Using Nitroglycerin for Angina - Topic Overview
How do I use quick-acting nitroglycerin?
- Sit or lie down to take your nitroglycerin.
If you are driving, pull over and park the car. Taking nitroglycerin can lower
your blood pressure, which could cause you to pass out if you are standing up.
- For sudden episodes of angina, use nitroglycerin in a tablet or
liquid spray form.
- Place the under-the-tongue (sublingual)
tablet under your tongue. Leave it there until it dissolves. If you
accidentally swallow the tablet, take another. The medicine won't work if it is
- Place the between-cheek-and-gum (buccal) tablet between
your cheek and gum. Leave it there until it dissolves. If you accidentally
swallow the tablet, take another. The medicine won't work if it is
- Use the spray under your tongue or on top of your
tongue. Push the spray canister button once. Close your mouth right
- Take one tablet or spray dose. If after 5
minutes the chest pain is not better or gets worse, call911or other emergency services immediately.
- After you call
911, continue to stay on the phone with
the emergency operator. He or she will give you further
- Regardless of what happens, you should let your
doctor know that you had an episode of angina. If this is unusual for you, if your
angina episodes are occurring more frequently or lasting longer, or if you need
more medicine to control them, tell your doctor. Report any change in your
angina symptoms (unstable angina) to your doctor.
Are there side effects or interactions with other drugs that I should be aware of?
Normal, temporary side effects of
nitroglycerin include a warm or flushed feeling, headache, dizziness, or
lightheadedness. You may also feel a burning sensation under your
Do not take the erection-enhancing medicine sildenafil
(Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra) if you are taking
nitroglycerin. Combining nitroglycerin with any of these medicines can cause a
life-threatening drop in blood pressure. If you develop chest pain and have
taken one of these erection-enhancing medicines, be sure to tell your doctor so
that you are not given nitroglycerin or another nitrate medicine.
Do not take the
pulmonary hypertension medicine sildenafil (Revatio)
if you are taking nitroglycerin or another nitrate medicine.