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Many people who need to use nitroglycerin products do not experience any problems with this medication. However, side effects are possible. Because nitroglycerin is an older medication, only vague information is available about its possible side effects. The most commonly reported reaction to this drug is headaches. Other problems may include dizziness, weakness, and a sore throat.

An Introduction to Nitroglycerin Side Effects

Just like any medicine, nitroglycerin (Minitran™, Nitro-Bid®, Nitro-Dur®, Nitrolingual®, NitroMist®, Nitrostat®, Rectiv™) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with nitroglycerin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Nitroglycerin

For many medications, the prescribing information carefully explains the exact percentage of side effects that were reported in clinical trials. However, the prescribing information for almost all older medications, including many nitroglycerin products, includes only vague information on potential side effects, with no percentages provided. Therefore, it can be difficult to know exactly how frequent the side effects occur.
In general, the most common nitroglycerin side effects may include:
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual sensations, such as burning or tingling (particularly for the tablets or spray that are used under the tongue).
With most nitroglycerin products, the most notable side effect is headaches. These headaches can be quite severe and can happen every time a person uses nitroglycerin.
Other, less common reactions may include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Flushing of the skin
  • General weakness
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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