Nitroglycerin (commonly called just nitro) is a vasodilator, meaning it’s a medicine that opens blood vessels to improve blood flow. It is used to treat angina pectoris symptoms, such as pressure or chest pain that occurs when there is not enough blood flowing to the heart.

To improve the blood flow, Nitro opens up the coronary arteries (arteries in the heart), which improves symptoms, reduces pain, and reduces how hard the heart has to work.

Nitroglycerin comes in long-acting and quick-acting forms. Quick-acting forms are used to relieve angina pectoris or before activities that often cause troubles with angina. The quick-acting forms are tablets or oral sprays. The tablets are placed under the tongue or between the cheek and gum. The spray is most commonly used under the tongue, but it can be sprayed on the tongue too.

If you suffer from heart issues, please keep nitroglycerin near, it saved many lives before and it could save your life too.

  1. June 9, 2017

    As a medical student i noticed that the most common mistake in using nitro is when patients would tell me the pain wasn’t bad enough to use it. The instructions for nitro don’t say wait until the discomfort is 9 out of 10, the instructions are to use the nitro if you have heart symptoms that do not go away with rest. This means any heart discomfort, no matter how minor if is present for 5 minutes, would indicate using the nitro. If you wait until you are really in pain, you probably will have damage done to the heart.

  2. June 15, 2017

    Recently, I learned that patients had to overcome a number of psychological hurdles about taking nitroglycerin. These included:
    1. an uncertainty about when exactly to take it
    2. a hope that an episode would rapidly abate spontaneously
    3. the fear of a throbbing headache (reported in over 2/3 of patients)
    4. anxiety that if nitro worked, it was proof of a cardiac problem
    5. an unwillingness to acknowledge having a heart condition that could cripple or kill
    6. an unreadiness to become dependent on or habituated to drugs.

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