nitroglycerin (generic name)

It relaxes blood vessels, increasing the blood and oxygen supply to your heart
(nye troe GLI ser in)
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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 prevent chest pain caused by angina. It will not help to stop an episode of chest pain.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • liver disease
  • low blood pressure, or low blood volume

-previous heart attack or heart failure

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to nitroglycerin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow whole. Do not crush or chew. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly or your symptoms may get worse. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose will be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.

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

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • certain migraine medicines like ergotamine and dihydroergotamine
  • medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction like sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • medicines for high blood pressure
  • other medicines used to treat angina

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Check your heart rate and blood pressure regularly while you are using this medicine. Ask your doctor or health care professional what your heart rate and blood pressure should be and when you should contact him or her. Tell your doctor or health care professional if you feel your medicine is no longer having any effect.

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.

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

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep dry in a tightly sealed container. Heat and moisture can reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Last Updated: July 10, 2009
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