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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Fast-Acting NitroglycerinNitroglicerina de acci³n r¡pida

Fast-Acting Nitroglycerin

Nitroglycerin relieves angina (chest pain) by getting more blood and oxygen to your heart. Fast-acting nitroglycerin stops an angina attack. Follow the steps below for taking fast-acting nitroglycerin.

Image of taking pill

To Stop an Angina Attack

If you use tablets:

  • Sit down.

  • Place one tablet under your tongue. Or place it between your lip and gum or between your cheek and gum.

  • Let the tablet dissolve all the way. Do not swallow or chew the tablet.

  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew tobacco as the tablet is dissolving.

Image of using spray

If you use spray:

  • Sit down. Open your mouth and hold the sprayer just in front of your mouth.

  • Press the button on the top. Spray once under your tongue or inside your cheek. Do not inhale.

  • Close your mouth. Then wait a few seconds before you swallow.

After taking one tablet or spraying once:

  • Sit for 5 minutes. 

  • If the angina goes away, rest for a while and continue your normal routine.

Call 911 or have someone drive you to an emergency room if your angina lasts longer than 5 minutes and 1 tablet or 1 spray has not relieved it. Do not delay-you may be having a heart attack!


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

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any medications, supplements, or herbs you use. Nitroglycerin can interact with other medications and cause serious problems. NOTE: Do not take Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis at any time if you are on nitroglycerin.

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

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2004-10-01T00:00:00-06:00

Jay L. Jordan, MD, is an experienced cardiologist and internal medicine physician who provides a comprehensive range of cardiac care services in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Calabasas and nearby communities. Take the first step in preventing and controlling heart disease with symptoms such as angina, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, carotid artery disease, chest pain, congestive heart failure, coronary vascular disease, hypertension, palpitations, shortness of breath and stroke. Call Dr. Jay L. Jordan at 310-854-5493 or request an appointment online.

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