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Nitroglycerin (oral/sublingual)

Generic name: nitroglycerin (oral/sublingual) [ NYE-troe-GLIS-er-in ]
Brand names: GoNitro, Nitrolingual, Nitromist, Nitrostat, Nitro-Time
Dosage forms: oral capsule, extended release (2.5 mg; 6.5 mg; 9 mg), sublingual powder (400 mcg), ... show all 4 dosage forms
Drug classes: Antianginal agents, Vasodilators

Medically reviewed by on Aug 24, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is nitroglycerin?

Nitroglycerin is used in adults to treat or prevent attacks of chest pain (angina).

Nitroglycerin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Nitroglycerin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Nitroglycerin may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects of nitroglycerin may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Get emergency medical help if you still have chest pain after using a total of 3 doses in 15 minutes, or if you have chest pain that seems unusual.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use nitroglycerin if you are allergic to it.

You may not be able to use nitroglycerin if you have:

Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How should I use nitroglycerin?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

You may use nitroglycerin sublingual within 5 to 10 minutes before an activity that might cause chest pain.

Use nitroglycerin sublingual at the first sign of chest pain. Use another dose every 5 minutes as needed, up to a total of 3 doses within a 15-minute period.

Sublingual spray:

Sublingual tablet: Place one tablet under the tongue and allow it to dissolve without swallowing. Do not swallow, chew, or suck the sublingual tablet.

Sublingual powder: Empty one or two packet contents under your tongue, allowing the powder to dissolve without swallowing. Do not rinse your mouth or spit for 5 minutes after use.

Capsule: Take by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 3 to 4 times a day. Do not take the capsule to treat sudden chest pain.

Get emergency medical help if you still have chest pain after using a total of 3 doses in 15 minutes, or if your chest pain seems unusual.

This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using nitroglycerin.

Your condition may get worse if you stop using nitroglycerin suddenly. Ask your doctor before stopping the medicine.

Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep the spray away from open flame or high heat. Do not puncture or burn an empty canister.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Nitroglycerin is used when needed. If you are on a dosing schedule, skip any missed dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include a throbbing headache, confusion, pounding heartbeats, vision problems, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, sweating, clammy skin, blue lips, weak or shallow breathing, loss of movement, seizure, or fainting.

What should I avoid while using nitroglycerin?

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Drinking alcohol with nitroglycerin can cause side effects.

What other drugs will affect nitroglycerin?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect nitroglycerin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Popular FAQ

To treat an angina attack place the contents of one or two packets of GoNitro powder under the tongue at the onset of the attack. Follow the seven steps for how best to administer the contents of the packet.

An additional packet can be administered every five minutes as required.

Do not use more than three packets within 15 minutes.

Seek medical help straight away if chest pain persists after three packets of GoNitro have been administered. Continue reading

More FAQ

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.