nitroglycerin rectal ointment

nitroglycerin rectal ointment

(nye-tro-gli-ser-in) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: vasodilators
Pharmacologic: nitrates
Pregnancy Category: C


Moderate to severe pain associated with chronic anal fissure.


Forms nitric oxide which activates the enzyme guanylate cyclase causing increased guanosine 3', 5' monophospahte (cyclic GMP). This produces vasodilation. Also reduces sphincter tone and resting intra-anal pressure.

Therapeutic effects

Decreased pain associated with chronic anal fissure.


Absorption: 50% absorbed following intra-anal applications.
Distribution: Unk.
Metabolism and Excretion: Mostly metabolized by the liver; some extra-hepatic metabolism (red blood cells, vascular walls).
Half-life: 2–3 min.

Time/action profile

Rectunkunk12 hr


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to nitrates, nitrites, nitroglycerin or any other ointment components ;Increased intracranial pressure;Concurrent use of sildenafil, tadalafil or varndenafil;Severe anemia.
Use Cautiously in: Volume depletion, hypotension, cardiomyopathy, HF, acute MI, or poor cardiac function due to other causes (may ↓ venous return, arterial resistance and BP);Concurrent use of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) therapy; Geriatric: ↑ sensitivity to nitrates and ↑ risk of hypotension; Obstetric: Use during pregnancy only if potential maternal benefit justifies potential fetal risk; Lactation: Effects are not known, use cautiously; Pediatric: Safe and effective use in children <18 yr not established.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • headache (most frequent)
  • dizziness


  • hypotension


  • methemoglobinemia (rare)


  • allergic reactions (rare)


Drug-Drug interaction

Concurrent use with sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil ↑ risk of hypotension and is contraindicated.Concurrent use with antihypertensives, beta blockers, other nitrates, alcohol or aspirin (500–1000 mg) may ↑ risk of hypotension.Beta blockers may ↓ reflex tachycardia from nitroglycerin.May ↓ levels and effectiveness of t-PA.May ↓ effectiveness of heparin.May ↑ levels and risk of adverse cardiovascular reactions with ergotamine.


Rectal (Adults) Apply one inch of ointment intra-anally every 12 hr for up to three weeks.


Ointment: 0.4% in 30 g tubes

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess anal fissure and amount of pain periodically during therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Chronic pain (Indications)


  • Topical: Using plastic wrap, a disposable surgical glove, or finger cot, apply 1 inch of ointment intra-anally every 12 hrs. Dose is determined by laying covered finger alongside 1 inch dosing line on carton. Gently insert covered finger into anal canal no further than first finger joint and apply ointment around the side of the anal canal. If not possible due to pain, apply ointment directly to outside of anus. May continue treatment for up to 3 wks. Close tube tightly. Use within 8 wks of opening. Wash hands after application.
    • Not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to use nitroglycerin ointment as directed. Notify health care professional if anal pain does not improve.
  • Inform patient that nitroglycerin ointment may cause headache. Advise patient not to alter schedule due to headache; tolerance develops. May take an analgesic, such as acetaminophen to treat headache.
  • May cause dizziness. Caution patient to avoid driving or other activities requiring alertness until response to medication is known.
  • Advise patient to stop medication and notify health care professional immediately if signs of allergic reaction (swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing) occur.
  • Caution patient to change positions slowly to prevent orthostatic hypotension. Avoid drinking alcohol; may increase orthostatic hypotension.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and to consult with health care professional before taking other medications, especially medications for erectile dysfunction; may increase hypotensive effects.
  • Advise female patients to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breastfeeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • ↓ pain associated with chronic anal fissure.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners