Nicotrol Inhaler and Pregnancy

As a pregnancy Category D drug, the Nicotrol Inhaler (nicotine inhaler) may be harmful to a fetus. The active ingredient in the Nicotine Inhaler is thought to increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and other problems. It's important to note, however, that this product is generally considered safer than smoking during pregnancy, and it may be prescribed to pregnant women in some cases.

Can Pregnant Women Use the Nicotrol Inhaler?

The Nicotrol® Inhaler (nicotine inhaler) is a prescription medication approved to help people stop smoking. It helps people quit smoking by reducing the uncomfortable nicotine withdrawal symptoms that occur when people try to quit. The Nicotrol Inhaler 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 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.
In other words, 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.
When given to pregnant mice in high doses, nicotine (the active ingredient in the Nicotrol Inhaler) caused bone problems in mice offspring. When given in high doses to pregnant monkeys and sheep, it caused breathing problems in the offspring, as well as low blood pressure in the monkeys.
The Nicotrol Inhaler has not been studied in pregnant women. However, because it contains nicotine, it may be harmful to a developing fetus if used during pregnancy. Nicotine use during pregnancy may increase the risk for miscarriage and low birth weight. It may also cause breathing problems and increased fetal heart rate when used later in pregnancy.
In general, the Nicotrol Inhaler is considered safer for use during pregnancy than smoking. The product does not contain the toxic substances found in cigarette smoke, such as hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide. Therefore, it may be used in pregnant women who need a nicotine replacement medication to help them quit smoking.
It is generally recommended that pregnant women who are smoking first try to quit without using a nicotine replacement medicine. This is often very difficult to do, however, because of the addictive nature of nicotine. If you are smoking while pregnant, your healthcare provider may recommend a product like the Nicotrol Inhaler to help you quit.
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