Nitroglycerin is used to treat congestive heart failure to prevent frequent chest pain caused by a heart disease known as angina and to alleviate the pain caused by chronic anal fissures.
The drug is available under the trademarks of Nitromist, Nitrobid, Nitro-Dur, Nitrostat, Imdur, Isordil and Rectiv.
Nitroglycerin works, causing your veins to expand. It also dilates the coronary arteries, which contributes to the removal of angina pectoris.
Warnings about nitroglycerin
If you are allergic to nitroglycerin or any of its inactive metabolites, you should not take it.
People who have serious kidney problems should not take nitroglycerin.
You should not take nitroglycerin if you:
- heart attack
- Severe anemia, a condition in which the level of red blood cells is low
- Narrow-angle glaucoma or increased pressure inside the eye
- Erectile dysfunction drugs belonging to the class, phosphodiesterase inhibitors (PDE), such as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), have been used for the last 24 hours
- Any head injury, in which you may have swelling or bleeding in your head
- Low systolic blood pressure (SBP)
- Falling blood pressure when standing
People who take nitroglycerin for extended periods of time may find that they have developed tolerance to the drug and that it either stops working or becomes less effective.
The best way to avoid this problem is to take a break in taking nitroglycerin at least 10-12 hours after the last dose of the drug. Many patients feel that it is most convenient to take a break during the night while they are sleeping.
It is important to note that you should avoid changing brands (even between generic versions), because there are many different dosage forms of nitroglycerin.
Make sure that you get the exact dose that the doctor prescribed for you.
Pregnancy and nitroglycerin
It is unclear whether nitroglycerin will harm the fetus during pregnancy.
In addition, it remains unclear whether nitroglycerin penetrates breast milk, therefore it is not recommended that nursing mothers take this medication.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before taking this medication.
You should also notify your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
Side effects of nitroglycerin
Common side effects of nitroglycerin
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- blurred vision
- Feeling dizzy
Severe side effects of nitroglycerin
- Strange sensations in the fingers and toes
- Reducing sweating and fever
- Increased bleeding time or slowing blood clotting
- Low amount of platelets
Rare side effect
Methemoglobinemia is a very rare but serious blood disease that can occur in people taking nitroglycerin.
Methemoglobinemia is caused by the fact that blood can not carry as much oxygen as usual.
People with this disease can quickly get tired, experience problems, as usual, dizziness, faint and have a bluish appearance of the skin and / or nails due to lack of oxygen in the body.
It is always important to share with your doctor and pharmacist all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional or dietary medicines that you are taking.
You should not take nitroglycerin if you take the following drugs:
- Standra (avanafil)
- Adempas (riociguat)
- Viagra (sildenafil)
- Cialis (tadalafil)
- Levitra (vardenafil)
If you are taking any of the following medicines, talk with your doctor about alternatives to nitroglycerin:
- Acetadol (acetylcysteine)
- Celcentric (maraviroc)
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease, such as Caberlin (carbegoline), Azilect (rasagiline) and Emsam, Elderpryl or Zelapar (selegiline)
- Ergotosoderzhaschie drugs for the treatment of migraines, such as Cafergot (ergotamine), Migranal (dihydroergotamine) and megergin (metilergonovin)
Nitroglycerin and alcohol
Severe reactions have been reported in cases where patients taking high doses of nitroglycerin also consumed alcohol. It is better to avoid drinking while taking this drug.
Nitroglycerin and grapefruit juice
To date, it remains unclear whether nitroglycerin is treated with liver in the same way as grapefruit juice.
To be safe, it would be nice to avoid eating grapefruit while taking this drug.
To prevent pain in the chest, you use a prolonged capsule of nitroglycerin at doses of 2.5 mg to 6.5 mg every six to eight hours.
Your doctor can gradually increase the dose until you reach the dose that is best for you without side effects.
Nitroglycerin patches (Nitro-Dur) can be applied to the skin once a day and left on the body for 12-14 hours.
It is best to apply plasters on a part of the body that has little or no hair, on the area that is located somewhere between the neck and the knees. Many patients find it most convenient to place a patch on the chest or back.
Be sure to remove the plaster after 12-14 hours to avoid tolerance to the drug.
In cases where you actually experience chest pain, there are special nitroglycerin tablets that can be placed under the tongue. These tablets are in doses of 0.3 mg, 0.4 mg and 0.6 mg.
In general, you can put one pill under your tongue as soon as you feel the pain behind your sternum. However, you should not take more than three tablets in a 15-minute period.
Overdose of nitroglycerin
If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact a poison control center or an emergency room. You can contact the Toxicology Center (800) 222-1222.
The missed dose of nitroglycerin
If you miss a dose of nitroglycerin, try to take it as soon as you remember.
However, if it is time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Do not double to make up the missed dose.