NITRATES - a patient's guide
USE: Vasodilators: angina
Nitrates are potent vasodilators which have a useful role
in the management and treatment of angina. Angina results
form an inadequate supply of oxygen carrying blood to the
heart muscle via the coronary arteries.
These medicines work by dilating veins (reduce pre-load)
and arteries (reduce after-load) and reducing the overall
workload of the heart. The overall effect is the relief
of episodes of chest pain (angina).
They can be taken on an as needed basis as a dose during
or just before anticipated exercise to reduce angina.
They may also be used long term as a regular medication
to reduce episodes of angina.
Do not use sildenafil (Viagra) if you are using these
Hypersensitivity to nitrates
Liver and kidney impairment
Cerebral haemorrhage and head trauma
Occasional: flushing, headache, nausea and dizziness (postual
hypotension), tachycardia, nitrate tolerance (discuss with
Overdose: marked flushing of the face, severe headache,
hypotension and fainting.
Enhanced hypotensive effect with sildenafil (Viagra) -
Anticoagulants, antiarrthymias, antidepressants and antimuscarinincs
reduce effect of nitrates.
Follow the instructions carefully on the label of this
Alcohol: avoid due to enhanced vasodilation effect (dizziness,
Sublingual pumpspray is used (1-2 doses. max 3 sprays
per attack) when required under tongue to relieve chest
pain (store in cool, dry place)
Transdermal patch should be reapplied daily to a new skin
site and be taken off for approx. 8 hours (usually overnight)
to prevent nitrate tolerance
Tablets are taken as directed (do not stop taking unless
Contact your doctor or seek urgent medical help if side
effects are severe or ongoing (esp. headache).