Nicotine Withdrawal a Problem in ICU

CAEN, France, April 13 (UPI) — Nicotine withdrawal may cause problems for patients in intensive care, French researchers say.

Study leader Damien du Cheyron of Caen University Hospital in France linked nicotine withdrawal to dangerous agitation.


Du Cheyron and colleagues looked at the effects of nicotine withdrawal in 44 smokers and 100 non-smokers in the hospital’s intensive care unit and found agitation twice as common in smokers.

“Agitation was significantly more common in smokers than in non-smokers,” du Cheyron says in a statement. “These results suggest the need to be aware of nicotine withdrawal syndrome in critically ill patients, and support the need for improved strategies to prevent agitation or treat it earlier.”

The study, published in Critical Care, found smokers more likely than non-smokers to accidentally remove tubes and catheters, require a supplemental sedative, analgesic or anti-psychotic medications, or need physical restraints.

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