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Living With Angina

Living With Angina: Knowing Your Medicines

If you are living with angina, you should know:
  • What angina medicines you are taking
  • The purpose of each medication
  • How and when to take them
  • The possible side effects.
It is important that you know exactly when and how to take fast-acting nitroglycerin or other nitrates to relieve chest pain. These medications should be taken:
  • Immediately when pain begins or before stressful activity.
  • When you experience chest discomfort or pain, sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. If your chest discomfort or pain doesn't improve within 5 minutes, or if it gets worse, call 911 immediately.
  • While sitting -- always sit down before taking nitroglycerin.
Long-acting nitrate preparations should be used regularly as prescribed by your doctor.
Men with impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction or ED) who take medication for the condition should talk with their doctor. Taking these impotence medications and nitroglycerin or other nitrates within 24 hours of each other can cause serious problems. Examples of ED medications include:
Ask your doctor about any other medicines you might be taking.

Living With Angina: Knowing How to Control Your Angina

After several episodes, you will know the level of activity, stress, and other things that can bring on an angina attack. By knowing this, you can take steps to prevent or lessen the severity of the episodes.
Physical Exertion
Know what level of activity brings on your angina, and try to stop and rest before chest pain starts. For example, if walking up a flight of stairs leads to chest pain, stop halfway and rest before continuing. When chest pains occurs during exertion, stop and rest or take your angina medicine. The pain should go away in a few minutes. If the pain does not go away or lasts longer than usual, call 911 and get emergency care.
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