Nitroglycerin, rapid release (By mouth)


Nitroglycerin (nye-troe-GLIS-er-in)
Treats or prevents angina (chest pain). This medicine is a nitrate.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Nitroquick, Nitrolingual, Nitrostat, NitroMist

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to nitroglycerin or similar medicines, such as Isordil®, Monoket®, or Sorbitrate®. You should not use the sublingual tablets (under the tongue) if you have severe anemia (low iron levels in your blood or low red blood cell count), or if you have a head injury, or a recent stroke. Do not use this medicine if you are also using medicine to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) such as Cialis®, Levitra®, or Viagra®.

How to Use This Medicine

Spray, Tablet
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Most people use this medicine for only part of the day or as needed.
  • At the first sign of chest pain, sit down and get ready to use the medicine.
  • To Use the Tablets: Wet the tablet with saliva and place it under your tongue or in your cheek. Let the tablet dissolve in your mouth. Do not chew it or swallow it whole.
  • To Use the Spray: Pump the spray in the air once before using it for the first time or if it has not been used in 6 weeks. Do not shake the spray bottle. Open your mouth and hold the spray bottle upright very close to your mouth. Spray the medicine onto or under your tongue. Close your mouth right away, but do not swallow right away. Do not inhale the spray or get it in your eyes. Do not spit out the spray or rinse your mouth for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Do not use the spray near heat, open flame, or while smoking.
  • There are two possible schedules for using this medicine during an angina attack. Follow the schedule that your doctor tells you to.
    • One possible schedule to follow when you have angina is to use the medicine one time, then wait 5 minutes. If you still have pain 5 minutes after you use the medicine or if your pain gets worse, this is an emergency. Call 911 or 0 (operator) for an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital or clinic. Do not drive yourself.
    • The other possible schedule is to use the medicine every 5 minutes until the pain is gone, for up to 15 minutes. Do not use the medicine more than three times in 15 minutes. If your chest pain does not go away after you use the medicine three times within 15 minutes, this is an emergency. Call 911 or 0 (operator) for an ambulance to get to the nearest hospital or clinic. Do not drive yourself.
  • You may use this medicine before you engage in an activity that you feel may cause an attack. Use the spray 5 to 10 minutes before you do something that may cause an attack. This may help prevent the attack.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke for at least 5 to 10 minutes after using this medicine.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the tablets at room temperature in the original closed glass container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Store the spray at room temperature, away from heat and fire. Do not break or burn the spray container.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using aspirin, or heparin. Tell your doctor if you are also using diuretics ("water pills"), such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide, metolazone, spironolactone, torsemide, or triamterene. Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using heart or blood pressure medicine, such as atenolol, lisinopril, metoprolol, quinapril, verapamil, Accupril®, Cozaar®, Diovan®, Lotrel®, Norvasc®, Toprol®, or Zestril®.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a phenothiazine medicine, such as prochlorperazine, Compazine®, Mellaril®, Phenergan®, Thorazine®, or Trilafon®. These medicines can be used to treat severe vomiting, psychiatric problems, or other conditions. Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using ergot medicines, such as Cafergot®, Ergomar®, or Wigraine®, or if you are also using other nitrates, such as isosorbide.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicine that makes your mouth dry, such as some medicines that treat depression.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or if you have low blood pressure. Make sure your doctor knows if you have congestive heart failure (CHF), or enlarged heart, or if you have kidney disease.
  • Medicines that treat chest pain sometimes cause headaches. These headaches are a sign that the medicine is working. Do not stop using the medicine or change the time you take it in order to avoid the headaches. If the headache pain is severe, talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert. You may feel lightheaded when standing or sitting up straight, so stand up or sit up slowly.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blurred vision, dry mouth.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Severe or ongoing dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweat, and bluish-colored skin or fingernail beds.
  • Slow heartbeat, increased chest pain.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Throbbing, severe, or ongoing headache, confusion, low fever, or trouble seeing.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Facial flushing, nausea, vomiting, weakness.
  • Numbness or tingling, or swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Sore throat, cough, irritated or runny nose.
  • Stomach pain, or joint pain.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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