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Nitroglycerin (By mouth)

Treats or prevents angina (chest pain). This medicine is a nitrate.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Nitro-Time, Nitrostat
Other forms
Absorbed through the skin, Absorbed through the skin, By injection, By mouth, Into the rectum, Oral route, Sublingual route, Transdermal route
Drug classes About this
Antianginal, Coronary Vasodilator
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Glyceryl trinitrate patches for rotator cuff disease

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of glyceryl trinitrate patches on rotator cuff disease (RCD).

Use of nitroglycerin to deliver a retained placenta

Failure to deliver the placenta after a vaginal birth is an uncommon event that can be associated with significant bleeding and even death if left untreated. The retained placenta may be detached from the uterine wall but is trapped so that it is not expelled through the cervix or non‐detached as the placenta fails to separate because of placental inhibition of uterine contractions. Conventional management involves spinal or general anaesthesia to enable introducing a hand inside the uterus to manually remove the placenta, which carries risks of infection and from the anaesthetic, and also requires special facilities. The use of uterine relaxing drugs (tocolytics), either alone or with other drugs to stimulate contractions of the uterus (uterotonics), may bring on the delivery of the placenta and avoid the need for this invasive procedure. This review included three trials that randomly assigned 175 women with the placenta remaining undelivered more than 15 minutes after delivery to either a placebo or the tocolytic nitroglycerin. Both groups received oxytocin to stimulate contractions of the uterus. Combined administration of nitroglycerin and oxytocin did not reduce the need for manual removal of placenta, blood loss, nor the incidence of severe postpartum haemorrhage. Nitroglycerin administration did not cause headache but resulted in a mild drop in blood pressure and a related increase in heart rate. Two out of the three trials had low risk of bias but this result needs confirmation in larger trials with adequate sample sizes to verify the role of nitroglycerin and other tocolytic drugs in managing different subtypes of retained placenta. The trials in this review did not specify the type of retained placenta. We have included an explanation of some of the scientific terms that are used in this review in a glossary (see Appendix 1).

Topical glyceryl trinitrate treatment in chronic tendinopathies

Bibliographic details: Paoloni JA.  Topical glyceryl trinitrate treatment in chronic tendinopathies. International SportMed Journal 2006; 7(4): 238-254

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Summaries for consumers

Glyceryl trinitrate patches for rotator cuff disease

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of glyceryl trinitrate patches on rotator cuff disease (RCD).

Use of nitroglycerin to deliver a retained placenta

Failure to deliver the placenta after a vaginal birth is an uncommon event that can be associated with significant bleeding and even death if left untreated. The retained placenta may be detached from the uterine wall but is trapped so that it is not expelled through the cervix or non‐detached as the placenta fails to separate because of placental inhibition of uterine contractions. Conventional management involves spinal or general anaesthesia to enable introducing a hand inside the uterus to manually remove the placenta, which carries risks of infection and from the anaesthetic, and also requires special facilities. The use of uterine relaxing drugs (tocolytics), either alone or with other drugs to stimulate contractions of the uterus (uterotonics), may bring on the delivery of the placenta and avoid the need for this invasive procedure. This review included three trials that randomly assigned 175 women with the placenta remaining undelivered more than 15 minutes after delivery to either a placebo or the tocolytic nitroglycerin. Both groups received oxytocin to stimulate contractions of the uterus. Combined administration of nitroglycerin and oxytocin did not reduce the need for manual removal of placenta, blood loss, nor the incidence of severe postpartum haemorrhage. Nitroglycerin administration did not cause headache but resulted in a mild drop in blood pressure and a related increase in heart rate. Two out of the three trials had low risk of bias but this result needs confirmation in larger trials with adequate sample sizes to verify the role of nitroglycerin and other tocolytic drugs in managing different subtypes of retained placenta. The trials in this review did not specify the type of retained placenta. We have included an explanation of some of the scientific terms that are used in this review in a glossary (see Appendix 1).

Nitric oxide donors for the treatment of preterm labour

Preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks) increases the baby's risk of death or disability. Several drugs are available to try and slow down labour so that corticosteroid drugs can be given to help the baby's lungs mature quickly. Nitric oxide donors (glyceryl trinitrate) are drugs that may slow down contractions. They can cause headaches, low blood pressure and increased heart rate for the mother, but they might cause fewer problems than some of the other options. This review gathered the evidence on nitric oxide donors compared with no treatment and compared with other drugs to inhibit preterm labour.

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