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What are the Side Effects of Nicotine Gum?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Chewing nicotine gum can be an effective method to quit smoking, but it may have some unpleasant side effects as well. Many of them are mild, such as headaches and extra saliva, if the gum is used correctly and may abate once a person's body becomes accustomed to the treatment. More severe side effects of nicotine gum, such as irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing, often occur due to an allergic reaction, not using it as directed, or because of a nicotine overdose. Those who decide to use this treatment should consult with a doctor on possible side effects and how best to avoid them.

The majority of the side effects of nicotine gum are relatively minor and sometimes clear up after a period of time. Due to the exposure of the inside of the mouth and throat directly to the gum, many of the issues that arise from chewing it occur in these areas. Users may experience a tingling sensation as they chew and can develop irritation or sores inside the mouth or in the throat. Extra saliva may also be produced, which may result in excessive swallowing. The nicotine often decreases the flow of blood to the mouth, which can potentially lead to gum disease if it is used for long periods of time.

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A variety of other mild side effects of nicotine gum may also occur. Many users experience headaches when they first use it. Upset stomach and heartburn are also common; people who already suffer from recurring heartburn may not want to use nicotine gum because of this. The muscles of the jaw may become tired and achy, while those in the throat can feel constricted.

Improper use can worsen the side effects of nicotine gum. The gum is designed to be chewed slowly, typically over the course of a half-hour; when it is chewed too fast, users can experience light-headedness, nausea and vomiting, and insomnia. Those who use more than directed, or continue to smoke while chewing the gum, risk a nicotine overdose. This condition can cause some severe and dangerous symptoms including irregular heartbeat and chest pain, ringing in the ears and vision problems, or even seizures.

Though it is relatively rare, some people are allergic to nicotine gum. Side effects specific to an allergic reaction can include swelling in the mouth or throat, hives, and difficulty swallowing and breathing. People who suspect they have an allergy to their nicotine gum should notify their doctor immediately.

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anon941530
Post 3

I chewed that 4mg stuff for five years. Got me off the ciggies, now addicted to the gum. But I quit today because the high blood pressure it gives me almost feel like a aneurysm is going to pop in my head. Also I have permanent neuralgia in my feet, cold and numb all the time due to this poison nicotine polacrylex. They warn you to only use it 12 weeks, but a lot of folks are addicted to it. It is a poison. Stay away from it and put those ciggies down. You are killing yourself. Why, when so many people love you?

Reminiscence
Post 2

My doctor suggested nicotine gum when I first tried to quit smoking, but I didn't think it was doing much about the cravings. I started chewing two or three pieces at a time, then snuck in a few cigarettes when no one was looking. I thought I was going to pass out that night. My heart was pounding in my chest and I was very jittery. I couldn't sleep, either. I stopped chewing the gum for a day or so and I started feeling better. I decided to quit cold turkey instead of using gums or pills, and I haven't smoked one cigarette in fifteen years.

Phaedrus
Post 1

When I was a child, I found some of my dad's nicotine gum and chewed a few pieces by mistake. I don't remember having any strong side effects, but my mother seriously considered calling the Poison Control Center hotline. This was in the early days of nicotine gum, and the pieces contained even more nicotine than today's versions.

I did feel a little lightheaded and nauseous after 15 minutes, but it didn't last long. I was probably very lucky, because there was a story in the newspaper the next morning about a 5 year old girl who chewed an entire pack of her mother's nicotine gum and nearly died.

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