Nitroglycerin Injection

What is this medication?

NITROGLYCERIN (nye troe GLI ser in) treats severe high blood pressure and heart failure. It may also be used to treat chest pain (angina). It works by relaxing the blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure and the amount of work the heart has to do. It belongs to a group of medications called nitrates.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Nitronal, Tridil

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Anemia
  • Head injury, recent stroke, or bleeding in the brain
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to nitroglycerin, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

This medication is injected into a vein. It is given in a hospital or clinic setting.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply. This medication is not for regular use.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this medication with any of the following:

  • Certain migraine medications like ergotamine and dihydroergotamine (DHE)
  • Medications used to treat erectile dysfunction like sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil
  • Riociguat

This medication may also interact with the following:

  • Alteplase
  • Aspirin
  • Heparin
  • Medications for high blood pressure
  • Medications for mental depression
  • Other medications used to treat angina
  • Phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can make you more drowsy and dizzy. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Headache, unusual weakness or fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, blue skin or lips, which may be signs of methemoglobinemia
  • Increased pressure around the brain—severe headache, blurry vision, change in vision, nausea, vomiting
  • Low blood pressure—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, blurry vision
  • Slow heartbeat—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, confusion, trouble breathing, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Worsening chest pain (angina)—pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest, neck, back, or arms

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Dizziness
  • Flushing
  • Headache

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Copyright ©2023 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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