Senior Health Home > When to Take Nitroglycerin

If your healthcare provider has prescribed nitroglycerin (Minitran™, Nitro-Bid®, Nitro-Dur®, Nitrolingual®, NitroMist®, Nitrostat®, Rectiv™) to treat or prevent angina (chest pain), you may be wondering when you need to take the medication.
 
Because there are several nitroglycerin products available, the dosing instructions will vary depending on the particular product you are using and how you respond to the drug.
 
In general, the long-acting forms (patches, ointment, and capsules) are used on a daily basis to prevent chest pain. The short-acting forms (tablets and spray) are used as needed to relieve chest pain.
 
With the short-acting forms (tablet or spray), you can use up to three doses within 15 minutes. If chest pain continues after a third dose, you should seek immediate medical attention, as you may be having a heart attack.
 
(For more information on this topic, click Nitroglycerin Dosage. This Web article provides more specific dosing guidelines, including tips on when you need to take the various nitroglycerin products.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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