Nitrates

Nitrates are used to prevent and treat the symptoms of angina. Angina is chest pain arising from the heart muscle when it does not receive enough oxygen. Nitrates work by relaxing the blood vessels of the heart, so that more blood and oxygen is supplied to the heart.

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What is this medication used for

Nitrates are used to prevent and treat the symptoms of angina. Angina is chest pain arising from the heart muscle when it does not receive enough oxygen. Nitrates work by relaxing the blood vessels of the heart, so that more blood and oxygen is supplied to the heart.

Some examples of nitrates are isosorbide mononitrate and isosorbide dinitrate. Nitrates may come in the regular release or controlled release form. Controlled release forms of nitrates provide a slow and continuous supply of medicine into your body.

These medicines reduce the number of angina attacks that occurs when you use it regularly on a long-term basis.

Dosage and How to Use

  • Do not stop taking your medicines without checking with your doctors. If you have been taking this medicine regularly for several weeks or more, stopping this medication suddenly may bring on attacks of angina.

  • If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

  • Nitrate tablets are usually taken on an empty stomach (at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals) with a full glass of water.

  • The regular release tablet is usually taken every 6 to 8 hours.

  • The controlled-release tablet allows the medicine to be taken less frequently at about 1 to 2 times a day. Do not crush or chew the controlled-release tablets.

Side Effects, Precautions, Contraindication

What are the possible side effects of the med icines?

The common side effects include

  • Headache, dizziness, weakness or fainting

  • Flushing or redness of the skin

  • Fast heartbeats

  • Nausea or vomiting

These side-effects are usually temporary and will disappear on their own. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if the symptoms do not go away.

After taking a dose of nitrates, you may get a headache that lasts for a short time. This is a common side effect and should become less noticeable after you have taken the medicine for a while.

Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness may occur, especially when you get up quickly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help reduce these side effects. If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down. These side effects are more likely to happen if you drink alcohol, stand for a long period of time, exercise or if the weather is hot. While you are taking this medicine, be careful not to drink too much alcohol. Do take extra care during exercise, when the weather is hot or if you are standing for long periods of time.

How do I know if I am allergic to these medicines?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medicine immediately and see your doctor.

What precautions should I follow when taking the medicines?

Before starting on these medicines, tell your doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You have any unusual or allergic reactions to nitrates or other medicines

  • You are taking any high blood pressure medicine, other heart medicines or medicines for erectile dysfunction

Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking nitrates, inform your doctor.

Dizziness or lightheadedness may be more likely to occur in the elderly as they may be more sensitive to the effects of nitrates.

Handling and Storage

  • Keep your medicines in the original container or packaging, tightly closed or sealed in a cool and dry place.

  • Keep the medicine out of reach of children.

  • Throw away all expired medicines.

This article answers some common questions about this medicine. It does not contain all the available information. It also does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

PH002-031-E-1217-V1

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Nitrates

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