Smokers in ICU experiencing nicotine withdrawal..

April 9, 2010 - FRIDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nicotine withdrawal can create serious problems for smokers who have a medical condition that puts them in intensive care, according to a new study.

PAPER: Nicotine withdrawal and agitation in ventilated critically ill patients, Olivier Lucidarme (, Amelie Seguin (, Cedric Daubin (, Michel Ramakers (, Nicolas Terzi (, Patrice Beck (, Pierre Charbonneau (, Damien du Cheyron (, Critical Care 2010, 14:R58 (April 9, 2010), ABSTRACT, PDF-FULL TEXT..

Researchers from Caen University Hospital in France found that hospital patients going through nicotine withdrawal can become highly agitated and accidentally remove tubes and catheters, require additional sedation, analgesic or anti-psychotic medicines, or need physical restraints.

Agitation, for example, occurred twice as often among smokers as non-smokers, the researchers found.

Their study, published online April 9 in Critical Care, compared 44 smokers and a control group of 100 non-smokers treated in the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU).

"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," study author Damien du Cheyron said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

None of the smokers were allowed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) during the study.

"NRT remains a controversial topic in intensive care and has been associated with mortality," du Cheyron said. "Due to the serious consequences of withdrawal-induced agitation, including sedation and physical restraint, we suggest the use of nicotine replacement therapy should be tested by a well-designed, randomized controlled clinical trial in the ICU setting."

VIDEO on nicotine withdrawal..

Reference: Nicotine Withdrawal Can Complicate Hospital Care by HealthDay, 4/9/2010.