Cough drops and nasal sprays are getting a boost from nicotine salts, which are also found in chewing tobacco.
That’s good news for consumers, since the alkaloids are believed to help combat the symptoms of a cough, runny nose and sneezing.
But nicotine is also considered an anti-inflammatory and can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nicotine as a dietary supplement in 2008, and many health products are now selling them.
But there’s been a recent backlash from some health professionals.
“This has been a trend that we have seen for some time and it has become more and more prevalent,” said Dr. Richard A. Coughlin, a doctor at Harvard Medical School and co-author of a 2011 review on nicotine’s health benefits.
The FDA’s approval is a step in the right direction, but many of the products have a history of not working, he said.
Nicotine is also used in a number of pharmaceuticals, including the asthma drug AstraZeneca’s Zantac.
The DEA has allowed many manufacturers to continue making nicotine salts in an attempt to increase sales.
That includes the makers of Nootropics, which is currently producing Nootrotix and is developing a nicotine-containing nasal spray.
The new Nootrops have the same nicotine and flavor as Nootripics, but contain the new formulation of nicotine.
But the new Nurturizers have the flavor of Nurture Naturals, an alternative to Nootrps.
Nootraps and Nurtures aren’t the only nicotine-laced products to be made available in the U.K. Some other products include Nootrex, a nicotine replacement that was approved by the FDA last year and is currently available in Canada.
And a drug made by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, a leading manufacturer of prescription cough and cold medicines, has been making nicotine-free cough syrups for years.
“The current trend in the marketplace is to include nicotine in a variety of products that are marketed as being anti-cough and anti-cold,” said Andrew Giddings, an analyst at IHS Markit, an investment bank.
He pointed to the “nicotine-free” cough syrup products on sale in the United Kingdom as evidence of a trend.
But he said many people aren’t taking advantage of that trend.
“People tend to take a more cautious approach to the health benefits of nicotine,” he said, “so I think people may be overthinking the benefits of a product that they think may be better for them.”
The trend has some consumers skeptical, said Jennifer S. O’Connell, an assistant professor of pharmacy and nursing at the University of Iowa.
She said it’s difficult to gauge whether or not there’s a trend for Nootrolix to be sold in U.N. member countries.
“There are plenty of products available to those countries that are just as effective and safer than Nootrilix, and I don’t see a trend of that,” she said.
She also questioned the efficacy of Nogalix, which was approved for sale in Britain last year.
The company sells Nogals, a liquid version of Noots, which were developed to be more widely available in North America and Europe.
A spokeswoman for Nogaltix, where the company is based, did not respond to requests for comment.
“If we are making Nootrax, I think it’s safe to assume that they are not necessarily going to be effective against coughs,” said S. T. Kaur, a professor at the American College of Rheumatology.
“It’s just a bit of a conundrum.”
O’Donnell said the products may have been marketed as having “anti-colds” and that some people were getting them for other health reasons, but she also said there’s no evidence to support that.
She worries that many people who use Nootrans will be taking the products and potentially misusing them.
“When they are marketed like that, that is going to increase their risk of addiction,” she warned.