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What Are the Most Common Isosorbide Side Effects?

By C. K. Lanz
Updated May 17, 2024
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The most common isosorbide side effects include rash, dizziness, and headache. Many people taking this medication also experience upset stomach, and flushing or a warm feeling. When placed under the tongue, isosorbide can cause a tingling sensation that is harmless. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction can occur that causes chest pain, blurred vision, and dry mouth. This is a medical emergency that requires swift intervention.

Typical isosorbide side effects can be bothersome but go away after taking the drug for a few days. They include headache, rash, and dizziness. Other common isosorbide side effects are upset stomach and flushing, which is a feeling of warmth throughout the body.

Some patients may also experience drowsiness as one of their isosorbide side effects. As a result, driving a car should not be attempted until the effects of the medication are clear. Operating any kind of machinery should also be avoided until the patient knows how the drug affects him or her.

One of the more serious potential isosorbide side effects is an allergic reaction. Such reactions to this organic nitrate are very rare but do occur. Signs include blurred vision, dry mouth, and chest pain. Some people may even faint. This is a medical emergency that may require immediate intervention.

The sublingual form of this medication is taken by placing a tablet under the tongue or between the cheek and gum. Rather than chewing, the tablet should be allowed to dissolve completely in the mouth. Patients taking sublingual tablets may experience a tingling or sweet sensation in the mouth. This is harmless and the presence or absence of this sensation is not an indicator of drug strength or effectiveness.

This medication is used to treat chest pain or angina and congestive heart failure. A derivative of this drug may also be given as a diuretic to treat glaucoma as well as hydrocephalus. It is available in several extended-release forms including sublingual, chewable, and capsule. Isosorbide helps increase the blood and oxygen supply to the heart by relaxing connected blood vessels.

This medication controls symptoms but is not a cure and may lose its effectiveness with time. Depending on the doctor's prescription, the medication is taken once or twice a day on an empty stomach. Patients beings treated for acute chest pain should always have isosorbide with them. If an acute attack persists after three consecutive doses at five to ten-minutes intervals, emergency medical attention may be needed.

As with any medication, patients should tell the prescribing physician about all drugs, vitamins, and supplements they are taking before starting isosorbide. Isosorbide can interact with some substances including acetaminophen, aspirin, and beta blockers. People taking this medication should refrain from drinking because alcohol can worsen many isosorbide side effects. Female patients who become pregnant while taking isosorbide should inform their doctors as soon as possible.

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