Transdermal nitroglycerin comes as a patch to apply to the skin. It is usually applied once a day, worn for 12 to 14 hours, and then removed. Apply nitroglycerin patches at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use nitroglycerin patches exactly as directed. Do not apply more or fewer patches or apply the patches more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Choose a spot on your upper body or upper arms to apply your patch. Do not apply the patch to your arms below the elbows, to your legs below the knees, or to skin folds. Apply the patch to clean, dry, hairless skin that is not irritated, scarred, burned, broken, or calloused. Choose a different area each day.
You may shower while you are wearing a nitroglycerin skin patch.
If a patch loosens or falls off, replace it with a fresh one.
To use nitroglycerin patches, follow the steps below. Different brands of nitroglycerin patches may be applied in slightly different ways, so be sure to follow the directions included with your patches:
- Wash your hands.
- Hold the patch so that the plastic backing is facing you.
- Bend the sides of the patch away from you and then toward you until you hear a snap.
- Peel off one side of the plastic backing.
- Use the other side of the patch as a handle, and apply the stick half to your skin in the spot you have chosen.
- Press the sticky side of the patch against the skin and smooth it down.
- Fold back the other side of the patch. Hold onto the remaining piece of plastic backing and use it to pull the patch across the skin.
- Wash your hands again.
- When you are ready to remove the patch, press down on its center to lift the edges away from the skin.
- Hold the edge gently and slowly peel the patch away from the skin.
- Fold the patch in half with the sticky side pressed together and dispose of it safely, out of the reach of children and pets. The used patch may still contain active medication that can harm others.
- Wash the skin that was covered with the patch with soap and water. The skin may be red and may feel warm for a short time. You may apply lotion if the skin is dry, and you should call your doctor if the redness does not go away after a short time.
Nitroglycerin patches may no longer work as well after you have used them for some time. To prevent this, your doctor will probably tell you to wear each patch for only 12 to 14 hours each day so that there is a period of time when you are not exposed to nitroglycerin every day. If your angina attacks happen more often, last longer, or become more severe at any time during your treatment, call your doctor.
Nitroglycerin patches help prevent attacks of angina but do not cure coronary artery disease. Continue to use nitroglycerin patches even if you feel well. Do not stop using nitroglycerin patches without talking to your doctor.