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SMOKERS LOOKING TO QUIT GET WHIFF OF GOOD NEWS ABOUT NICOTINE\NASAL SPRAY.

Byline: Associated Press

Hard-core smokers are about to get new help in kicking the habit: A nasal spray that gives them a shot of nicotine from a bottle instead of a cigarette.

Nicotrol NS is a pump bottle that holds 100 milligrams of pure nicotine that smokers can inhale to ward off cigarette cravings. It is to be sold by prescription only to adult smokers trying to quit, the Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

But the FDA warned that smokers could become as dependent on the nasal spray's nicotine as they are on cigarettes. Scientists already discovered one desperate woman who plotted ways to get the nasal spray for a year when she ran out of a three-month supply received during a research study.

Smokers should try to use the spray for just three months - and never longer than six months, the FDA said.

Despite the risk, Nicotrol NS "will be a very big help to smokers in general, but specifically to the heavier smokers," said Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the nicotine dependency center at Mayo Clinic.

"It's clearly safer for the patient to use the nicotine nasal spray than cigarettes."

McNeil Consumer Products of Fort Washington, Pa., will begin selling the spray later this year, but would not reveal an exact date or price.

Smoking cessation is a multimillion-dollar industry. Nicorette gum goes on sale next month without a prescription. Also next month, the makers of two nicotine patches, now sold by prescription to some 3 million would-be quitters, will seek FDA permission to sell over the counter. Some 20 percent to 25 percent of gum and patch users quit smoking.

The nicotine nasal spray, developed by Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc., hits the bloodstream faster than the gum or patch, offering the potential of almost immediate relief of cigarette cravings.

No one has compared Nicotrol NS directly to nicotine gum or patches. But studies of 730 patients found 25 percent given the nasal spray stopped smoking for at least a year, compared with 13 percent of smokers who tried to quit without help.

A squirt up each nostril gives the smoker 1 milligram of nicotine. Smokers aren't supposed to inhale it more than five times a day. Overdosing is dangerous - 40 milligrams of nicotine at once can be lethal.

A milligram dose may seem large, particularly when low-nicotine cigarettes advertise that smokers' blood absorbs a tenth that amount.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Mar 26, 1996
Words:400
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