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Nicotine Pill

  [vote for,

(I'm loathe to initiate a smoking discussion here; it's all been said before.)

At this time, nicotine replacement therapy may involve the use of patches, chewing gum, nasal sprays (yuck) and inhalers (duh) in addition to the non-nicotine drug Zyban (sold as an anti-depressant here in the States under the name Wellbutrin).

While any of these treatments may be "better" than smoking tobacco, they all have their drawbacks, which need not be addressed here. I therefore propose nicotine delivery in pill form.

There's probably a number of reasons why this doesn't already exist, but Google isn't telling me what they are. There may be issues associated with metabolizing the stuff effectively or something; I don't know. I'm not a pharmacologist.

Of course, to be most effective, nicotine replacement products should be used in conjunction with a behavior change program (that bit's cribbed from the American Lung Association).

snarfyguy, Dec 12 2003

How about a tomato instead of a pill? http://washingtonti...13-014843-2329r.htm
The Simpsons meets reality [krelnik, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]


       From a quick glance at the British National Formulary (ref work for pharmacists) it would appear that duration of absorbtion it the reason for using slow relaease methods of delivery.
oneoffdave, Dec 12 2003

       Tell me why you think a pill form is better than any of the existing alternatives you mention.   

       I'm coming up on one year smoke free and I can vouch for Zyban. It rocks!
phoenix, Dec 12 2003

       I'm guessing the reason there is no pill is because nicotine is quite toxic in large doses, the other delivery mechanisms insure that overdose is nearly impossible. But I am not a doctor.   

       Congrats, phoenix!
krelnik, Dec 12 2003

       //Tell me why you think a pill form is better than any of the existing alternatives you mention.//   

       It's simpler. Many people who are accustomed to taking pills are not accustomed to chewing awful tasting gum, using inhalers / nasal spray devices or transdermal patches.   

       When my seasonal allergies kick in, I take a pill and the symptoms go away. I would rather take a pill than any of the alternatives. A pill is user-friendly.   

       As to [Krelnik]'s objection: if it's available by prescription only, there's no more risk of overdose than with plenty of other medications.   

       As to the absorption rate objection: Since none of us are experts in the field (but only because UnaBubba's not here), let's imagine this can be overcome by engineering the thing so that the body can cope with it. Perhaps use time-release.
snarfyguy, Dec 12 2003

       Even time-release can be circumvented by a broken tablet. Nicotine overdose is very nauseating and potentially deadly, though I guess it would depend on how much nicotine were in one of these pills.
phoenix, Dec 12 2003

       //Nicotine is very readily absorbed via the mouth mucosa and gastrointestinal tract. It is also neutralised very quickly by the liver. That means that there is a better absorption rate via gum than by an ingested pill, which would pass the nicotine more quickly to the liver than by chewing gum, where it passes directly into the bloodstream, further from the liver. This may well be why it is not a prefered delivery method.//   

       So if I understand you correctly, the trick is to have enough of the drug in the pill that a certain baseline amount is delivered to the bloodstream while not having so much that it's outright poisonous or ruins your liver altogether in the short run. Unless there is no such window of opportunity, it seems we just need to figure it out.   

       As to the defeating the time release objection, I don't see how it makes the idea bad.
snarfyguy, Dec 12 2003

       Blood pressure medicines and pain medicines are routinely given in time release pills. Both are toxic if the time release mechanism is defeated, as happens if the pill is bitten. This would be a problem with nicotine but not a nicotine-specific problem, I don't think.
bungston, Dec 12 2003

       Agreed, but there are alternate delivery methods for nicotine, thus the questionable necessity of this one.
phoenix, Dec 12 2003

       The necessity isn't even questionable: it's completely unnecessary. It would just allow for an option in the nicotine delivery industry that would appeal to a certain segment of the market.
snarfyguy, Dec 12 2003

       [buddha] That's absurd. There is no black market for a nicotine high. First of all, I can't think of any countries where nicotine is illegal. Secondly, nicotine's effects are short lived, and metabolized quickly, as Unabubba, or any smoker, could tell you. Third, with such a low toxic dose, it would be too easy to overdose to have any real desirable use. And finally, in case you've ever smoked tobacco, a nicotine high isn't that great to begin with.   

       So, arguing a time-release nicotine pill is a bad idea because of the potential for abuse is silly. Lots of pills are time release...like all of those 12 hour nasal decongestants or 24 hour antacids.   

       But all of that detracts from my original point I wanted to make, which is that most of these nicotine delivery methods allow the person to temporarily up their dosage if a craving hits them. For example, on nicorette, you simply chew another piece of gum if the craving gets too hard to control. With a time-release pill, you don't get that option.
Overpanic, Dec 12 2003

       What is the point of this? I've never heard of "nicotine replacement therapy" before. The other products you mention are all related to smoking cessation. Doesn't sound like they mean the same thing. Replacement does not equal cessation.   

       If the point is cessation, then nothing is gained by continuing to administer the addictive ingredient in cigarrettes. You just get addicted to something different. That's no good.   

       I disagree with b_pest only insofar as to say that I doubt very much people would use these at all, and just keep on smoking. They serve no purpose.
waugsqueke, Dec 12 2003

       [waugs] You've really never heard of nicotine replacement therapy? It's not what you assume. Yes, people are still addicted to nicotine, but the first thing removed is the physical habit of smoking, with all of its lung-related problems. Then the nicotine dose is incrementally lowered (with the patch, you get smaller patches; with the gum, you chew less powerful gum) until you can finally quit.   

       Possibly the only deterrent to getting addicted to these devices is the realization of how silly you look. That, and the people on these substances are actually trying, and motivated, to quit in the first place.
Overpanic, Dec 13 2003

       You realize that they still make oxycontin, a time release version of percocet (oxycodone), despite dingbats chewing the tablets and cutting them in half...as well as snorting them, smoking them, and robbing pharmacies to get them.
Overpanic, Dec 13 2003

       Pill? Just a pill? Boy, talk about taking all the fun out of carcinogens.
wgmcg, Dec 14 2003

       I've seen in the news, since posting this, that they've just introduced nicotine water.
snarfyguy, Dec 30 2003

       How'd you find out the recipe, [UB]? Isn't that a big trade secret?
snarfyguy, Dec 31 2003

buffguynumberone, Dec 31 2003

       I further note that nicotine water is now a featured ingredient a mixed drink in some of the trendy Manhattan cocktail lounges. It's called...   

       wait for it...   


       The Nicotini!   

       I kid you not.
snarfyguy, Jan 12 2004


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