Treatment Instructions for Nitroglycerin Ointment
An overdose of nitroglycerin ointment can be dangerous. If you or someone else may have used too much or taken this medication by mouth, seek immediate medical attention.
(Click Nitro-Bid Overdose for more information.)
If you forget a dose of nitroglycerin ointment, apply it as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for the next dose. In this case, simply skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not use a double dose.
Nitroglycerin ointment works by relaxing the veins and arteries in the body. With the arteries and veins relaxed, the heart does not need to work so hard and does not require as much oxygen. Because angina is usually caused when there is not enough oxygen to meet the heart's needs, nitroglycerin ointment can help prevent angina attacks.
However, this medicine is a skin ointment and does not start working fast enough to actually treat an angina attack that has already started.
Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with nitroglycerin ointment include the following:
- This medication should be applied to the skin using the special dose-measuring applicators that come with it.
- The ointment is usually applied twice daily, typically in the morning and six hours later.
- As with all nitroglycerin products, it is important that your body gets a 10- to 12-hour break from the drug every day. Without this break, your body quickly becomes accustomed to the nitroglycerin and the drug will become completely ineffective within 24 hours. If you use nitroglycerin ointment once in the morning and once six hours later, this will provide a sufficient break.
- Measure the ointment as directed, such as a half-inch or one inch, using the dose-measuring applicator. Place the applicator ointment side down on the chest or other areas of the skin and tape into place.
- If you are using nitroglycerin ointment "off-label" for something other than preventing chest pain, you will probably have different directions for use.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be used as prescribed.