Nitroglycerin transdermal patches are used to prevent episodes of angina (chest pain) in people who have coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart). Nitroglycerin transdermal patches can only be used to prevent attacks of angina; they cannot be used to treat an attack of angina once it has begun. Nitroglycerin is in a class of medications called vasodilators. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that the heart does not need to work as hard and therefore does not need as much oxygen.
Transdermal nitroglycerin comes as a patch to apply to the skin. It is usually applied once a day, worn for 12 to 14 hours, and then removed. Apply nitroglycerin patches at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use nitroglycerin patches exactly as directed. Do not apply more or fewer patches or apply the patches more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Choose a spot on your upper body or upper arms to apply your patch. Do not apply the patch to your arms below the elbows, to your legs below the knees, or to skin folds. Apply the patch to clean, dry, hairless skin that is not irritated, scarred, burned, broken, or calloused. Choose a different area each day.
You may shower while you are wearing a nitroglycerin skin patch.
If a patch loosens or falls off, replace it with a fresh one.
To use nitroglycerin patches, follow the steps below. Different brands of nitroglycerin patches may be applied in slightly different ways, so be sure to follow the directions included with your patches:
Nitroglycerin patches may no longer work as well after you have used them for some time. To prevent this, your doctor will probably tell you to wear each patch for only 12 to 14 hours each day so that there is a period of time when you are not exposed to nitroglycerin every day. If your angina attacks happen more often, last longer, or become more severe at any time during your treatment, call your doctor.
Nitroglycerin patches help prevent attacks of angina but do not cure coronary artery disease. Continue to use nitroglycerin patches even if you feel well. Do not stop using nitroglycerin patches without talking to your doctor.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using nitroglycerin patches,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Apply the missed patch as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time to apply your next patch, skip the missed patch and continue your regular dosing schedule. Remove your patch at your regularly scheduled time even if you applied it later than usual. Do not apply two patches to make up for a missed dose.
Nitroglycerin patches may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Nitroglycerin patches may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: October 15, 2015.