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Cardiac Patient Care Handbook

This medication is used to help relieve angina (chest pain) and should be taken at the first sign of distress or taken 2-3 minutes prior to activities that might trigger chest pain. Do not wait until severe chest pain or discomfort develops to start taking nitroglycerin.


Follow These Directions

  • When you have chest discomfort, shortness of breath, burning, or tightness in the neck, arms, jaw, or shoulder area, sit and rest and place a tablet under your tongue. Let it dissolve. DO NOT SWALLOW OR CHEW THE TABLET.
  • If the chest pain is not relieved within 3-5 minutes, you may place a second tablet under your tongue. If the angina lasts for another 5 minutes, you may use a third tablet. If the chest pain is not relieved after a total of 15-20 minutes or 3 tablets have been taken 5 minutes apart, call the emergency rescue number in your area. If you do not have this service in your area, have someone take you to the nearest hospital.(Do not drive yourself).
  • Carry nitroglycerin tablets with you at all times. IT IS NOT HABIT FORMING.

How to store this medication

  • Keep the tablets in the brown glass bottle with the cotton removed and the cover on tightly.
  • Do not put other medications in the same bottle with nitroglycerin.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • Use only fresh nitroglycerin. It stays fresh for about 3 months after the bottle is opened.

Side effects of the medication

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Lightheaded
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Copyright ©2016 Mercy. Last modified 7/20/2010