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Nicotine Tob Res. 2009 Apr;11(4):342-7. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntp027. Epub 2009 Apr 3.

A pilot study of nicotine delivery to smokers from a metered-dose inhaler.

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Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Wellington, Wellington South, New Zealand.



The present study generated preliminary data on the acceptability and pharmacokinetics of nicotine administered by a simple metered-dose inhaler (MDI).


We conducted a nonrandomized, open-label cross-over trial of 10 current smokers. On Day 1, a single cigarette was smoked ad libitum. On Day 2, participants took 10 puffs (20 inhalations) of 50 microg nicotine/puff through the inhaler, and on Day 3, they took 10 puffs (20 inhalations) of 100 microg nicotine/puff, each over 5 min. Nicotine pharmacokinetics, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and the acceptability of the inhalers were measured and recorded.


Nicotine administered by an MDI produced a median maximum plasma concentration that was about 50% of that obtained by smoking a cigarette (12.5 vs. 25.9 ng/ml) and took twice the time to reach that concentration, 6 versus 3 min. Self-rated satisfaction and reduced urge to smoke were similar for the MDIs and a cigarette.


The results suggest that nicotine can be delivered effectively by the pulmonary route using a standard MDI. The inhaler appears to provide a satisfaction level and reduction in the urge to smoke relatively similar to that provided by smoking a cigarette. These conclusions require verification in a larger controlled study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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