Pharmacology of nicotine and its therapeutic use in smoking cessation and neurodegenerative disorders

Pharmacol Ther. 1996;72(1):51-81. doi: 10.1016/s0163-7258(96)00099-x.


During the last decade, nicotine has been used increasingly as an aid to smoking cessation and has been found to be a safe and efficacious treatment for the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. This period has also seen significant advances in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the psychopharmacological responses to nicotine, including, particularly, those that have been implicated in nicotine addiction. This paper reviews this decade of progress in the specific context of the therapeutic application of nicotine to the treatment of smoking cessation. Other putative future applications, particularly in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, are also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Carriers
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / metabolism
  • Nicotine / pharmacokinetics
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Nicotinic Agonists / metabolism
  • Nicotinic Agonists / pharmacology
  • Nicotinic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy


  • Drug Carriers
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Nicotine