Nitroglycerin sublingual tablets are used to treat episodes of angina (chest pain) in people who have coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart). It is also used just before activities that may cause episodes of angina in order to prevent the angina from occurring. Nitroglycerin is in a class of medications called vasodilators. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not need to work as hard and therefore does not need as much oxygen.
Nitroglycerin comes as a sublingual tablet to take under the tongue. The tablets is usually taken as needed, either 5 to 10 minutes before activities that may cause attacks of angina or at the first sign of an attack. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take nitroglycerin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Nitroglycerin may not work as well after you have used it for some time or if you have taken many doses. Take the fewest tablets needed to relieve the pain of your attacks. If your angina attacks happen more often, last longer, or become more severe at any time during your treatment, call your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about how to use nitroglycerin tablets to treat angina attacks. Your doctor will probably tell you to sit down and take one dose of nitroglycerin when an attack begins. If your symptoms do not improve very much or if they worsen after you take this dose you may be told to call for emergency medical help right away. If your symptoms do not go away completely after you take the first dose, your doctor may tell you to take a second dose after 5 minutes have passed and a third dose 5 minutes after the second dose. Call for emergency medical help right away if your chest pain has not gone away completely 5 minutes after you take the third dose.
Do not chew, crush, or swallow nitroglycerin sublingual tablets. Instead, place the tablet under your tongue or between your cheek and gum and wait for it to dissolve. You may feel burning or tingling in your mouth as the tablet dissolves. This is normal but is not a sign that the tablet is working. Do not be concerned that the tablet is not working if you do not feel the burning or tingling.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Nitroglycerin sublingual tablets are usually taken as needed to treat episodes of angina; do not take them on a regular basis.
worsening chest pain
rash, blistering, or peeling of the skin
difficulty breathing or swallowing
Nitroglycerin sublingual may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
slow or pounding heartbeat
shortness of breath
cold, clammy skin
loss of ability to move the body
coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
Keep all appointments with your doctor
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Reviewed - 03/15/2015
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2015. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.