Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat) – Side Effects, Interactions, Uses, Dosage, Warnings

Nitroglycerin is used to treat or prevent attacks of chest pain (angina).

Nitroglycerin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


What is Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat) used for?

  • Angina Pectoris Prophylaxis
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Pre-eclampsia/Eclampsia
  • Angina Pectoris
  • Heart Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Hypertensive Congestive Heart Failure
  • Hypertensive Heart (w/ CHF) and Renal Disease
  • Hypertensive Heart (w/o CHF) and Renal Disease
  • Hypertensive Renal Disease
  • Hypertensive Retinopathy
  • Renovascular Hypertension
  • Hypertensive Encephalopathy
  • Hypertensive Heart Disease
  • Anal Fissure and Fistula
  • Prinzmetal's Angina


What is the most important information I should know about Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)?

You may not be able to use nitroglycerin if you have:

  • severe anemia (low red blood cells);
  • increased pressure inside the skull;
  • circulation problems or shock (pale or clammy skin, cold sweat, numbness or tingling, fast or irregular heartbeats, or feeling like you might pass out); or
  • if you also take riociguat or vericiguat.

Do not use erectile dysfunction medicine (such as Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra) or you could have a sudden and serious decrease in blood pressure.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • an allergic reaction to nitroglycerin;
  • a heart attack or other heart problems; or
  • low blood pressure.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, sweating, pale skin; nausea, vomiting; feeling weak or light-headed; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe or throbbing headaches that do not become less severe with continued use of nitroglycerin;
  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • slow heart rate;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • blurred vision or dry mouth; or
  • heart attack symptoms–chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating.

Nitroglycerin can cause severe headaches that should become less severe as you continue to use the medicine.

Common side effects may include:

  • flushing (sudden warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • headache, dizziness; or
  • numbness, tingling, burning pain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Can I take Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat) if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Risk cannot be ruled out
Based on FDA pregnancy categories

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


What drugs and food should I avoid while taking Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)?

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

Dosage Guidelines & Tips

How to take Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)?

Use Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed. Try to rest or stay seated when you take nitroglycerin (may cause dizziness or fainting).

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

Use this medicine at the first sign of chest pain. Use another dose every 5 minutes as needed, up to a total of 3 doses.

Get emergency medical help if you still have chest pain after using a total of 3 doses in 15 minutes, or if your chest pain seems unusual.

You may use nitroglycerin sublingual within 5 to 10 minutes before an activity that might cause chest pain.

This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using nitroglycerin.

If you take nitroglycerin on a regular schedule to prevent angina, do not stop taking it suddenly or you could have a severe attack of angina. Keep this medicine on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Store nitroglycerin at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep the spray away from open flame or high heat, such as in a car on a hot day. The canister may explode if it gets too hot.

What should I do if I missed a dose of Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)?

If you take nitroglycerin on a regular schedule, skip any missed dose if it's almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

Overdose Signs

What happens if I overdose on Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)?

Overdose symptoms may include a throbbing headache, confusion, pounding heartbeats, vision problems, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, sweating, clammy skin, blue lips, weak or shallow breathing, loss of movement, seizure, or fainting.

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on: Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat),  call your doctor or the Poison Control center

(800) 222-1222

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat), call 911



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