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Nitroglycerin toxicity is generally mild. The estimated adult oral lethal dose of nitroglycerin is 200 mg to 1,200 mg. Infants may be more susceptible to toxicity from nitroglycerin. Consultation with a poison center should be considered.
Laboratory determinations of serum levels of nitroglycerin and its metabolites are not widely available, and such determinations have, in any event, no established role in the management of nitroglycerin overdose.
No data are available to suggest physiological maneuvers (e.g., maneuvers to change the pH of the urine) that might accelerate elimination of nitroglycerin and its active metabolites. Similarly, it is not known which if any of these substances can usefully be removed from the body by hemodialysis. No specific antagonist to the vasodilator effects of nitroglycerin is known, and no intervention has been subject to controlled study as a therapy of nitroglycerin overdose. Because the hypotension associated with nitroglycerin overdose is the result of venodilatation and arterial hypovolemia, prudent therapy in this situation should be directed toward increase in central fluid volume. Passive elevation of the patient's legs may be sufficient, but intravenous infusion of normal saline or similar fluid may also be necessary.
The use of epinephrine or other arterial vasoconstrictors in this setting is not recommended.
In patients with renal disease or congestive heart failure, therapy resulting in central volume expansion is not without hazard. Treatment of RECTIV overdose in these patients may be subtle and difficult, and invasive monitoring may be required.
Methemoglobinemia has been rarely reported with organic nitrates. The diagnosis should be suspected in patients who exhibit signs of impaired oxygen delivery despite adequate arterial PO2. Classically, methemoglobinemic blood is described as chocolate brown, without color change on exposure to air.
If methemoglobinemia is present, intravenous administration of methylene blue, 1 to 2 mg/kg of body weight, may be required.
PDE5 Inhibitor Use
Administration of RECTIV is contraindicated in patients who are using a selective inhibitor of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), such as sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil, as these are shown to potentiate the hypotensive effects of organic nitrates [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
RECTIV is contraindicated in patients with severe anemia.
Increased Intracranial Pressure
RECTIV is contraindicated in patients with increased intracranial pressure.
RECTIV is contraindicated in patients who have shown hypersensitivity to it or to other nitrates or nitrites. Skin reactions consistent with hypersensitivity have been observed with organic nitrates.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/2/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Rectiv Information
- Rectiv Drug Interactions Center: nitroglycerin rect
- Rectiv Side Effects Center
- Rectiv FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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