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Am J Cardiol. 1996 May 30;77(13):38C-40C.

Organic nitrates: new formulations and their clinical advantages.

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Kingston General Hospital, Ontario, Canada.


The organic nitrates have been used for more than a century in the management of patients with myocardial ischemia. The most commonly used agents at this time include nitroglycerin, isosorbide dinitrate, and isosorbide-5-mononitrate. These agents all exert their therapeutic effects through biodegradation to nitric oxide, which stimulates guanylate cyclase in vascular smooth muscle cells with the production of cyclic guanosine monophosphate. The latter induces vasodilation by reducing the availability of ionized calcium to the contractile proteins. Tolerance to the organic nitrates occurs when the agents are administered in an attempt to provide therapeutic effects throughout 24 hours each day. There are probably several mechanisms responsible for nitrate tolerance, but there is no evidence at this time that concurrent medications will modify the development of tolerance. The only available method at this time is to give these agents intermittently to provide a period of washout. In so doing, it is possible to provide therapeutic nitrate effects for approximately 12 hours throughout each 24-hour period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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