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Long-Acting Nitroglycerin  

Nitroglycerin eases chest pain (angina) by getting more blood and oxygen to your heart. It also works by reducing the heart's need for oxygen by dilating the arteries. Long-acting nitroglycerin helps prevent angina from starting.

To prevent angina

If you use a patch:

  • Remove the old patch. Then apply a new one to a clean, dry place on the chest or upper arm.

  • Pick a new place each time you change the patch.

  • Don't put the patch where skin is hairy, cut, irritated, scarred, or tattooed.

If you use a tablet or capsule:

  • Take the tablet or capsule 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

  • Swallow it with a glass of water. Don't break, chew, or crush the tablet or capsule.

If you use an ointment:

  • Measure the prescribed amount of ointment onto the paper that comes with it.

  • Spread a thin, even layer on a clean patch of skin. Don't rub it in. Tape the paper in place with skin tape for as long as instructed, then remove it. 

  • Use a new spot each time you apply the paste.

 Precautions

  • Don't suddenly stop using nitroglycerin to prevent angina. This could cause an attack. Check with your healthcare provider first.

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Too much alcohol can cause dizziness or fainting.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any medicines, supplements, or herbs you use. Nitroglycerin can interact with other medicines and cause serious problems. 

  • Don't take phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as sildenafil (Viagra). These are medicines that help sexual function in men but are very dangerous if taken any time if you are on nitroglycerin.

  • Check the expiration date. Nitroglycerin can lose its effectiveness over time. Nitroglycerin must be protected from both heat and light.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • Chest pain that lasts longer, is different or more severe, or occurs more often

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Blurred vision

  • Dizziness or you pass out

  • Severe headache

Online Medical Reviewer: Glenn Gandelman MD MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: John Hanrahan MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Lu Cunningham RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
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