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Women who are or may become pregnant should not use Nicotrol NS (nicotine nasal spray) because of the serious risks the drug presents to the fetus, such as breathing problems and an increased heart rate. However, smoking cigarettes when pregnant presents an even larger risk, so a healthcare provider may recommend Nicotrol NS if a woman absolutely needs a nicotine replacement product.
Can Pregnant Women Use Nicotrol NS?Nicotrol® NS (nicotine nasal spray) is a prescription medication used to help people stop smoking. It comes in the form of a nasal spray. Nicotrol NS is a pregnancy Category D medicine, which means it may cause harm to an unborn child.
What Is Pregnancy Category D?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is a classification given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women but may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents.
Thus, a pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
In animal studies, nicotine, the active ingredient in Nicotrol NS, caused bone problems in offspring when given in high doses to pregnant mice. It also caused breathing problems for fetuses when given in high doses to pregnant monkeys and sheep.
Nicotrol NS has not been studied in pregnant women. However, any form of nicotine may be harmful if used during pregnancy. There have been reports of miscarriage with nicotine replacement medication use during pregnancy. In addition, nicotine may cause fetal breathing problems and increase the unborn baby's heart rate.
Nicotrol NS is generally considered safer for use during pregnancy than smoking. It does not contain the toxic substances found in cigarette smoke, such as hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide. Therefore, this product may be used in pregnant women who need a nicotine replacement medication to be successful in their attempts to quit.
It is usually recommended that pregnant women try to first quit smoking without the use of a nicotine replacement medicine such as Nicotrol NS. This can be difficult to do, however, because nicotine is an addictive drug. If you are smoking while pregnant, your healthcare provider may recommend a product like Nicotrol NS to help you quit. It should always be used as part of a larger, comprehensive quit-smoking program.