Nitroglycerin sublingual (under the tongue) or spray is a commonly prescribed medication that relaxes blood vessels, widens coronary arteries and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
It is used to relieve angina (chest pain), relieve smooth muscle pain that is not heart related and may be used to prevent pain before strenuous exercise. To be taken when there is discomfort in the jaw, neck, shoulders, arm/hand; when there is chest pain/pressure; or for cold sweats, nausea or shortness of breath.
Before treating with nitroglycerin you must sit or lie down at first indication of chest pain. Often, the pain will disappear with rest. If after five minutes the pain persists:
- Place one nitroglycerin tablet under tongue
- Wait three to five minutes
- Repeat taking if pain/pressure is not completely relieved, taking one tablet every three to five minutes for a total of three tablets
- If not completely relieved of pain, seek help. Continue taking the tablets every three to five minutes until help arrives, until you get to an emergency room or until you can contact your doctor
- Relax 15 to 20 minutes after taking nitroglycerin to prevent dizziness or faintness
- Do not shake container
- Holding the container upright and close to the mouth, press the spray mechanism with your forefinger to release the spray onto or under your tongue; close your mouth immediately. Do not inhale or swallow the spray
- Follow the same directions for after taking the tablet form
Headache, dizziness, lowered blood pressure, fast heart rate and/or hot, flush feeling. Generally, these reactions last only a few minutes.
- Keep in brown glass bottle
- Refill prescription every three to six months
- Do not store in same bottle with other medications
- Do not keep cotton in bottle; it absorbs nitroglycerin
- Freshness decreases with time, heat, air and moisture