What is nitroglycerin?
Nitroglycerin is in a group of drugs called nitrates. Nitroglycerin dilates (widens) blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow through them and easier for the heart to pump.
Nitroglycerin is used to treat or prevent attacks of chest pain (angina).
Nitroglycerin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use nitroglycerin if you are taking sildenafil (Viagra). Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take nitroglycerin while you are using sildenafil.
Do not use this medication without the advice of a doctor if you have early signs of a heart attack (chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling). Seek emergency medical attention if you have symptoms of a heart attack.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to nitroglycerin, isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur), or isosorbide dinitrate (BiDil, Isordil), or if you have:
- severe anemia (a lack of red blood cells); or
- a brain injury, hemorrhage, or tumor.
If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before you take nitroglycerin, tell your doctor if you have:
- congestive heart failure;
- a history of heart attack, stroke, or head injury;
- low blood pressure;
- migraine headaches; or
- liver disease.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medication is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you take nitroglycerin, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether nitroglycerin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Nitroglycerin can cause severe headaches, especially when you first start using it. These headaches may gradually become less severe as you continue to use nitroglycerin. Do not stop taking the medication. Ask your doctor before using any headache pain medication.
Nitroglycerin can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of nitroglycerin, such as dizziness, drowsiness, feeling light-headed, or fainting.
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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of nitroglycerin can be fatal.
Overdose symptoms may include a severe throbbing headache, confusion, fever, fast or pounding heartbeats, dizziness, vision problems, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, trouble breathing, cold or clammy skin, feeling light-headed, fainting, and seizures.
Since nitroglycerin is often used only as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are using the medication regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If your next dose is less than 2 hours away, skip the missed dose and use the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- fast, slow, pounding, or uneven heart rate;
- blurred vision or dry mouth;
- nausea, vomiting, sweating, pale skin, feeling like you might pass out; or
- fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.
Less serious side effects may include:
- mild burning or tingling with the tablet in your mouth;
- warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin; or
- feeling weak or dizzy.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Many drugs can interact with nitroglycerin. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:
- alteplase (Activase);
- aspirin or heparin;
- bladder or urinary medications such as oxybutynin (Ditropan) or tolterodine (Detrol);
- blood pressure medication;
- bronchodilators such as ipratropium (Atrovent) or tiotropium (Spiriva);
- dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal) or ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, and others);
- an erectile dysfunction medication such as tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra);
- an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others;
- a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), sotalol (Betapace), and others;
- a calcium channel blocker such as diltiazem (Tiazac, Cardizem), nifedipine (Procardia), nimodipine (Nimotop), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan), and others;
- irritable bowel medications such as dicyclomine (Bentyl), hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Cystospaz, and others), or propantheline (Pro-Banthine);
- any medication that causes dry mouth; or
- medicines to treat psychiatric disorders, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), haloperidol (Haldol), thioridazine (Mellaril), and others.
This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can interact with nitroglycerin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Deponit, Minitran, NTG, Nitrek, Nitro TD Patch-A, Nitro-Bid, Nitro-Bid IV, Nitro-Dur, Nitro-Par, Nitro-Time, Nitrocot, Nitrodisc, Nitrogard, Nitroglyn E-R, Nitrol, Nitrol Appli-Kit, Nitrolingual, Nitrong, Nitrostat, Tridil, nitroglycerin, Nitrolingual Duo Pack, and Nitroquick
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