What Is Nitroglycerin Ointment Used For?

Nitroglycerin ointment is prescribed for preventing angina in adults. Specifically, this medicated ointment is used to prevent episodes of chest pain associated with coronary artery disease. It works by relaxing the arteries and blood vessels to help provide sufficient oxygen to the heart. Some possible "off-label" uses for nitroglycerin ointment include treating anal fissures and Raynaud's phenomenon.

An Introduction to Uses of Nitroglycerin Ointment

Nitroglycerin ointment (Nitro-Bid®) is a prescription skin ointment specifically approved for preventing angina pectoris associated with coronary artery disease. This means that this drug is approved to help prevent episodes of chest pain caused by coronary artery disease (also known as coronary heart disease), a condition in which the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart become too narrow to adequately supply the heart with enough blood and oxygen.
Nitroglycerin ointment does not work quickly enough to stop an angina attack that is already occurring. Therefore, this medicine is not appropriate for people who have only occasional or rare episodes of angina. It is also inappropriate for people who have angina due to other causes.
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).

How Does This Medicine Work?

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, using nitroglycerin ointment can help prevent angina attacks.
Because the body rapidly becomes accustomed to the effects of nitroglycerin when it is used around the clock, it is essential that a 10- to 12-hour break from nitroglycerin ointment occurs every day (see Nitroglycerin Ointment Dosage). Without this break, the drug will become ineffective within 24 hours.
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Nitroglycerin Ointment Information

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