Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Cardiovascular

Nitrostat

(Nitroglycerin)

Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Cardiovascular
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Relieves chest pain.

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Our bottom line

Nitroglycerin is the fastest-working medicine to relieve chest pain, but make sure to sit down before taking it.

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Upsides

  • First-choice treatment for quick relief of heart-related chest pain (angina).
  • Can also be used to prevent chest pain from happening.
  • Available in various forms that take effect at different speeds and stay in your system for different lengths of time. Sublingual form works the fastest (1-3 minutes) but lasts the shortest in your body (25 minutes), while the patch form takes the longest to start working (30 minutes) but lasts the longest (10-12 hours). Your doctor can help you find the one that's best for you.
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Downsides

  • You can develop tolerance to this medicine over time, which means that the same dose becomes less effective. You have to stick to a really specific dosing schedule for the extended-release, ointment, and patch forms to prevent this from happening.
  • Headaches are normal with this medicine and they go away as your body gets used to it, but they can be severe or not tolerable for some people.
How it works

Nitroglycerin is a nitrate. It dilates blood vessels all over the body. This makes it less work for the heart to pump, which relieves heart-related chest pain.

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Side effect rates for Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin)

0From clinical trials of Nitrostat / Angina (Patch)
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased chest pain

Risks and Warnings for Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Concurrent use of erectile dysfunction medicine
    • Age 65 years or older
    • Alcohol use

    Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin) should not be used with an erectile dysfunction medicine without talking to your doctor. Dizziness or fainting may occur when taking Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin) when you change positions, such as going from a seated or lying down position to standing because of changes in your blood pressure, which may lead to falls. This is called orthostatic hypotension. Be very careful when changing positions, especially if you're just starting to take Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin) or if changes in dosing have to be made. Talk to your doctor if you have persistent dizziness or rapid heart rate for more than 1 week.

Common concerns from people taking Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin)

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Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Don't drink alcohol while taking this medicine. It can make dizziness worse.
Pain
  • First-choice treatment for quick relief of heart-related chest pain (angina).
  • Usually relieves chest pain in 1 to 5 minutes. If pain continues, you can take up to 3 doses, with 5 minutes in between each dose. Call 911 or go to the hospital if you've taken a second dose.