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Nitroglycerin Sublingual tablet

What is this medicine?

NITROGLYCERIN (nye troe GLI ser in) is a type of vasodilator. It relaxes blood vessels, increasing the blood and oxygen supply to your heart. This medicine is used to relieve chest pain caused by angina. It is also used to prevent chest pain before activities like climbing stairs, going outdoors in cold weather, or sexual activity.

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth as needed. At the first sign of an angina attack (chest pain or tightness) place one tablet under your tongue. You can also take this medicine 5 to 10 minutes before an event likely to produce chest pain. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Let the tablet dissolve under the tongue. Do not swallow whole. Replace the dose if you accidentally swallow it. It will help if your mouth is not dry. Saliva around the tablet will help it to dissolve more quickly. Do not eat or drink, smoke or chew tobacco while a tablet is dissolving. If you are not better within 5 minutes after taking ONE dose of nitroglycerin, call 9-1-1 immediately to seek emergency medical care. Do not take more than 3 nitroglycerin tablets over 15 minutes.

If you take this medicine often to relieve symptoms of angina, your doctor or health care professional may provide you with different instructions to manage your symptoms. If symptoms do not go away after following these instructions, it is important to call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not take more than 3 nitroglycerin tablets over 15 minutes.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • blurred vision

  • dry mouth

  • skin rash

  • sweating

  • the feeling of extreme pressure in the head

  • unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • flushing of the face or neck

  • headache

  • irregular heartbeat, palpitations

  • nausea, vomiting

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

  • certain migraine medicines like ergotamine and dihydroergotamine (DHE)

  • medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction like sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • alteplase

  • aspirin

  • heparin

  • medicines for high blood pressure

  • medicines for mental depression

  • other medicines used to treat angina

  • phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply. This medicine is only used as needed.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Store in original container. Protect from light and moisture. Keep tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • anemia

  • head injury, recent stroke, or bleeding in the brain

  • liver disease

  • previous heart attack

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to nitroglycerin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Tell your doctor or health care professional if you feel your medicine is no longer working.

Keep this medicine with you at all times. Sit or lie down when you take your medicine to prevent falling if you feel dizzy or faint after using it. Try to remain calm. This will help you to feel better faster. If you feel dizzy, take several deep breaths and lie down with your feet propped up, or bend forward with your head resting between your knees.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can make you more drowsy and dizzy. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or pain while you are taking this medicine without asking your doctor or health care professional for advice. Some ingredients may increase your blood pressure.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 7/10/2009
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.