Nicotine Nasal Spray

The nicotine nasal spray (Nicotrol NS) has been found to more than double your chances to quit successfully! It has been found to be slightly more effective than the patch as a quit smoking aid. However, there are some drawbacks. It is only available by prescription. Also, some people do not like the feeling of using the spray in their nose. The spray can be expensive.


How to Use Nicotine Nasal Spray

The nasal spray delivers nicotine to your body through your nostrils. Tilt your head back slightly when dispensing the spray and be careful not to sniff, swallow or inhale through the nose. Gently spray into your nose.

The amount of nicotine spray you should use depends on your needs. You should talk to your doctor about what makes sense for you. One dose is made up of one spray in each nostril. The suggested starting amount is one or two doses per hour. This may be increased to 40 doses per day if you're a heavy smoker. Take at least eight doses (a total of 16 sprays – eight in each nostril) per day; anything less may not be helpful for you. Do not take two doses at one time.

The spray is not recommended for people with asthma. It can make the condition worse. You should also avoid the spray if you have a chronic nasal disorder such as an allergy, nasal polyps, nasal inflammation or sinusitis.



Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • Asthma
  • Nasal disorder or sinusitis
  • Heart attack, irregular heart rate, angina or uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney or liver disease

IMPORTANT NOTE: Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using nicotine replacement, stop using it and call your doctor immediately. Nicotine may cause harm to the fetus or baby.


Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are:

  • Using a non-nicotine stop smoking drug
  • Taking prescription medicine for depression or asthma; your prescription dose may need to be adjusted
  • Using a prescription and/or nonprescription medication(s), especially acetaminophen (Tylenol), caffeine, diuretics ('water pills'), imipramine (Tofranil), insulin, medications for high blood pressure, oxazepam (Serax), pentazocine (Talwin, Talwin NX, Talacen), propoxyphene (Darvon, E-Lor), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, Slo-bid), and vitamins.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not smoke cigarettes or use other nicotine products while using the nicotine spray because nicotine overdose can occur. Call your doctor if you get too much nicotine (an overdose). Signs of an overdose may include dizziness, upset stomach, bad headaches, vomiting, cold sweats, confusion, blurred vision, hearing problems, weakness or fainting.

The nicotine spray may cause side effects. Stop use and ask a doctor if you develop allergies, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, bronchitis, nasal ulcers or blisters, or nosebleeds.



The nicotine spray has been found to be safe and very effective as a stop smoking aid. Using the spray as directed can prevent side effects or nicotine overdose symptoms.



Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence:  2008 Update.  Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.

Blondal T., Gudmundsson L.J., Olafsdottir I., et al. (1999). A nicotine patch plus nicotine nasal spray was more effective than a nicotine patch alone for smoking cessation. Evidence Based Mental Health, 2:73-74.

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Reducing Tobacco Use: A report of the surgeon general. Atlanta, Georgia: USDHHS, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health, Office on Smoking and Health.

Please note, Helpline does not endorse specific products.  The names of NRT products are included to familiarize the consumer with the various products that are available.


Please note, National Jewish Health does not endorse specific products. The names of NRT products are included to familiarize the consumer with the various products that are available.


This information has been approved by Amy Lukowski, PsyD (October 2010).

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