Nitrate Drugs: Working Mechanism, Forms, Side Effects, And Interactions

Nitrate Drugs

Nitrate Drugs

Some commonly used Nitrate drugs are Nitrostat, Nitrolingual Pumpsprapy, Nitro-Bid, Isordil, Nitropress, Sodium Nitroprusside, Ricociguat, Amyl Nitrate, Nitromist, etc. The main purpose of prescription is to reduce the negative symptoms and effects of angina, chest pain, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and other such heart or blood pressure abnormalities. To be more specific, Nitrate drugs help in bringing about the blood flow in the arteries back to its normal rate. 

1. Working Mechanism

Nitrate drugs are known to broaden/dilate the blood vessels by increasing their diameter due to some inside pressure. This effect in the body is known as vasodilation and nitrate drugs come under the category of vasodilatory medication.

Due to the dilation of blood vessels, blood is allowed to flow more smoothly and with lesser disruptions that can arise in clogged arteries. Heart pain, scientifically known as Angina Pectoris, occurs mainly due to insufficient blood supply (as it carries oxygen) to the heart muscles.

The blood in the bloodstream that pumps throughout the body via the veins is supposed to always cross the heart and the lungs for one complete cycle. The high pressure in the arteries then takes in this blood. This backbone of this entire process is the heart. The heart muscles can only play their role if they are pumped with energy, that is via the oxygen/blood.

Nitrate medication is responsible for a greater flow of blood and oxygen to the heart due to the dilation of the blood vessels and arteries. This is how the heart can continue its crucial operation. Also, when the veins are dilated, lesser blood travels to the heart but the pressure in the arteries is also lowered. Due to this cycle, the heart takes less effort while also needing low amounts of blood and oxygen.

2. Forms

The most common forms of nitrate drugs available for consumption are:

  • Topical ointments
  • Sublingual spray that is applied beneath the tongue
  • Sublingual pills that are kept under the tongue
  • Transdermal patches that release the ingredients within your skin
  • Isosorbide dinitrate/mononitrate can be consumed as instant and delayed-release tablets

3. Side Effects

Before reading about the side effects of nitrate drugs, one must be share that they do not / have not had any of the following diseases or disorders in their medical history. Aortic Stenosis, Constrictive Pericarditis, Mitral Stenosis, Obstructive Cardiomyopathy, Closed-angle Glaucoma, Erectile Dysfunction, Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (also known as Prostate Enlargement), etc.

The medicines prescribed for these issues never go hand in hand with nitrate and extra side effects are assured. To avoid the occurrence of any fatal incidents, such overlapping medical prescriptions must be avoided. 

Common side effects of nitrate drugs:

  • Throbbing headache followed by dizziness and uneasiness while standing
  • If the spray is applied beneath the tongue, mild itching, burning, and irritation on the application site can take place
  • Light-headedness can occur due to a sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Facial flushing and redness of the skin
  • Low blood pressure if these drugs are consumed unnecessarily or in excess amounts
  • Arrhythmia – it is a condition that leads to irregular heart rhythms

4. Drug Interactions

The medicines used to overcome ED function by lowering the blood pressure in the arteries connected to other parts of the body focuses moreover on increasing blood flow to the penis. If nitrates are consumed at the same time, then both the medicines perform the same task of relaxing the muscles where the dilation of blood vessels needs to take place.

Viagra consumption already reduces blood pressure in the upper 3/4th section of the body. Consuming nitrates at the same time further reduces the blood pressure in the abdomen and the heart muscles. This puts an individual at severe risk of a heart attack or complete heart failure. 

Would you not be devastated if you survived the heart attack and realized that this whole situation arose due to your irresponsible outlook on the medicines you were prescribed? Even worse – how would it feel like to be a victim of a heart attack while you are indulging in sexual activity? I bet no one in the world would want to be in such a situation. 

4.1. Critical Stenosis

This is a critical condition that can arise in the arteries. Basically, the arteries are narrowed down to such a ridiculous extent, that it can lead to on-the-spot death. There is a section in the heart known as the distal vascular bed that suffers a huge reduction in size from its maximum capacity.

This process is periodic and happens over a period of time. One day you will realize that you are feeling less better than the previous day, with every passing day. Mild dizziness will kick in, dullness, weakness, nauseous feelings, and you would have a low overall energy level that makes you incapable of performing the most generic of day-to-day tasks. Excess plaque gets collected in the arteries.

This plaque primarily comprises of fatty elements and leads to a severe amount of clogging in the arteries. Due to this, blood and oxygen supply to the heart is reduced.

Such incidents call for immediate admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or an Emergency Room (ER) as the situation is considered as an ‘out of hand’ scenario.

4.2. Sildenafil 

Sildenafil is the active ingredient present in Viagra pills. All these ED pills (Levitra, Cialis, and Viagra) come under the category of PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors. Side effects of these pills usually range from lower back pain to nasal congestion to minor headaches.

But, consuming these at the same time as Viagra could be considered as an act where you are digging your own grave. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has time and again cautioned humans about mixing PDE-5 inhibitors with nitrate drugs. 

Ideally, you must read-up on your prescription medication and ensure that none of them would interact with your existing medicines in a negative manner. If you are too busy or not interested in doing the research yourself, then make sure that all your medicines are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional.

The healthcare professional would inform you of any drug interactions and also give you recommendations as to different dosage cycles and alternative drugs that impart the least side effects.