What Is the Nitroglycerin Patch Used For?
Nitroglycerin patches are prescribed for preventing chest pain in adults. Specifically, this medicated patch is used to prevent angina attacks associated with coronary artery disease. It does this by relaxing the arteries and blood vessels to help provide sufficient oxygen to the heart. This product is only approved for use in adults and there are currently no off-label uses for nitroglycerin patches.
An Overview of Uses for the Nitroglycerin PatchThe nitroglycerin patch (Minitran™, Nitro-Dur®) is a prescription medication specifically approved for preventing angina pectoris associated with coronary artery disease. This means that it is approved to help prevent episodes of chest pain due to coronary artery disease (also known as coronary heart disease), a condition in which the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart become too narrow to adequately supply the heart with enough blood and oxygen. This patch is worn on the skin for 12 to 14 hours each day.
Nitroglycerin patches do not work quickly enough to stop an angina attack that is already occurring. Therefore, this medicine is not appropriate for people who have only occasional or rare episodes of angina. It is also inappropriate for people who have angina due to other causes.
How Does This Medicine Work?The nitroglycerin patch works by relaxing the veins and arteries in the body. With the arteries and veins relaxed, the heart does not need to work so hard and does not require as much oxygen. Because angina is usually caused when there is not enough oxygen to meet the heart's needs, using nitroglycerin patches can help prevent angina attacks.
Because the body rapidly becomes accustomed to the effects of nitroglycerin when it is used around the clock, it is essential that a 10- to 12-hour break from nitroglycerin patches occurs every day (see Nitroglycerin Patch Dosage). Without this break, the drug will become ineffective within 24 hours.