Transdermally administered nicotine accumulates in gastric juice

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1996;51(3-4):315-8. doi: 10.1007/s002280050204.


Methods: Transdermal nicotine patches (Nicorette 15 mg.16 h-1) were administered to 7 healthy volunteers. Nicotine concentrations in gastric juice were monitored for 8 h via a naso-gastric tube and so was nicotine in saliva and plasma.

Results: Nicotine accumulated in gastric juice, the average concentration being 60.6-times higher than in plasma. In saliva, too, the concentration was higher than in plasma, the average ratio being 10.5. These results strongly suggested ion-trapping of nicotine base in the acidic gastric juice and possibly also in the acinar cells, followed by active secretion. It is hypothesised that accumulation in saliva occurs via a similar mechanism. Pretreatment with omeprazole did not increase the pH to a sufficiently high degree to test the hypothesis that the accumulation of nicotine in gastric juice was pH dependent.

Conclusion: Transdermal administration of nicotine produced a high intragastric concentration. The clinical consequence of this effect of long-term nicotine replacement therapy during smoking cessation is unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gastric Acidity Determination
  • Gastric Juice / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Saliva / metabolism


  • Nicotine