Nitroglycerin spray is used to treat episodes of angina (chest pain) in people who have coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart). The spray may also be used just before activities that may cause episodes of angina in order to prevent the angina from occurring. Nitroglycerin is in a class of medications called vasodilators. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not need to work as hard and therefore does not need as much oxygen.
Nitroglycerin comes as a spray to use on or under the tongue. The spray is usually used as needed, either 5 to 10 minutes before activities that may cause attacks of angina or at the first sign of an attack. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use nitroglycerin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Nitroglycerin may not work as well after you have used it for some time or if you have used many doses. Use the fewest number of sprays needed to relieve the pain of your attacks. If your angina attacks happen more often, last longer, or become more severe at any time during your treatment, call your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about how to use nitroglycerin spray to treat angina attacks. Your doctor will probably tell you to sit down and use one dose of nitroglycerin when an attack begins. If your symptoms do not improve very much or if they worsen after you use this dose you may be told to call for emergency medical help right away. If your symptoms do not go away completely after you use the first dose, your doctor may tell you to use a second dose after 5 minutes have passed and a third dose 5 minutes after the second dose. Call for emergency medical help right away if your chest pain has not gone away completely 5 minutes after you use the third dose.
To use the spray, follow these steps:
Do not try to open the container of nitroglycerin spray. This product may catch fire, so do not use near an open flame, and do not allow the container to be burned after use.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using nitroglycerin,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Nitroglycerin spray is usually used as needed to treat episodes of angina; do not use it on a regularly scheduled basis.
Nitroglycerin 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 or get emergency medical treatment:
Nitroglycerin 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 in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
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: March 15, 2017.