Hospital Treatment Can Be Complicated By Nicotine Withdrawal
Smokers with a medical condition requiring treatment in an intensive care unit may see complications resulting from nicotine withdrawal.
A study conducted at Caen University Hospital in France looked at 44 smokers and 100 non-smokers who were receiving treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit. Patients who were going through nicotine withdrawal were twice as likely as nonsmokers to become highly agitated, which resulted in complications such as accidentally removing tubes and catheters, requiring additional sedation, analgesic or antipsychotic medications, or requiring physical restraints. Smokers in the study were not allowed to undergo nicotine replacement therapy.
Why Is This Important?
When smokers are being treated in intensive care, there is not necessarily a lot of thought given to the fact that they will be going through withdrawal while unable to smoke. This is especially true if they're being treated for a medical condition unrelated to smoking. While the smoker's critical illness is of utmost concern, it is important to recognize that their addiction to nicotine may complicate their treatment.