nitroglycerin IV (Rx)

Brand and Other Names:glyceryl trinitrate IV, IV Nitroglycerin, more...NitroBid IV, NTG, Tridil
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Dosing & Uses


Dosage Forms & Strengths

infusion solution

  • 25mg/250mL
  • 50mg/250mL
  • 100mg/250mL

injectable solution

  • 5mg/mL


If intolerant of or unresponsive to SL NTG

5 mcg/min

Increase by 5 mcg/min q3-5min up to 20 mcg/min, THEN  

Increase by 10 mcg/min

May later increase by 20 mcg/min

Higher dosages required for PVC admin sets

Uninterrupted infusion >24 hours produces tolerance

Renal Failure

CrCl: 10-50 mL/min: Administer q24-72hr

CrCl: <10 mL/min: Administer q72-96hr

Other Indications & Uses

Angina pectoris, perioperative HTN, CHF in the setting of MI, induction of intra-operative hypotension

Off-label: hypertensive crisis, variceal bleeds (with vasopressin), sympathomimetic-induced cardiopulmonary toxicities

Dosage Forms & Strengths

infusion solution

  • 25mg/250mL
  • 50mg/250mL
  • 100mg/250mL

injectable solution

  • 5mg/mL

Congestive Heart Failure

Not FDA approved

Initial: 0.25-0.5 mcg/kg/min IV infusion, may increase by 0.5-1 mcg/kg/min q3-5min PRN  

Usual range: 1-5 mcg/kg/min IV infusion

No more than 20 mcg/min



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            Adverse Effects








            Blurred vision






            Methemoglobinemia (rare)


            Prolonged bleeding time

            Exfoliative dermatitis

            Unstable angina

            Rebound hypertension





            Recent use (within several days) of PDE-5 inhibitors (eg, avanafil, sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil) may cause dangerously low hypotension; the time course of the interaction appears to be related to the PDE-5 inhibitor half-life

            Riociguat; coadministration may cause hypotension

            Narrow angle glaucoma (controversial: may not be clinically significant)


            Symptomatic hypotension, uncorrected hypovolemia, increased intracranial pressure (head trauma, cerebral hemorrhage), severe anemia, constrictive pericarditis, pericardial tamponade, restrictive cardiomyopathy


            Use caution in alcohol use, hyperthyroidism, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, postural hypotension, severe renal impairment, hepatic impairment

            Gradually decrease dose to avoid withdrawal reaction

            May need 10-12 hr/day nitrate-free interval to avoid tolerance development

            Doses ~ 200 mcg/min

            Some products contain alcohol and propylene glycol

            Remove topical forms when starting IV infusion

            Use glass bottles and non-PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tubing to avoid adsorption of drug to delivery devices; use of PVC tubing in infusion sets may lead to loss of active ingredient due to adsorption of nitroglycerin to PVC tubing; dosage is affected; adsorption by PVC tubing is increased when tubing is long, flow rates are low, and nitroglycerin concentration of solution is high; delivered fraction of solution's original nitroglycerin content has been 20-60% in published studies; fraction varies with time during single infusion, and no simple correction factor can be used; if intravenous nitroglycerin is administered through non-adsorptive tubing, doses based upon published reports will generally be too high; some in-line intravenous filters also adsorb nitroglycerin and should be avoided

            Solutions containing dextrose without electrolytes should not be administered through the same administration set as blood, as this may result in pseudoagglutination or hemolysis

            Intravenous administration of solutions may cause fluid overloading resulting in dilution of serum electrolyte concentrations, overhydration and congested states of pulmonary edema; risk of dilutional states is inversely proportional to electrolyte concentrations of injections; risk of solute overload causing congested states with peripheral and pulmonary edema is directly proportional to electrolyte concentration of injections

            Severe hypotension and shock may occur with even small doses of nitroglycerin; monitor patients who may be volume depleted or, for whatever reason, are already hypotensive; hypotension induced by nitroglycerin may be accompanied by paradoxical bradycardia and increased angina pectoris

            Nitrate therapy may aggravate angina caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

            Tolerance development and occurrence of cross tolerance to other nitro compounds reported

            Administer nitroglycerin in 5% dextrose Injection only via infusion pump that can maintain constant infusion rate

            Monitor patients with known sub-clinical or overt diabetes mellitus when using solutions containing dextrose

            Cases of methemoglobinemia reported with moderate doses of organic nitrates; when methemoglobinemia is diagnosed, discontinue treatment of nitroglycerin; if condition not reversed, treat with methylene blue, 1-2 mg/kg intravenously

            Protect from freezing and light

            Do not change brands unintentionally as not all are bioequivalent

            Treat drug-induced headache with aspirin or acetaminophen

            Provide nitrate-free interval (10-12 hr or overnight) to avoid development of tolerance

            Use supportive treatment in overdose; there is no specific antidote for overdose; risk of overdose can be minimized by close monitoring during treatment

            Drug interaction overview

            • The vasodilating effects of nitroglycerin may be additive with those of other antihypertensives. (e.g., beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and tricyclic antidepressants) and may cause increased hypotensive effects
            • Concomitant use of nitroglycerin in 5% dextrose injection concomitant use with phosphodiesterase inhibitors (e.g. sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil) in any form is contraindicated
            • Concomitant use of nitroglycerin in 5% dextrose injection with riociguat, a soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator, can cause hypotension and is contraindicated
            • Marked symptomatic orthostatic hypotension reported when calcium channel blockers and organic nitrates used in combination
            • Nitroglycerin at higher dosages may interfere with anticoagulant effect of heparin; intravenous nitroglycerin can induce heparin resistance

            Pregnancy & Lactation

            Pregnancy Category: C

            Lactation: Developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for nitroglycerin and any potential adverse effects on breastfed child from nitroglycerin or from underlying maternal condition

            Pregnancy Categories

            A: Generally acceptable. Controlled studies in pregnant women show no evidence of fetal risk.

            B: May be acceptable. Either animal studies show no risk but human studies not available or animal studies showed minor risks and human studies done and showed no risk.

            C: Use with caution if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies not available or neither animal nor human studies done.

            D: Use in LIFE-THREATENING emergencies when no safer drug available. Positive evidence of human fetal risk.

            X: Do not use in pregnancy. Risks involved outweigh potential benefits. Safer alternatives exist.

            NA: Information not available.



            Mechanism of Action

            Organic nitrate which causes systemic venodilation, decreasing preload

            Cellular mechanism: enters vascular smooth muscle and is converted to nitric oxide (NO) which induces synthesis of cGMP and vasodilation

            Relaxes smooth muscle via dose-dependent dilation of arterial and venous beds to reduce both preload and afterload, and myocardial O2 demand

            Also improves coronary collateral circulation. Lower BP, increased HR, occasional paradoxical bradycardia


            Half-life: 1-4 min

            Onset: 1-3 min

            Duration: 3-5 min

            Protein bound: 60%

            Vd: 3 L/kg

            Metabolism: Mainly in liver, extrahepatic sites (vascular wall, RBC)

            Metabolites: 1,3-glyceryl dinitrate, 1,2-glyceryl dinitrate, and glyceryl mononitrate (inactive)

            Clearance: 5.5-11 L/min

            Excretion: Urine

            Dialyzable: No



            IV Compatibilities

            Additive: aminophylline, dobutamine, dopamine, furosemide, lidocaine, verapamil

            Syringe: heparin

            Y-site: amiodarone, diltiazem, dobutamine, dopamine, famotidine, lidocaine, pancuronium, ranitidine, sodium nitroprusside, streptokinase, tacrolimus, vecuronium

            IV Incompatibilities

            Additive: hydralazine, phenytoin

            Syringe: caffeine

            Y-site: alteplase, hydralazine

            IV Preparation

            Solution: 50 mg in 250 mL (200 mcg/mL) D5W or NS

            IV Administration

            3 mL/hr (10 mcg/min)

            Only use glass IV bottles and administration sets





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            Tier Description
            1 This drug is available at the lowest co-pay. Most commonly, these are generic drugs.
            2 This drug is available at a middle level co-pay. Most commonly, these are "preferred" (on formulary) brand drugs.
            3 This drug is available at a higher level co-pay. Most commonly, these are "non-preferred" brand drugs.
            4 This drug is available at a higher level co-pay. Most commonly, these are "non-preferred" brand drugs or specialty prescription products.
            5 This drug is available at a higher level co-pay. Most commonly, these are "non-preferred" brand drugs or specialty prescription products.
            6 This drug is available at a higher level co-pay. Most commonly, these are "non-preferred" brand drugs or specialty prescription products.
            NC NOT COVERED – Drugs that are not covered by the plan.
            Code Definition
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            Drugs that require prior authorization. This restriction requires that specific clinical criteria be met prior to the approval of the prescription.
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            Medscape prescription drug monographs are based on FDA-approved labeling information, unless otherwise noted, combined with additional data derived from primary medical literature.