmacist. You and your doctor or pharmacist can then weigh up the risk of using Nicorette Gum against the benefits you will get if you stop smoking.

The medical conditions include:

If you have dentures, dental caps or partial bridges.

Nicorette Gum may stick to your dentures, dental caps or partial bridges and therefore may cause damage to your dental work. It is important that your dental work is kept clean. You should stop chewing Nicorette Gum if it is sticking to your dental work and discuss further use of Nicorette Gum with your doctor and dentist.

Taking other medicines

If you are taking any other medicines, including medicines that you buy without a prescription, in a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop, the way these medicines work may be affected once you stop smoking.

These medicines may include:

You may wish to seek professional advice from your doctor or a pharmacist before you start to use Nicorette Gum.

Using Nicorette Gum

What is the proper chewing method?

Do not chew Nicorette Gum when eating or drinking.

This causes excessive swallowing of nicotine, reducing the effectiveness of Nicorette. Do not drink acidic beverages, such as coffee or soft drinks, for 15 minutes before chewing as they can interfere with the absorption of nicotine.

To get the full effect from Nicorette Gum these steps should be followed carefully:

  1. Place one piece of Nicorette in your mouth and chew it slowly until you feel a slight tingling sensation.
  2. When you feel the tingling (usually after about 10 chews), place the piece of gum under your tongue or between your cheek and gums until the tingling has gone. This will take about one minute.
  3. When the tingling has gone, continue to chew the gum slowly until the tingling returns. Then again place the gum under your tongue or between your cheek and gums.
  4. Chew each piece of Nicorette in this way until you no longer experience the tingling sensation. Each piece of Nicorette will usually last about 30 minutes.
  5. Dispose of the chewed pieces of gum neatly, e.g. return to the bubble pack.

Why is proper chewing so important?

Nicorette Gum releases nicotine into your saliva. This nicotine is absorbed through the lining of your mouth and enters your bloodstream. Any nicotine that is swallowed in saliva is broken down in your stomach. It is therefore wasted.

So it is important to chew Nicorette Gum slowly so that the nicotine is released a little at a time and absorbed through the lining of the mouth.

If Nicorette Gum is chewed too quickly or for too long, a lot of saliva is produced and swallowed which reduces Nicorette's ability to work effectively. Too much chewing may also produce an unpleasant strong taste, which is a useful sign that you should slow down or stop chewing. Chewing too quickly may at first irritate the throat or cause hiccups or make you feel sick.

So remember that if the taste is too strong you are chewing too fast!

Which strength of Nicorette Gum should I use?

Nicorette Gum is available in 2 milligram (mg) and 4 mg strengths. Usually, the 4 mg strength is recommended if you smoke 20 cigarettes or more in a day or are a smoker who has not been able to quit smoking using the 2 mg strength. Otherwise you should use the 2 mg strength.

How much Nicorette Gum should I use?

The amount of Nicorette Gum you chew each day depends on your former smoking habits. Usually, it is recommended that a piece of Nicorette should be used when the urge to smoke is felt. About 8 to 12 chewing gums, of either the 2 mg or 4 mg strength, each day will be adequate. No more than 24 gums should be used daily.

How long should I continue to use Nicorette Gum

To quit smoking:

It is important that you use Nicorette Gum for long enough to help overcome your dependence on cigarettes. Normally this period will be at least 3 months. Then you can start to slowly wean yourself from using the gum. When you are only using 1 to 2 chewing gums each day, then you can stop the treatment.

Temporary abstinence:

Nicorette chewing gum should be used during smoke-free periods, for example in smoke free areas or in situations when you wish to avoid smoking.

Smoking reduction:

Use Nicorette Gum between smoking episodes to prolong smoke-free intervals and with the intention to reduce your smoking as much as possible. If after 6 weeks you have not reduced the number of cigarettes smoked each day, then you should seek professional advice.

You should try to quit smoking as soon as you feel ready, but no later than 6 months after starting your treatment. If 9 months has passed since starting Nicorette Gum and you have still not been able to make a serious attempt at quitting smoking, then seek professional advice.

Regular use of the gum after 12 months is not recommended. Some ex-smokers may need longer treatment to avoid returning to smoking.

How to combine use of Nicorette Patch and Gum

Normally Nicorette Patch or Gum alone would provide enough nicotine to help most people control their craving for cigarettes. However, some people may find that even though they are using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) they still have intense or frequent cravings they find difficult to cope with. If you are one of these people you may benefit from combining Nicorette Patch use with Nicorette 2 mg Gum.

Each morning apply a Nicorette 15 mg/16 hour Patch to an intact area of skin. The Nicorette Patch should be removed before going to bed. After applying the Nicorette Patch use Nicorette 2 mg Gum whenever a craving occurs.

For best results try to chew at least 4 pieces of Nicorette Gum every day. Most people will use 5-6 pieces. Do not use more than 24 pieces of gum.

The combination of Nicorette Patch and Nicorette Gum should be used in this way for 6-12 weeks. After this time if required you can wean yourself off NRT by either:

  1. Use the Nicorette 10 mg/16 hour Patch for 3-6 weeks and then use the Nicorette 5 mg/16 hour Patch for 3-6 weeks while using the same number of pieces of Nicorette Gum in a day that you have routinely used. Then when a patch is no longer needed, gradually reduce the number of pieces of gum until you no longer need them. OR
  2. Stop use of the Nicorette 15 mg/16 hour Patch and then gradually reduce the number of pieces of Nicorette 2 mg Gum that are used until you no longer need them.

If you use too much (overdose) or in accidental poisoning

Overdose of nicotine can occur if nicotine is used excessively, either from chewing too many pieces of Nicorette Gum at the same time or rapidly one after the other, and/or smoking.

Symptoms of overdose or poisoning include:

Children have a greater risk of poisoning from nicotine, therefore it is important to keep Nicorette Gum out of reach of children.

In the event of yourself or someone else showing symptoms seek medical advice. Immediately telephone your doctor or the National Poisons Information Centre (0800 POISON or 0800 474 7000) for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital.

Side effects

Nicotine like all other medicines may cause unwanted side effects in some people.

Seek professional advice from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are using Nicorette Gum. Most of the undesirable effects reported by users of Nicorette occur during the first weeks after beginning treatment and are most likely due to chewing incorrectly or to the effects of nicotine. Some are minor and temporary but others may need medical attention.

You may notice the following:

Some effects, such as dizziness, headache and sleeplessness may be withdrawal symptoms due to low nicotine levels.

If any of these effects do not go away, or you have any other undesirable effects during use, tell your doctor or pharmacist.

After using Nicorette Gum

Storage

The expiry date of the Nicorette Gum is on the label of the carton and on the foil of the blister pack. Do not use Nicorette Gum if the expiry date has passed.

Leave all pieces in the blister pack until immediately before use.

Store Nicorette Gum below 25°C. Storage in a car in hot weather may cause deterioration of the Gum.

KEEP NICORETTE GUM OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.
(See section on 'If you use too much (overdose) or in accidental poisoning').

Disposal

When Nicorette Gum is no longer needed, dispose of carefully, where children or animals cannot get it.

Product description

What Nicorette Gum looks like

As well as the Nicorette Gum there is an additional mint flavour: Nicorette Mint Gum.

The 2 mg strength is a beige colour. The 4 mg strength is a yellow colour.

Nicorette Gum and Nicorette Mint Gum are available in packs of 30 and 105 pieces.

Nicorette Gum is a General Sales Medicine.

Ingredients

The active ingredient in Nicorette Gum is nicotine-resin complex.

Nicorette Gum:
Other ingredients in both strengths of Nicorette Gum are chewing gum base, sorbitol powder, sorbitol 70%, flavour for smoker, haverstroo flavour, sodium carbonate anhydrous, and glycerol 85%.

Nicorette Mint Gum:
Other ingredients in both strengths of Nicorette Mint Gum are chewing gum base, xylitol, peppermint oil, menthol, sodium carbonate anhydrous, and magnesium oxide light.

An ingredient found only in the 2 mg Nicorette Gum and Nicorette Mint Gum is sodium hydrogen carbonate.
An ingredient found only in the 4 mg Nicorette Gum and Nicorette Mint Gum is quinoline yellow Al-lake E 104.

Supplier

Nicorette Gum is supplied in New Zealand by:

Pharmacia
PO Box 11-282
Ellerslie
Auckland

For medical enquiries call (09) 5804300

This leaflet was prepared in February 2003.