Minitran

1 What is Minitran?

Brand: Minitran, Nitrek, Nitro-Bid, Nitro-Dur

Generic: Nitroglycerin

Minitran is used to prevent chest pain or angina due to coronary artery disease. It comes in skin patch or ointment form that can be easily applied.

Minitran is a type of nitrates, which helps reduce the workload of the heart by relaxing the blood vessels and increasing blood and oxygen supply.

Although it does not work quick enough to relieve an angina attack that has already started, it can help prevent attacks from taking place, when used the long term regularly. It is a prescription drug, which means you can only get it with a doctor’s prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start using Minitran, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. The risks and benefits the medicine offer must be weighed.

For this medication, you and your doctor must consider the following:

Allergies:

If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - foods, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.

Pediatric:

There are no appropriate studies performed to establish safety and efficacy of nitroglycerin use in children.

Geriatric:

While there is no appropriate study done to point out the relationship of old age to the effects of this drug, no geriatric-related problems are given to date. Nonetheless, utmost caution must be considered when giving this medicine to the elderly, since the age group is more likely to suffer from age-related kidney, liver, or heart diseases.

Pregnancy:

While there are no adequate studies done with pregnant women, animal tests show that using this medicine can be harmful to the fetus.

Breastfeeding:

While there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the potential benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.

Drug Interactions:

Certain medicines have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary.

Before using nitroglycerin, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications. It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness.

Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, especially the following drugs:

  • Riociguat
  • Avanafil
  • Sildenafil
  • Acetylcysteine
  • Vardenafil
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Tadalafil
  • Alteplase, Recombinant
  • Aspirin
  • Pancuronium

Other medical problems. If you have other health problems, it may affect the use of nitroglycerin. Make sure you inform your doctor about other problems concerning your health, especially congestive heart failure, heart attack, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hypotension, or hypovolemia.

If you are to undergo medical heart procedures like cardioversion or defibrillation, the patch should be removed first.

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3 Proper Usage

To use Minitran properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. The dose of nitroglycerin depends on the patient's age, weight, and symptoms, as well as the strength of the medicine.

Do not change the dosage the doctor indicated unless he or she told you otherwise. The number of doses and the number of hours between doses generally depend on the reason why you are taking nitroglycerin. Keep in mind that this medicine only works when used correctly.

Generally, dosage will be as follows:

For preventing angina in adults, 7.5 mg of ointment (about half an inch) is applied twice a day. The first dose is applied in the morning and the next dose 6 hours later.

If you are using the skin patch, the normal dose is one patch a day, applied in the morning and left for 12 to 14 hours. Dosage may be increased by your doctor as required. Follow your doctor’s instruction on how to apply the ointment or skin patch.

Missed dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. In case it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and follow your regular dosing schedule. In case you forgot to wear or change a patch, put a patch as soon as possible. If it is almost time to apply the next patch, wait for it and apply a new patch. Do not put on extra patches to make up for a missed dose.

Storage:

Keep the medicine in an airtight container at normal room temperature. Keep it away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Do not let it freeze. Keep the medicine out of children’s reach. Dispose used patch properly by folding the sticky sides together. Keep the disposed patch out of the reach of pets and children.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Minitran, there are some precautions you must take. Regular checkups are important if you are going to use this medicine for a long period of time to make sure it is working properly.

Do not use Minitran if you are using:

  • Riociguat
  • Sildenafil
  • Tadalafil
  • or Vardenafil

Using one of these drugs together with Minitran can cause:

Using nitroglycerin may cause headaches, which are a sign that the medicine is working. Ask your doctor if you can take pain relievers, such as acetaminophen to treat headaches. Limit alcohol intake while you are using this medicine. Do not stop using nitroglycerin without your doctor’s advice.

Gradual reduction of the amount you are using may be needed before stopping the medication completely. If you are having an MRI scan, tell the doctor that you are using it before the procedure.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Minitran. Not all people may suffer from these side effects, but if they do, immediate medical attention may be needed.

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you encounter any of the following:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain in the arm, back, or jaw
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • Nausea
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Tightness or heaviness in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Dark urine
  • Bluish-colored lips, fingernails, or palms
  • Pale skin
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Sore throat
  • Burning, blistering, dryness, crusting, or flaking of the skin
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Hives or rash
  • Cough
  • Scaling, itching, severe redness, swelling or soreness of the skin
  • Puffy or swollen face, eyes, lips, or tongue

In case of overdose, rush to the E.R. immediately. Symptoms of overdose include:

  • Bulging soft spot on the head of an infant
  • Blurred or loss of vision
  • Disturbed color perception
  • Change in the ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
  • Change in consciousness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Double vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • Throbbing or severe headache
  • Night blindness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tunnel vision
  • Overbright appearance of lights
  • Sensation of spinning
  • Paralysis

While most of these side effects usually diminish as the body adjusts to the drug, immediate medical attention may be needed. Some patients may experience side effects not listed above. If you want to report side effects, you may do so by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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