Nitro preparations as vasodilators in heart problems

Nitro preparations are especially important for people with coronary heart disease, short KHK, to improve the blood flow to the heart. First of all, it should be noted that patients who rely on this preparation require constant care. In an emergency, the heart vessels can then be expanded by nitro preparations in the form of a spray, tablets or capsules and the heart can be better supplied with blood again. In this article you will read many details about the effects of nitro preparations and the most common applications.

What are nitro preparations?

Nitro preparations are medicines used to treat heart disease. In particular, in angina pectoris, a chest due to a circulatory disorder in the heart, nitro preparations can improve the blood flow to the heart within a very short time and so help with an acute angina pectoris attack.

With the administration of nitro products, their active ingredient nitroglycerin is converted into nitric oxide in the body. As a result, the heart muscles relax and the blood vessels expand, which provides the heart better with blood again.

Symptoms of angina pectoris

Anyone who suddenly suffers from pain should always be alert. Even a chestnut can be behind this problem. This symptom is expressed behind the sternum with:

  • Pain
  • tightness
  • Burn
  • pressure
  • oppression

In addition, if the elbow, hand, shoulder and / or arm feel numb and heavy, and this problem primarily or exclusively affects the left side of the body, then it may be an angina pectoris.

Please note: In women and persons over 75 years, the symptoms may be different. Here you should be alert to shortness of breath, stomach upset and tiredness. In contrast, a classic chest pain is rare.

Use of nitro preparations for prevention

In some cases, angina pectoris is triggered by certain situations, such as exercise or mental stress. If it is already known that a similar situation will occur, nitroglycerin can also be taken as a preventive measure to prevent or at least facilitate an attack as much as possible.

In this way, the blood circulation of the heart improves in advance and the symptoms may not even - or at least in a mitigated form - on.


If the symptoms persist for more than a few minutes and even a nitro supplement does not bring any improvement, a clarification in the hospital is absolutely necessary to rule out an acute myocardial infarction.

Treatment of chest tightness

If necessary, you can take medicines for angina pectoris that normalize cholesterol and blood pressure. In order to expand the vessels and to improve the circulation in constrictions of the coronary vessels, in addition nitro preparations are used.

An angina pectoris is treated not only with medication, but also with a general change of life. The patient should abstain from eating high-fat foods, nicotine and alcohol and reduce any existing overweight.

What is a nitro drug used for?

To treat the breasts, nitro preparations are used as an immediate treatment. In this way, the vessels expand immediately, which can lead to a drastic improvement of the situation.

The use of a nitro preparation can be used to differentiate whether it is an anginal attack (symptoms rapidly disappear after administration of the preparation) or an acute myocardial infarction (symptoms may remain).

The angina pectoris can be unstable if the symptoms first appear or under rest conditions (rest angina). In this case, an acute heart attack threatens, so an immediate call to the ambulance is advised.

Other areas of use of drugs

Although angina pectoris is most commonly treated with nitro products, it is also used in the following conditions:

  • in an acute myocardial infarction (myocardial infarction)
  • in case of acute reduction of the left side of the heart (left heart failure)
  • in convulsions of the coronary arteries (coronary spasm in coronary angiography)

Although the drug is usually only given to clarify whether an acute myocardial infarction or chest tightness exists, it also helps patients with a heart attack. Although the symptoms may not resolve immediately, the permeability of the coronary arteries can also be improved with the nitro preparations.

Which nitro preparations are there?

In most cases, nitro preparations are sold as nitro capsules, nitroglycerin tablets or nitroglycerin spray. Even as an ointment, the drug can be purchased, comes in this form, however, only for an anal fissure used.

Patients with symptoms such as chest tightness should take the nitro preparation (snack capsule, tablets or spray) as soon as possible. The preparation is not only for emergencies, but also as a way not to let emerge an emergency. Since it is all the more effective if it is already taken at the beginning of the symptoms, patients should not hesitate long.

How are nitro preparations used?

Nitro preparations are available in different dosage forms, but spray, tablets and capsules have in common that they:

  • expand the vessels.
  • lower the arterial blood pressure.

Capsules and tablets are swallowed, while sprays are sprayed into the oral cavity. It is best to spray under the tongue and make sure the medication is not inhaled. Now close your mouth, continue to breathe through your nose and repeat the procedure if no improvement occurs after 1-2 minutes.

Important: Due to the vasodilation of the preparations also the arterial blood pressure is lowered, which can lead to circulatory difficulties. For this reason, nitro preparations should always be taken while lying or sitting, no matter which preparation is taken in which dosage form. The person affected should therefore sit or lie down for a few minutes after taking it.

The general rule:

  • Take nitro preparations if necessary already preventive.
  • At the first signs of a seizure, the nitro preparation should be taken once.
  • Unless symptoms improve after five minutes, patients should take a second dose.
  • Even if this dose does not work, patients should contact their doctor or, in case of doubt, the emergency doctor.

How do nitro preparations work?

Whether as nitroglycerin tablets, capsules or spray - the effect occurs very quickly in these preparations to stop an anginal attack. The cardiac muscle perfusion is improved by the nitroglycerin preparations, since the cardiac muscle oxygen consumption is lowered by the expansion of the coronary arteries.

Vascular dilation is perceived as "heat in the head" in many patients, with some patients also feeling headaches. Nevertheless, the positive effect is clearly superior to the side effects. Possible side effects include headache, drop in blood pressure (dizziness, drowsiness) or even heat feelings.

Good to know:

There is no habituation effect with the active ingredient nitroglycerin. This means that the active ingredient can be used repeatedly and just as effectively.

Calcium antagonists or nitro preparations?

Some people are wondering if calcium antagonists or nitro products are better for treating angina pectoris. The question should not be "or" as both nitro-based and calcium-antagonists (and beta-blockers) are used in parallel to treat stable angina pectoris.

In this case, calcium antagonists act as a kind of "agent" between nitro preparations and beta-blockers, as these substances influence the calcium transport into and out of the cells. In this way, the blood vessels relax and expand, the blood pressure drops again.

Is the nitroglycerin drug sold over the counter?

Nitroglycerin medicines are not available without prescription. Anyone who wants to buy nitroglycerine in the pharmacy to treat the breasts with the nitro preparations needs a prescription from the specialist. Even your family doctor will prescribe you a suitable drug for emergencies if there is a corresponding illness.

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