Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) spray is used to treat and prevent angina attacks.
Angina is chest pain that is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles. The muscles in your heart need oxygen in order to pump blood around your body. Oxygen is delivered to the heart muscles through the blood, and when there isn’t enough oxygen the muscles start to tighten.
There are two main types of angina:
Stable angina Attacks can be triggered by things such as stress and exercise. Attacks tend to be short, lasting only a few minutes.
Unstable angina Attacks are more unpredictable and often don’t have an obvious trigger.
How does glyceryl trinitrate spray work?
Glyceryl trinitrate belongs to a group of medicines called nitrates. It works in two ways to treat and prevent angina. It widens the blood vessels in the body to make it easier for blood to flow more freely, and it also widens the vessels in the heart so that blood can get to the muscles in the heart and deliver the oxygen they need.
It can be used before a trigger, like exercise, to prevent an attack. It can also be used as an emergency treatment once an attack is already in progress.
What doses of GTN spray are there?
Glyceryl trinitrate spray is available in one dosage size: 400mcg, as this is seen to be the most effective. Your prescriber will usually advise you to use one or two sprays underneath the tongue when you experience pain.
GTN sprayGlyceryl trinitrate
How to take GTN spray
Always take medication as directed by your clinician.
To treat the onset of an attack, or to prevent an imminent attack you will usually be told to:
Hold the device upright near to your mouth
Hold your breath
Point the spray under your tongue
Press down firmly on the button, only do this once
Close your mouth immediately
Do not inhale the spray
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with how to use the spray when you are first prescribed it. This is because you’ll need to use it quickly and effectively during an angina attack. It may also be wise to show friends and family how to use your spray.
Before using the spray for the first time, you should check the button by spraying a small amount of the spray into a tissue.
Even if you don’t use your spray on a regular basis, it’s important to check it to ensure that you can rely on it during an attack.
How long does it take glyceryl trinitrate spray to work?
Your GTN spray should get to work straight away and offer relief from an angina attack in a matter of minutes. If your angina symptoms don't ease after a dose of your spray then you may be advised to administer another spray.
When used as a preventative treatment before exercise it should also work quickly so that you can workout without symptoms.
What should I do if I make a mistake when taking GTN spray?
If you take too much glyceryl trinitrate spray you may experience sweating, nausea and weakness and you should monitor how you’re feeling until these feelings pass. If you start to feel faint, sit down and raise your legs.
If you forget to take your GTN spray before exercising, stop what you are doing and sit down to take it as soon as you remember. Once you’ve taken a dose of your spray, you should wait a few minutes before resuming activity. Don’t take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed before exercising.
In rare cases, a bluish colour may appear on the fingers and lips. If this happens seek medical attention immediately.
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GTN sprayGlyceryl trinitrate
GTN sprayGlyceryl trinitrate
FAQ: GTN spray
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How is GTN spray different from other treatments for angina?
There are other drugs used to treat the condition that are aimed at preventing angina attacks in the longer term. These can’t be taken during an attack to ease it, or to prevent one before encountering a trigger.
One example of a long term treatment is beta blockers. These work to slow the heart rate and reduce the amount of oxygen needed by the muscles in the heart.
Calcium channel blockers are another common long term treatment. These lower your blood pressure to make it easier for blood to flow into your heart. Unlike GTN spray, this happens over time and calcium channel blockers cannot be taken during an attack to relieve symptoms.
How effective is glyceryl trinitrate spray?
Glyceryl trinitrate is highly effective and easy to use. It can be a suitable medication option for both reactive treatment to an attack, as well as preventative treatment before exercise.
Analysis shows that using glyceryl trinitrate spray prior to exercise prevents the onset of angina. A dose of 400mcg is regarded to be the most effective.
Is GTN spray similar to any other treatments?
There’s also a branded form of GTN spray, called Glytrin. It has the same active ingredient as GTN spray, works in pretty much the same way and comes in the same dose.
There are also other treatments for angina with the same active ingredient as GTN spray, glyceryl trinitrate, that come in different forms. It comes as tablets and patches too, like Deponit patches. So if you don’t want to use a spray, you could try another form of the medication.
Do I need a prescription for GTN spray?
GTN spray is a pharmacy medicine, so you don’t need a prescription for it. You will need to talk to a clinician first and get it from a registered pharmacy. A clinician will need to make sure it’s right for you to use and give you some advice on how to take it.
Chest pain can also be a worrying symptom, so they’ll need to check there isn’t a more serious underlying cause first. If you tell us about your health, our clinicians will check it over and you can order GTN spray straight from us to your home.
Why should I buy GTN spray online with Treated?
Getting access to the angina treatment that you need can be time consuming and frustrating. At Treated we want to make keeping on top of your health simple and straightforward. Our team of expert clinicians are available to discuss your symptoms and find the treatment that works for you.
Once you’ve spoken to a clinician and started your treatment, we’ll be in touch to make sure that everything is going well. If you have any issues or questions you can log in to your account and send a message to a clinician.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.
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