The effect of nicotine on gastric emptying remains controversial. Gastric emptying is delayed in chronic smokers after smoking high-dose nicotine cigarettes, but it is unchanged after chewing nicotine gums. No information is available on the effect of transdermal nicotine patches on the gastric emptying of solid and liquid contents in healthy nonsmokers. Our objective was to prospectively evaluate the effect of the nicotine patch on gastric emptying of liquid and solid contents in healthy nonsmokers. Ten healthy nonsmoking volunteers underwent a baseline dual-isotope gastric scintigraphy with [111In]-diethylenetriaminepantaacetic acid (DTPA) and [99mTc]sulfur colloid isotopes to evaluate prospectively the gastric emptying of liquid and solid contents, respectively. The gastric scintigraphy was repeated after placing a transdermal nicotine patch (Habitrol) for 12 hr designed to deliver 14 mg of nicotine per day. Plasma nicotine level was measured prior to baseline gastric scintigraphy and after 12 hr placing the nicotine patch. Plasma nicotine was absent in all subjects at baseline and but was significantly elevated after 12 hr of nicotine patch (P < 0.009). The mean half-emptying times (T1/2) for the gastric emptying of liquids before and after nicotine patch placement were 31.2+/-23.3 and 25.6+/-8.4 min, respectively (P = 0.498). The mean T1/2s for the gastric emptying of solids before and after nicotine patch placement were 70.1+/-34.0 and 59.7+/-31.4 min, respectively (P = 0.202). There was no correlation between the plasma nicotine level and gastric emptying of liquid and solid contents (correlation coefficient = -0.23 and -0.01, respectively). In conclusion, acute transdermal delivery of nicotine does not affect the gastric emptying of solid and liquid contents in healthy nonsmoking subjects.