If it seems that your over-the-counter medication isn’t working as intended, it could be due to various factors, such as the wrong dosage or because you’re an active smoker.
For both long-term smokers and those currently trying to quit by using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), it might be due in part to the nicotine.
Nicotine can conflict with some medications and may reduce their effectiveness.
Let’s take a deeper look at nicotine’s effects on your medications in this post.
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Nicotine and Coughing
It’s not surprising that your coughing will worsen if you continue smoking. Without enough hydration and lubrication, the throat will become dry and keep you coughing all day long.
According to a study, nicotine can worsen coughing by irritating your trachea and various parts of your airways. It’s not good to smoke if you have a dry cough or still have symptoms of coughing or a respiratory ailment.
In the case of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), get a GP’s advice and prescription on how to use them while your throat still feels scratchy.
Nicotine and ADHD
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and it’s easy for someone diagnosed with ADHD to get stuck with it for a long time.
If you’re taking nicotine along with your ADHD medication, the former won’t directly affect what you’re taking. However, experts have found that the continuous consumption of nicotine can make it much more difficult for someone diagnosed with ADHD to quit it.
Even if your ADHD medication isn’t directly affected by nicotine consumption, the best route to take is to avoid it entirely if you weren’t smoking in the first place.
If you were smoking prior to taking your ADHD medication, don’t be complacent that nicotine won’t affect your medication – attempt to quit it and see a GP to help you get started.
Nicotine and Anxiety
Smoking has been linked to anxiety and depression by a number of studies, but is nicotine involved in it?
Studies suggest that nicotine and anxiety medication have no direct correlation. Instead, it’s the chemicals in cigarette smoke that can affect the anxiolytics you’re taking.
One reason for this is the way chemicals in smoke increase the metabolism of anxiety medication in a smoker’s body – which leads to unnecessary increases in dosage. Cigarette smoke also affects your antipsychotic, hypnotic, and insulin medications in the same way.
So, if you want your medications to help with your anxiety, quit smoking. And, before using any NRT patch or other tools, be sure to see a GP for the right prescription.
Nicotine and Blood Pressure
Nicotine temporarily increases your adrenaline and heart rate. However, this usually only occurs if you’ve consumed high levels of nicotine within a short period of time.
Furthermore, the chemicals in cigarette smoke, not nicotine, will swell and narrow your blood vessels, which can lead to dangerous heart and blood conditions.
Experts suggest that low nicotine consumption will not induce higher heart rates and adrenaline rushes, minimising the negative correlation between nicotine and blood pressure medications.
This means that going through NRT and using a nicotine patch while taking blood pressure medication is relatively safe if you’re on a smoking cessation journey. But again, we encourage you to see a GP.
The Effects of Vaping on Medication
Nicotine vaping products (NVPs) have exploded in popularity over the last few years. The latest Cochrane Review found high certainty evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes are more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) in helping people quit smoking.
However, they might not be the best option for motivated smokers taking any form of medication.
Pharmacy-available NVPs contain enough nicotine to handle your withdrawals and cravings while quitting smoking (minus the dangers of cigarette smoke), which can increase your heart rate, cause nausea, and also affect your current medication.
Using any NVP (whether you’re taking medication or not) must be via a GP under a smoking cessation programme.
The Best Solution: Stop Using Nicotine on Medication
The best option to ensure the efficacy of your medication is always a preventative one. Stopping nicotine use while on medication will give you the best chance of recovery.
We completely understand that quitting smoking is a steep mountain to climb. That’s why we’re always here to help.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.