Nitroglycerin is a prescription drug belonging to the class of medications known as nitrates. Nitroglycerin is available in various forms - tablets, capsules, patches, ointments and even spray. This drug is especially used in treating angina pectoris (intense pain in the heart). Nitroglycerin was prepared artificially (synthesized) way back in 1846 and in 1879, it was used for the first time to treat angina attacks. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale and use of this drug in 1938.
As in the instance of using any medication for the first time, you also ought to adopt a number of precautions while beginning treatment with nitroglycerin. Prior to using nitroglycerin you need to tell your physician or pharmacist if you have any allergic reactions to using nitroglycerin tablets, capsules, ointments, patches and sprays. As some inactive elements in this drug may cause allergy or other health damages, you should ask your pharmacist to provide you with the list mentioning the ingredients present in the nitroglycerin drug you intend to use for your condition. Also tell your doctor about the other drugs you are using, especially if you are taking phosphodiesterase inhibitors (PDE-5) like tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra). If you are taking any of these medications, it is possible that your doctor will advise you against taking this prescription drug. In addition, before taking nitroglycerin, tell your physician or pharmacist regarding all the prescription, non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications, herbal products, dietary nutritional supplements and vitamins you are taking currently or intend to take.
Before taking nitroglycerin in any oral form, you ought to know that it might not easily dissolve in your mouth in case you are taking this drug along with medications that cause dry mouth, for instant, antidepressants, antihistamines or any other medication for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Parkinson's disease, motion sickness, urinary difficulties and ulcers. In case you experience such a condition, it is advisable that you use any chewing gum or synthetic saliva product to augment the amount of saliva in your mouth with a view to dissolve the nitroglycerin tablet or capsule much easily. Your doctor should also know if you have or have ever suffered low blood pressure, a heart attack, a heart failure, anemia (poor count of red blood cells), any other health condition that may result in enhanced pressure in your skull or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a medical condition wherein the heart muscles thicken).
Women who intend to take any nitroglycerin product ought to tell their doctor before hand if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breast feeding. In case any woman taking any nitroglycerin product becomes pregnant, she needs to contact her doctor instantly.
On the other hand, if patients taking any nitroglycerin product need to undergo any surgery, including dental operation, they should tell their surgeon or dentist that they are taking this medication. Since use of alcoholic beverages may result in side effects or worsen them in patients taking nitroglycerin, such people should ask their doctor in advance regarding the safe use of alcoholic beverages. People using any of the nitroglycerin products ought to be aware that this medication may result in side effects, such as lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting if they try to get up very swiftly from their lying position or whenever, particularly if they have been drinking alcoholic beverages. In order to steer clear of this problem, it is advisable that they ought to get up slowly from their lying position. It is best if they rest their feet on the floor for a couple of minutes before they stand up. In addition, they should take more precautions to evade falling during their treatment with nitroglycerin.
Patients using nitroglycerin in any form are likely to experience headaches during their therapy with this prescription drug. It is important that they are aware of the fact that such headaches are an indication that the drug is working as it ought to. At the same time, it is important to note that you should not change the timing of taking the drug owing to the headache or to avoid it for it may make the medication less effective.
Nitroglycerin has been indicated for use in treatment as well as prevention of angina pectoris that may be a result of any ailment of the coronary artery. Nitroglycerin capsules and ointment as well as trans-dermal nitroglycerin do not work sufficiently quickly and can not be used in the case of severe angina attacks. In some cases, nitroglycerin is also administered intravenously with a view to cure congestive heart failure related to myocardial infraction (heart attack) as well as high blood pressure (hypertension) for the duration of any surgery.
Nitroglycerin is available in numerous forms - sub-lingual tablet, capsule, extended-release or long-acting tablets as well as a spray. Generally, the extended-release tablets are taken orally thrice to four times every day. On the other hand, nitroglycerin spray and tablets are normally used when required, at the first hint of an angina attack or 5 minutes to 10 minutes prior to any activity that may result in an angina attack. Prior to the treatment with nitroglycerin, it is important to read the instructions on your prescription and in case if you have any problems comprehending the instructions, you should also ask your physician or pharmacist for help. It is important to take this prescription drug strictly as directed by your physician. Remember never to take this medication more or less than what has been prescribed and also more frequently than what has been advised by your physician.
It is important to bear in mind that the extended-release capsules of nitroglycerin aid in preventing angina attacks, but are not effective in curing the coronary artery ailment. It is also important to continue taking this medication as per your prescription/ treatment regimen even if you start feeling better. Always remember that you should not discontinue taking this medication abruptly or without consulting your physician.
Patients who have been using nitroglycerin for a prolonged period or have been taking several doses may find that this prescription drug may not be very effective after some time. In case you have been taking nitroglycerin capsules, it is likely that your physician would prepare such a treatment regimen that there will be a period when you would not be exposed to this medication daily. People who are taking nitroglycerin tablets or using the spray form, ought to use the first few tablets or use the smallest number of sprays required to alleviate the pain of their angina attacks. In case the angina attack occurs more frequently and also lasts for a longer period or turn out to be more acute during any point of time of the treatment with the medication, call your physician instantly.
It is important to discuss with your physician regarding the manner of use of nitroglycerin tablets and/ or spray to treat attacks of angina. It is very likely that your physician would advise you to sit down and take at least one dose of nitroglycerin when the angina attack sets off. In case the symptoms do not improve significantly or if they deteriorate even after taking the nitroglycerin dose, you doctor may suggest you to seek immediate medical help. Then again, if the symptoms do not disappear even five minutes after taking the initial dose of nitroglycerin, you doctor is likely to give you another dose after five minutes of the first dose and, if necessary, a 3rd dose after five minutes of taking the second dose. In case your chest pain does not go away completely even after taking the 3rd dose of nitroglycerin, seek immediate emergency medical help.
Remember that you should never chew or directly swallow nitroglycerin tablet. As an alternative, put the tablet below your tongue or between the gum and cheek and allow it to dissolve. As the tablet slowly dissolves, you may experience a tingling or burning sensation in your mouth. While this is very common, it cannot be taken for granted that the tablet is actually working. However, you ought not to be worried that the tablet is not functioning in case you do not experience the tingling or burning sensation.
Nitroglycerin, which is a member of the class of drugs known as nitrates, works by unwinding the smooth muscles encircling the blood vessels, which, in turn, enhances the supply of blood as well as oxygen to the heart. In addition, this medication also lessens the workload of the heart as well as its requirement for oxygen and, hence, provides relief in angina attacks.
People who are taking nitroglycerin in any form ought to be aware that this prescription drug interacts with certain other medications, including herbal products and/ or minerals. Nitroglycerin should never be taken with either co-enzyme Q10 or hawthorn since both have the potential to affect the manner in which the heart functions. Hence, prior to starting treatment with any nitrate, ensure that you tell your physician about the herbal products you are taking currently or those you intend to take.
Drinking alcoholic beverages concurrently with taking nitroglycerin may lower the blood pressure considerable. In effect, the combination of these two may even result in the collapse of the blood circulation as well as the pumping efficacy of the heart. On the other hand, people taking any form of nitroglycerin should avoid smoking tobacco since nicotine has the potential to lessen the efficacy of this medication. Similarly, even smoking marijuana has the potential to reduce the effect of this prescription drug and, at the same time, result in mild to restrained increase in angina attacks. In addition, smoking marijuana is likely to cause changes in the electrocardiogram.
Patients taking/using nitroglycerin should avoid undertaking heavy workload or exercises since this prescription drug has the potential to enhance the patient's tolerance for work-outs. At the same time, such patients should also avoid exposure to intense heat since hot conditions may lower the blood pressure considerably. They should also avoid exposure to cold, as being in cold conditions can not only restrict the efficiency of the medication, but also enhance its requirement by the patient.
People taking nitroglycerin in any form for a prolonged period should not discontinue taking this prescription drug all of a sudden. It is advisable that following a long-term use of the medication, they should reduce the dosage gradually for around four to six weeks before stopping it for good. Patients who discontinue this medication after prolonged use should be careful regarding the relapse of angina attacks.
Nitroglycerin tablets or capsules should always be stored at room temperature. In order to prevent the loss of potency of sub-lingual nitroglycerin tablets they ought to be always stored in the glass container they came in. It is advisable not to keep nitroglycerin tablets in any plastic or metallic containers, for instance pillbox. You should also not place any permeable paper or cotton, for instance, the label of the prescription, or any other substance within the glass container. Also remember that you should not keep any other medication in the glass container containing nitroglycerin. It is important to instantly and tightly close the glass container every time you use a tablet from it.