Nitroglycerin

 
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More about Nitroglycerin

What is/are Nitroglycerin?

Nitroglycerin (NG), also known as nitroglycerine, trinitroglycerin, trinitroglycerine, or nitro, is more correctly known as glyceryl trinitrate or more formally: 1,2,3-trinitroxypropane. It is a heavy, colorless, oily, explosive liquid most commonly produced by treating glycerol with white fuming nitric acid under conditions appropriate to the formation of the nitric acid ester. Chemically, the substance is an organic nitrate compound rather than a nitro compound, but the traditional name is often retained. Since the 1860s, nitroglycerin has been used as an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives, mostly dynamite, and as such it is employed in the construction, demolition, and mining industries. Similarly, since the 1880s, it has been used by the military as an active ingredient, and a gelatinizer for nitrocellulose, in some solid propellants, such as Cordite and Ballistite.

Nitroglycerin is also a major component in double-based smokeless gunpowders used by reloaders. Combined with nitrocellulose, there are hundreds of (powder) combinations used by rifle, pistol, and shotgun reloaders.

Nitroglycerin is also used medically as a vasodilator to treat heart conditions, such as angina and chronic heart failure. Having been used for over 130 years, nitroglycerin is one of the oldest and most useful drugs for treating and preventing attacks of angina pectoris. Though it was previously known that these effects arise because nitroglycerin is converted to nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator, it was not until 2002 that the enzyme for this conversion was discovered to be mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase. Nitroglycerin comes in forms of tablets, sprays or patches. It has been suggested for other uses also, such as an adjunct therapy in prostate cancer.

Medical uses

Nitroglycerin was first used by William Murrell to treat anginal attacks in 1878, with the discovery published in 1878. Nitroglycerin belongs to a group of drugs called nitrates, which includes many other nitrates like isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil) and isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur, Ismo, Monoket). These agents all exert their effect by being converted to nitric oxide in the body by mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, and nitric oxide is a potent natural vasodilator.

In medicine, where it is generally called glyceryl trinitrate, nitroglycerin is used as a heart medication. It is used as a medicine for angina pectoris (ischemic heart disease) in tablets, ointment, solution for intravenous use, transdermal patches, or sprays administered sublingually. Patients who experience angina when doing certain physical activities can often prevent symptoms by taking nitroglycerin 5 to 10 minutes before the activity. Some forms of nitroglycerin last much longer in the body than others. These may come in the form of a pill taken one, two, or three times per day, or even as a patch. It has been shown that round-the-clock exposure to nitrates can cause the body to stop responding normally to this medicine. Experts recommend that the patches be removed at night, allowing the body a few hours to restore its responsiveness to nitrates. Shorter-acting preparations can be used several times a day with less risk of the body getting used to this drug.

Angina pectoris is due to an inadequate flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. It is believed that nitroglycerin corrects the imbalance between the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart. The principal action of nitroglycerin is vasodilation—widening of the blood vessels. At low doses, nitroglycerin will dilate veins more than arteries, but at higher doses it also dilates arteries and is a potent antihypertensive agent. In cardiac treatment the lowering of pressure in the arteries reduces the pressure against which the heart must pump, thereby decreasing afterload. Dilating the veins decreases cardiac preload and leads to the following therapeutic effects during episodes of angina pectoris: subsiding of chest pain, decrease of blood pressure, increase of heart rate, and orthostatic hypotension.

Adverse effects

  •     Fast, slow, pounding, or uneven heart rate;
  •     Blurred vision or dry mouth;
  •     Nausea, vomiting, sweating, pale skin, feeling like you might pass out; or
  •     Fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.

Less serious side effects of nitroglycerin may include:

  •     Mild burning or tingling with the tablet in your mouth;
  •     Warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin; or
  •     Feeling weak or dizzy.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Nitroglycerin, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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This page uses publicly available data from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services; NLM is not responsible for the page and product and does not endorse or recommend this or any other product.

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