The release of nicotine from chewing gum formulations

  • Yamini Morjaria

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The first clinically proven nicotine replacement product to obtain regulatory approval was Nicorette® gum. It provides a convenient way of delivering nicotine directly to the buccal cavity, thus, circumventing 'first-pass' elimination following gastrointestinal absorption. Since launch, Nicorette® gum has been investigated in numerous studies (clinical) which are often difficult to compare due to large variations in study design and degree of sophistication. In order to standardise testing, in 2000 the European Pharmacopoeia introduced an apparatus to investigate the in vitro release of drug substances from medical chewing gum. With use of the chewing machine, the main aims of this project were to determine factors that could affect release from Nicorette® gum, to develop an in vitro in vivo correlation and to investigate formulation variables on release of nicotine from gums. A standard in vitro test method was developed. The gum was placed in the chewing chamber with 40 mL of artificial saliva at 37'C and chewed at 60 chews per minute. The chew rate, the type of dissolution medium used, pH, volume, temperature and the ionic strength of the dissolution medium were altered to investigate the effects on release in vitro. It was found that increasing the temperature of the dissolution media and the rate at which the gums were chewed resulted in a greater release of nicotine, whilst increasing the ionic strength of the dissolution medium to 80 mM resulted in a lower release. The addition of 0.1 % sodium Jauryl sulphate to the artificial saliva was found to double the release of nicotine compared to the use of artificial saliva and water alone. Although altering the dissolution volume and the starting pH did not affect the release. The increase in pH may be insufficient to provide optimal conditions for nicotine absorption (since the rate at which nicotine is transported through the buccal membrane was found to be higher at pH values greater than 8.6 where nicotine is predominately unionised). Using a time mapping function, it was also possible to establish a level A in vitro in vivo correlation. 4 mg Nicorette® gum was chewed at various chew rates in vitro and correlated to an in vivo chew-out study. All chew rates used in vitro could be successfully used for IVIVC purposes, however statistically, chew rates of 10 and 20 chews per minute performed better than all other chew rates.
Finally a series of nicotine gums was made to investigate the effect of formulation variables on release of nicotine from the gum. Using a directly compressible gum base, in comparison to Nicorette® the gums crumbled when chewed in vitro, resulting in a faster release of nicotine. To investigate the effect of altering the gum base, the concentration of sodium salts, sugar syrup, the form of the active drug, the addition sequence and the incorporation of surfactant into the gum, the traditional manufacturing method was used to make a series of gum formulations. Results showed that the time of addition of the active drug, the incorporation of surfactants and using different gum base all increased the release of nicotine from the gum. In contrast, reducing the concentration of sodium carbonate resulted in a lower release. Using a stronger nicotine ion-exchange resin delayed the release of nicotine from the gum, whilst altering the concentration of sugar syrup had little effect on the release but altered the texture of the gum.
Date of Award2004
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorWilliam J. Irwin (Supervisor) & Barbara R Conway (Supervisor)


  • Release of nicotine
  • chewing gum formulations

Cite this