Nitroglycerin overdose

Nitroglycerin poisoning occurs when an overdose of nitroglycerin (used as medication to open coronary blood vessels) has been swallowed.

Poisonous Ingredient 


Where Found 

Nitroglycerin in solid (tablet) form:

  • Tridil  
  • Nitro-Bid  
  • Nitrostat  
  • Nitrolingual  
  • Nitrogard  
  • Nitrong  
  • Nitrocine  
  • Nitroglyn  
  • Minitran  
  • Nitro-Dur  
  • Transderm-Nitro  
  • Deponit  
  • Nitrodisc  
  • Nitrol

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • Body as a whole       o Coma       o Confusion       o Death       o Dizziness       o Fainting       o Flushing       o headache  
  • Respiratory       o Shortness of breath       o Slow breathing  
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o Difficulty seeing  
  • Skin       o Bluish color to lips and fingernails       o Cold  
  • Gastrointestinal       o diarrhea       o Cramping       o Loss of appetite       o nausea and Vomiting  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Low Blood pressure       o Heart palpitations       o Rapid heartbeat or slow heartbeat  
  • Nervous system       o Convulsions

Home Treatment 
DO NOT induce Vomiting.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • Patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • When it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
Call Poison Control or your local emergency number - they will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. If possible, take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Administering activated charcoal  
  • Administering a laxative  
  • Emptying the stomach (gastric lavage)  
  • Administering artificial respiration (breathing)  
  • Maintaining adequate respiration rate  
  • Treating the symptoms

Expectations (prognosis) 
Deaths have occurred, but are rare.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.