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Int J Cardiol. 1991 Aug;32(2):241-8.

Efficacy of continuous and intermittent transdermal treatment with nitroglycerin in effort angina pectoris: a multicentric study. The Collaborative Nitro Group.

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Department of Cardiology, General Hospital, Trieste, Italy.


Eighty-eight patients (84 men and 4 women; mean age 59.3 years) with stable exercise-induced angina pectoris were enrolled in this within-patient, placebo-controlled study aimed at comparing the efficacy of the continuous and intermittent (12 hour on, 12 hour off) application of transdermal nitroglycerin. Eighty-one patients completed the study. After a 1-week placebo run-in period, during which the stability of angina was assessed on a bicycle ergometer, the patients received continuous treatment (two 10 mg/24 hour patches twice daily, at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.), intermittent treatment (two 10 mg/24 hour patches at 8 a.m. and two placebo patches at 8 p.m.) and placebo (two placebo patches twice daily, at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.), each given for one week in a double-blind randomised sequence, according to a 3 x 3 latin-square design. A cycloergometric exercise test was performed at the end of each period of treatment, 4 and 10 hours after the application of the morning patch. In comparison with placebo, both schedules of the active treatment induced a significant increase in both the ischemic (duration of exercise to 1 mm ST segment depression) and the angina threshold (duration of exercise to mild angina) at the 4th and at the 10th hours after-dosing. A significant difference was also found between continuous and intermittent treatment at the same times of observation, in favour of the intermittent schedule. The limited number of anginal attacks recorded during placebo prevented any clinical evaluation of the treatments. This study shows that the efficacy of transdermal nitroglycerin is more pronounced when it is given following an intermittent schedule.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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