Precautions and Warnings With Nitroglycerin Ointment

Before using nitroglycerin ointment, there are many precautions to be aware of, including warnings on the safety of using this medicine if you have low blood pressure or certain allergies. In addition, this prescription angina medicine could cause drug interactions when combined with certain substances. It also may not be safe for use in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using nitroglycerin ointment (Nitro-Bid®) if you have:
In addition, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
This article refers to the nitroglycerin skin ointment that is used to treat chest pain, not the nitroglycerin ointment that is used to treat anal fissures (see Nitroglycerin Anal Ointment for more information about this medication).

Specific Nitroglycerin Ointment Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this medicine include the following:
  • The use of nitroglycerin skin products, including nitroglycerin ointment, has not been studied in people having a heart attack or a sudden worsening of heart failure.
  • Nitroglycerin ointment can sometimes cause dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension). Alcohol or certain other medications can make this worse (see Drug Interactions With Nitroglycerin Ointment for more information). People who already have low blood pressure or who are dehydrated have a higher risk for dangerously low blood pressure.
  • Nitroglycerin ointment often causes headaches. If this occurs, talk with your healthcare provider. Do not stop using this medicine without first checking with your healthcare provider.
  • This product does not work for all types of chest pain (angina). If your chest pain gets worse when you use this ointment, let your healthcare provider know right away.
  • Although nitroglycerin ointment is often used to treat anal fissures, it is not approved for this purpose. However, this type of use is called an "off-label," or unapproved use, and is often medically appropriate and acceptable.
  • In rare cases, some people may be allergic to nitroglycerin ointment. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling
    • Difficulty breathing.
  • This product is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Nitro-Bid and Pregnancy for more information).
  • It is unknown if nitroglycerin ointment passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, check with your healthcare provider (or your child's healthcare provider) before using this ointment (see Nitro-Bid and Breastfeeding).
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Nitroglycerin Ointment Information

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