Long-Acting Nitroglycerin  

Nitroglycerin relieves chest pain (angina) by getting more blood and oxygen to your heart. Long-acting nitroglycerin helps prevent angina from starting.

Man holding glass of water, preparing to take pill.To prevent angina

If you use a patch:

  • Remove the old patch. Then apply a new one to a clean, dry place on the chest or upper arm.

  • Pick a new place each time you change the patch.

  • Do not apply where skin is hairy, cut, irritated, scarred, or tattooed.

If you use a tablet or capsule:

  • Take the tablet or capsule 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

  • Swallow it with a glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush the tablet or capsule.

If you use an ointment:

  • Measure the prescribed amount of ointment onto the paper that comes with it.

  • Spread a thin, even layer on a clean patch of skin. Do not rub it in. Tape the paper in place with skin tape for as long as instructed, then remove it. 

  • Use a new spot each time you apply the paste.


  • Do not suddenly stop using nitroglycerin to prevent angina. This could cause an attack. Check with your healthcare provider first.

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Too much alcohol can cause dizziness or fainting.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any medicines, supplements, or herbs you use. Nitroglycerin can interact with other medicines and cause serious problems. 

  • Note: Do not take phosphodiesterase inhibitors, such as sildenafil. These are medicines that help sexual function in men — at any time if you are on nitroglycerin.

  • Check the expiration date. Nitroglycerin can lose its effectiveness over time.

Call your healthcare provider if you have chest pain that lasts longer, is different or more severe than before, and occurs more often, an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, blurred vision, dizziness or passing out, or a severe headache.