Background: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help smokers to quit smoking. Nicotine chewing gum has attracted the attention from pharmaceutical industries to offer it to consumers as an easily accessible NRT product. However, the bitter taste of such gums may compromise their acceptability by patients. This study was, therefore, designed to develop 2 and 4 mg nicotine chewing gums of pleasant taste, which satisfy the consumers the most.
Materials and methods: Nicotine, sugar, liquid glucose, glycerin, different sweetening and taste-masking agents, and a flavoring agent were added to the gum bases at appropriate temperature. The medicated gums were cut into pieces of suitable size and coated by acacia aqueous solution (2% w/v), sugar dusting, followed by acacia-sugar-calcium carbonate until a smooth surface was produced. The gums' weight variation and content uniformity were determined. The release of nicotine was studied in pH 6.8 phosphate buffer using a mastication device which simulated the mastication of chewing gum in human. The Latin Square design was used for the evaluation of organoleptic characteristics of the formulations at different stages of development.
Results: Most formulations released 79-83% of their nicotine content within 20 min. Nicotine-containing sugar-coated gums in which aspartame as sweetener and cherry and eucalyptus as flavoring agents were incorporated (i.e. formulations F(19-SC) and F(20-SC), respectively) had optimal chewing hardness, adhering to teeth, and plumpness characteristics, as well as the most pleasant taste and highest acceptability to smokers.
Conclusion: Taste enhancement of nicotine gums was achieved where formulations comprised aspartame as the sweetener and cherry and eucalyptus as the flavoring agents. Nicotine gums of pleasant taste may, therefore, be used as NRT to assist smokers quit smoking.
Keywords: Nicotine chewing gum; nicotine addiction; nicotine replacement therapy; smoking cessation.