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Nitroglycerin Sublingual or Spray

Definition
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.

Uses
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.

Treatment
Before treating with nitroglycerin, sit or lie down at first indication of chest pain. Often, the pain will disappear with rest. If after five minutes the pain persists:

Tablets
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

Spray
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

Adverse Reactions
Headache, dizziness, lowered blood pressure, fast heart rate and/or hot, flush feeling. Generally, these reactions last only a few minutes.

Storage
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


Information courtesy of Lynn Paasch, RN, Educator, Northwest Medical Center a part of Northwest Health System, Springdale, Arkansas

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