NITRO-TIME- nitroglycerin capsule
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Nitroglycerin is 1,2,3-propanetriol trinitrate, an organic nitrate whose structural formula is:
The organic nitrates are vasodilators, active on both arteries and veins. Each Extended-Release Capsule, for oral administration contains 2.5 mg, 6.5 mg, or 9 mg of Nitroglycerin.
The inactive ingredients in each capsule are corn starch, ethylcellulose, gelatin, lactose monohydrate, pharmaceutical glaze, sugar, talc, and wax. Additionally the 2.5 mg capsule contains FD&C Blue #1, D&C Yellow #10, FD&C Red #40, D&C Red #28; the 6.5 mg capsule contains D&C Yellow #10, FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Blue #1, D&C Red #33; the 9 mg capsule contains D&C Yellow #10, FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Green #3, and titanium dioxide.
The principal pharmacological action of nitroglycerin is relaxation of vascular smooth muscle and consequent dilation of peripheral arteries and veins, especially the latter. Dilatation of the veins promotes peripheral pooling of blood and decreases venous return to the heart, thereby reducing left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (preload). Arteriolar relaxation reduces systemic vascular resistance, systolic arterial pressure, and mean arterial pressure (afterload). Dilatation of the coronary arteries also occurs. The relative importance of preload reduction, afterload reduction, and coronary dilatation remains undefined. Dosing regimens for most chronically used drugs are designed to provide plasma concentrations that are continuously greater than a minimally effective concentration. This strategy is inappropriate for organic nitrates. Several well-controlled clinical trials have used exercise testing to assess the anti-anginal efficacy of continuously-delivered nitrates. In the large majority of these trials, active agents were indistinguishable from placebo after 24 hours (or less) of continuous therapy. Attempts to overcome nitrate tolerance by dose escalation, even to doses far in excess of those used acutely, have consistently failed. Only after nitrates had been absent from the body for several hours was their anti-anginal efficacy restored.
Pharmacokinetics: The volume of distribution of nitroglycerin is about 3 L/kg, and nitroglycerin is cleared from this volume at extremely rapid rates, with a resulting serum half-life of about 3 minutes. The observed clearance rates (close to 1 L/kg/min) greatly exceed hepatic blood flow; known sites of extrahepatic metabolism include red blood cells and vascular walls.
The first products in the metabolism of nitroglycerin are inorganic nitrate, and the 1,2- and 1,3-dinitroglycerols. The dinitrates are less effective vasodilators than nitroglycerin, but they are longer-lived in the serum, and their net contribution to the overall effect of chronic nitroglycerin regimens is not known. The dinitrates are further metabolized to (non-vasoactive) mononitrates and, ultimately, to glycerol and carbon dioxide.
To avoid development of tolerance to nitroglycerin, drug-free intervals of 10-12 hours are known to be sufficient; shorter intervals have not been well studied. In one well-controlled clinical trial, subjects receiving nitroglycerin appeared to exhibit a rebound or withdrawal effect, so that their exercise tolerance at the end of the daily drug-free interval was less than that exhibited by the parallel group receiving placebo.
Reliable assay techniques for plasma nitroglycerin levels have only recently become available, and studies using these techniques to define the pharmacokinetics of oral nitroglycerin preparations have not been reported. Published studies using older techniques provide results that often differ, in similar experimental settings, by an order of magnitude.
Clinical Trials: Controlled trials of single oral doses of nitroglycerin have demonstrated that nitroglycerin capsules can effectively reduce exercise-related angina for up to 5 hours. Anti-anginal activity is present about 1 hour after ingestion of a capsule.
Controlled trials of multiple-dose oral nitroglycerin have shown statistically significant anti-anginal efficacy 2½ and 4 hours after a dose when oral nitroglycerin had been administered four times a day for 2 weeks or three times a day for 1 week. As noted above, careful studies with other formulations of nitroglycerin have shown that maintenance of continuous 24-hour plasma levels of nitroglycerin results in insurmountable tolerance. Presumably, the studied 1-week and 2-week regimens of oral nitroglycerin therapy achieved adequate nitrate-free intervals by non-uniformity of dosing interval, with longer intervals overnight. The investigators did not report how subjects interpreted their dosing instructions, and they similarly did not report which dose of the day was the one after which they obtained the end-of-trial exercise results.
Thus, these studies of oral nitroglycerin should not be interpreted as demonstrations that these regimens provide round-the-clock anti-anginal protection. From large, well-controlled studies of other nitroglycerin formulations, it is reasonable to believe that the maximal achievable daily duration of anti-anginal effect from Nitroglycerin Extended-Release Capsules is about 12 hours.
In some controlled trials of other organic nitrate formulations, efficacy has declined with time. Because the controlled, multiple-dose trials of oral nitroglycerin did not include exercise tests before the last day of treatment, it is not known how the efficacy of Nitroglycerin Extended-Release Capsules may vary during extended therapy.
Nitroglycerin Extended-Release Capsules are indicated for the prevention of angina pectoris due to coronary artery disease. The onset of action of oral nitroglycerin is not sufficiently rapid for this product to be useful in aborting an acute anginal episode.
Allergic reactions to organic nitrates are extremely rare, but they do occur. Nitroglycerin is contraindicated in patients who are allergic to it.
The benefits of oral nitroglycerin in patients with acute myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure have not been established. If one elects to use nitroglycerin in these conditions, careful clinical or hemodynamic monitoring must be used to avoid the hazards of hypotension and tachycardia.
Because the effects of capsules are so difficult to terminate rapidly, they are not recommended in these settings.
General: Severe hypotension, particularly with upright posture, may occur with even small doses of nitroglycerin. This drug should therefore be used with caution in patients who may be volume depleted or who, for whatever reason, are already hypotensive. Hypotension induced by nitroglycerin may be accompanied by paradoxical bradycardia and increased angina pectoris.
Nitrate therapy may aggravate the angina caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
As tolerance to other forms of nitroglycerin develops, the effect of sublingual nitroglycerin on exercise tolerance, although still observable, is somewhat blunted.
In industrial workers who have had long-term exposure to unknown (presumably high) doses of organic nitrates, tolerance clearly occurs. Chest pain, acute myocardial infarction, and even sudden death have occurred during temporary withdrawal of nitrates from these workers, demonstrating the existence of true physical dependence.
Some clinical trials in angina patients have provided nitroglycerin for about 12 continuous hours of every 24-hour day. During the nitrate-free intervals in some of these trials, anginal attacks have been more easily provoked than before treatment, and patients have demonstrated hemodynamic rebound and decreased exercise tolerance. The importance of these observations to the routine, clinical use of oral nitroglycerin is not known.
Information for Patients: Daily headaches sometimes accompany treatment with nitroglycerin. In patients who get these headaches, the headaches are a marker of the activity of the drug. Patients should resist the temptation to avoid headaches by altering the schedule of their treatment with nitroglycerin, since loss of headache is likely to be associated with simultaneous loss of anti-anginal efficacy.
Treatment with nitroglycerin may be associated with lightheartedness on standing, especially just after rising from a recumbent or seated position. This effect may be more frequent in patients who have also consumed alcohol.
Drug Interactions: The vasodilating effects of nitroglycerin may be additive with those of other vasodilators. Alcohol, in particular, has been found to exhibit additive effects of this variety.
Marked symptomatic orthostatic hypotension has been reported when calcium channel blockers and organic nitrates were used in combination. Dose adjustments of either class of agents may be necessary,
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility: Studies to evaluate the carcinogenic or mutagenic potential of Nitroglycerin have not been performed. Nitroglycerin’s effect upon reproductive capacity is similarly unknown.
Pregnancy category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with nitroglycerin. It is also not known whether nitroglycerin can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or whether it can affect reproductive capacity. Nitroglycerin should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether nitroglycerin is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when nitroglycerin is administered to a nursing woman.
Pediatric Use: Safety and effectiveness in children have not been established.
Geriatric Use: Clinical studies of Nitroglycerin Extended-release Capsules did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
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