MYTH # 7:

"Those nitroglycerin pills are dangerous!"

 
 

 THE FACTS

Nitroglycerin ("nitro") is a medication which can be administered in pills, tablets, spray cans, intravenously . . . even in paste or patches placed on the skin. It has been around for years, and has never to my knowledge "blown anyone up"! While it may cause headaches and lightheadedness, it is prescribed to people with blocked heart arteries because it can be so effective in relieving a lack of blood supply and oxygen to the heart muscle. The small pills (which are placed and dissolved under the tongue) and spray cans (also sprayed under the tongue) are to use at the time that angina (usually perceived as pain in the chest) is occurring. One should indeed sit down when taking nitroglycerin, and should stand up slowly afterwards as well (it does cause the blood vessels to dilate and could cause a lowering of blood pressure). However, patients underuse this inexpensive but powerful little miracle. They think that "the pain wasn't severe enough", or "I was afraid of what it would do". (By the way though, nitroglycerin in any form must be avoided by patients who are taking the new drug, Viagra).

 
 

  CONCLUSION

If your doctor has given you a prescription for nitroglycerin, it is expected that you will really take it . . . it can provide simple and quick relief for a significant cardiac condition. Discuss any concerns with your doctor and/or pharmacist, but then take as directed!

ęCOPY;1997 HeartPoint   Updated December 1998.

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