Arterial/venous plasma nicotine concentrations following nicotine nasal spray

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1999 Nov;55(9):639-43. doi: 10.1007/s002280050686.


Background and objectives: Arterial (A) and venous (V) plasma nicotine and cotinine concentrations were measured after nasal nicotine spray in tobacco smokers of both genders. The hypothesis for this research was that a greater A/V difference in plasma nicotine would be present in males than females because males have greater skeletal muscle mass to bind nicotine.

Subjects and methods: Nine male and nine female healthy adult smokers were studied. They all abstained from use of tobacco overnight for 10 h or more prior to the study. Nicotine nasal spray was given in doses of 1-2.5 mg total, with half in each nostril while the subject was supine. Both A and V blood samples were obtained prior to and 3, 6, 10, 15, 20, and 30 min post-nasal nicotine spray.

Results and conclusions: Nasal nicotine administration produced greater A than V plasma levels. There were no gender differences in A/V nicotine concentrations, disproving the above hypothesis, suggesting that other physiochemical factors besides skeletal muscle mass must be involved. Heart rate increases correlated well with arterial plasma nicotine levels (r = 0.77). Males had less variance than females in the expected increase in arterial plasma nicotine concentrations with increased number of nasal sprays. Although there was considerable overlap, mean A cotinine concentrations were consistently slightly larger than V concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cotinine / blood
  • Female
  • Ganglionic Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Ganglionic Stimulants / blood
  • Ganglionic Stimulants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / blood
  • Smoking / metabolism*


  • Aerosols
  • Ganglionic Stimulants
  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine