What Happens If You Accidently Swallow Nicorette Gum
When you’re ready to quit smoking, using an oral nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) as part of your quit-smoking plan can help make the process more manageable. If you decide a nicotine gum, like Nicorette, is right for you, it’s important to know how to use it properly. Unlike regular minty gum or bubblegum, nicotine gums help you manage cigarette cravings and can ease symptoms of withdrawal by providing a therapeutic dose of nicotine as your dependency gradually declines. Because of the nicotine, swallowing this kind of gum can have more side effects than your typical chewing gum. Read on to find out what can happen and what to do if you accidently swallowed Nicorette gum.
Chewing Nicorette Gum Properly
When you use a nicotine gum, the nicotine is released from the gum and enters your body through your gums and cheeks. From there it makes its way into your bloodstream and up to your brain.1 To ensure it works properly (and won’t make you feel sick), you don’t want to chew this kind of gum like you normally would. Doing so will release the nicotine into your saliva, and when you swallow, this can lead to an upset stomach, hiccups and heartburn.1
The proper way to chew Nicorette Gum is by using the “chew and park” method. Basically, you should chew the gum just enough to allow it to start releasing the nicotine. You’ll notice a tingly feeling or peppery taste. That’s when you should “park” the gum between your gums and cheek to allow the medication to absorb. When the peppery taste or tingling fades, chew and park the gum again. You’ll repeat this process for about 15 to 30 minutes, or until most of the tingle is gone.
When you’re done with the gum, don’t swallow it. Be sure to throw it away somewhere where a child or a pet won’t accidentally pick it up and swallow it.
What Happens If You Swallow Nicorette Gum
If you accidently swallow Nicorette Gum, you may feel some uncomfortable side effects. Releasing the nicotine into your stomach can cause a stomach ache and heartburn as well as hiccups. The nicotine will also not act as effectively.
While your body can absorb and digest flavors and other additives in gum, it cannot digest the base of chewing gum. If you accidently swallow a piece of your gum, it will move through the digestive system in a matter of days and come out through a bowel movement. Although you should not try to swallow your gum, accidently swallowing a single piece shouldn’t be a major cause for concern. Should you swallow several pieces in a short amount of time, it could cause a blockage to your digestive track and you should contact your doctor.2
Tips for Using Nicorette Gum Effectively
While you might think swallowing nicotine gum will increase its effects, the opposite is true. To get the best outcome from your gum (and to avoid uncomfortable potential side effects like nausea or heartburn), it’s best to chew your gum slowly, one piece at a time.3 If you experience strong or frequent cravings, you may use a second piece within the hour. Do not continuously use one piece after another and do not use more than 24 pieces per day. Other things to keep in mind in order to get the most effective experience with your nicotine gum include:1,3
- Have your nicotine gum on hand on the day you quit so you are ready to use it.
- Replace your nicotine gum before you run out.
- Keep your nicotine gum with you throughout the day so you can chew it if and when a craving strikes.
- Don’t eat or drink for 15 minutes before chewing the gum or while you are chewing it.
- Chew at least nine pieces of nicotine gum per day for the first six weeks after you quit smoking to improve your chances of quitting.
- Don’t chew too few pieces of gum or stop using nicotine gum abruptly as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms, similar to suddenly stopping smoking.
- Chew a second piece of nicotine gum within the hour if you have frequent or extreme cravings.
Beat Cravings with Nicorette Gum
Ready to quit smoking and kick your cigarette cravings to the curb? You don’t have to go it alone. The use of nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum can be a smart way to gradually reduce your cigarette cravings and give your body time to adjust to a smoke-free life. If you decide a nicotine gum fits into your stop-smoking plan, be sure to chew your gum correctly and throw it out—don’t swallow—when you are finished with it. If you do accidently swallow Nicorette Gum, don’t panic, but be sure to chew more carefully next time.