How Do I Use Nitroglycerin for Angina?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
An inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle may cause angina.
An inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle may cause angina.

The best way to use nitroglycerin for angina will likely be decided by your doctor. Your doctor can evaluate your medical needs and provide you with instructions specific for your condition. The instructions your doctor provides for using nitroglycerin for angina will usually also depend on the form of nitroglycerine you will take. For example, your instructions may differ depending on whether you will take regular tablets, an extended release form of the medication, or nitroglycerin in a spray form. In some cases, your doctor may even prescribe this medication as a patch that allows the medication to absorb into your skin.

Chest pain and tightness are common symptoms of angina.
Chest pain and tightness are common symptoms of angina.

If you are given a pill form of nitroglycerin for angina, your doctor will likely advise you against chewing the pills or swallowing them. Instead, you will typically have to place a tablet under your tongue or against your cheek and allow it to dissolve there. As the pill dissolves in your mouth, it should begin to relieve your chest pain. You might experience a burning sensation as the pill dissolves, and this is usually considered normal; it is not harmful and has nothing to do with how well the medication works.

Nitroglycerin spray is typically used in much the same manner as the tablets. With this treatment, you will usually have to hold the medication container in an upright position and use your finger to depress the spray button. You will then use your finger to spray the medicine either under your tongue or onto the surface of your tongue. After spraying the medication into your mouth, you typically have to close your mouth and allow it to work — without rinsing or spitting — for a period of time. For instance, the instructions for the spray may require you to avoid rinsing your mouth for about 10 minutes after using it.

You can also use nitroglycerin for angina in patch form. If your doctor prescribes a nitroglycerin patch, you will have to apply it to a part of your body that is clean, dry, and hairless. Your doctor will likely advise you to press the patch firmly onto your skin to make sure it sticks and to apply it at the same time every day. He may also advise you to switch application spots daily so that you are not constantly using the same application site. If you use the same application point each time, you could irritate your skin.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • An inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle may cause angina.
      An inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle may cause angina.
    • Chest pain and tightness are common symptoms of angina.
      Chest pain and tightness are common symptoms of angina.