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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Nitrates Topical

Nitrates Topical (Systemic)

Description and Brand Names | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects | Additional Information

  • Antianginal
  • Vasodilator, congestive heart failure

Nitrates (NYE-trates) are used to treat the symptoms of angina (chest pain). Depending on the type of dosage form and how it is taken, nitrates are used to treat angina in three ways:

  • to relieve an attack that is occurring by using the medicine when the attack begins;
  • to prevent attacks from occurring by using the medicine just before an attack is expected to occur; or
  • to reduce the number of attacks that occur by using the medicine regularly on a long-term basis.

When applied to the skin, nitrates are used to reduce the number of angina attacks that occur. The only nitrate available for this purpose is topical nitroglycerin (nye-troe-GLI-ser-in).

Topical nitroglycerin is absorbed through the skin. It works by relaxing blood vessels and increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while reducing its work load. This helps prevent future angina attacks from occurring.

Topical nitroglycerin may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Nitroglycerin as discussed here is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:

  • Ointment (U.S. and Canada)
  • Transdermal (stick-on) patch (U.S. and Canada)

Brand Names

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S. -

  • Deponit 2
  • Minitran 2
  • Nitro-Bid 1
  • Nitrodisc 2
  • Nitro-Dur 2
  • Nitrol 1
  • Transderm-Nitro 2

In Canada -

  • Minitran 2
  • Nitro-Dur 2
  • Nitrol 1
  • Transderm-Nitro 2

Another commonly used name for nitroglycerin is glyceryl trinitrate .


For quick reference, the following nitrates are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.

This information applies to the following medicines:
1. Nitroglycerin Ointment‡
2. Nitroglycerin Transdermal Patches‡
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.


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Nitrates Topical: Before Using

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