What is this medication for?
Nitroglycerin belongs to the class of medications called anti-anginals. Nitroglycerin sublingual (under the tongue) tablets are used to relieve acute attacks of angina (chest pain). This medication can also be used to prevent an acute attack if taken in advance of an activity that would normally cause an angina attack. Nitroglycerin relieves and prevents acute angina attacks by relaxing blood vessels and increasing the oxygen and blood supply to the heart.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Nitrostat® is available as:
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
To use nitroglycerin sublingual tablets, place a tablet under your tongue or in the buccal pouch (area between the bottom of your gum and the inner lining of the cheek) at the first sign of an angina attack. The dose may be repeated twice every 5 minutes, or as directed by your doctor.
If you don't get relief after 15 minutes, seek medical help immediately. While using nitroglycerin sublingual tablets you should be resting, preferably in a sitting position. Keep this medication close by so that it can be used when needed.
As directed by your doctor, the sublingual (under the tongue) tablet may be used 5 to 10 minutes before engaging in activities that may cause angina.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic or have had an adverse reaction to nitroglycerin, other nitrates, or any ingredients of the medication
- have early myocardial infarction
- have extremely low blood pressure
- have increased pressure in the head (e.g., after an accident)
- have severe anemia
People who use nitroglycerin regularly or intermittently should not use certain medications for erectile dysfunction (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil used for erectile dysfunction) because a life-threatening lowering of blood pressure can result.