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Nitroglycerin extended-release capsules are used to prevent chest pain (angina) in people with a certain heart condition (coronary artery disease). This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as nitrates. Angina occurs when the heart muscle is not getting enough blood. This drug works by relaxing and widening blood vessels so blood can flow more easily to the heart.
Nitroglycerin will not relieve chest pain once it occurs. It is also not intended to be taken just before physical activities (such as exercise, sexual activity) to prevent chest pain. Other medications may be needed in these situations. Consult your doctor for more details.
How to take
Take Nitroglycerin by mouth, usually 3 to 4 times daily or as directed by your doctor. It is important to take the drug at the same times each day. Do not change the dosing times unless directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Swallow this medication whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules. Doing so can release all of the drug at once and may increase your risk of side effects.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Although unlikely, when this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well and may require different dosing. Tell your doctor if this medication stops working well (for example, you have worsening chest pain or it occurs more often).
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Nitroglycerin rectal can cause severe headaches, which may occur each time you use the medication. Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to use.
Less serious side effects may include:
- dizziness; or
- mild headache.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of nitroglycerin, such as dizziness, drowsiness, feeling light-headed, or fainting.
Many drugs can interact with nitroglycerin. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:
- alteplase (Activase);
- aspirin or heparin;
- dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal) or ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, and others);
- heart or blood pressure medication such as atenolol (Tenormin, Tenoretic), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Dutoprol, Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), nebivolol (Bystolic), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others; or
- nitroglycerin used in a pill form or spray under the tongue, or as a skin patch or skin ointment.
This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can interact with nitroglycerin.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
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