Minitran Overdose

If you overdose on Minitran (nitroglycerin patch), you could develop symptoms such as a throbbing headache, heart palpitations, and vomiting. Treatment often consists of supportive care -- in particular, the raising of blood pressure through the administration of intravenous (IV) fluids. Leaving a single skin patch on for longer than the recommended time is unlikely to result in an overdose.

Can You Use Too Much Minitran?

Minitran™ (nitroglycerin patch) is a prescription skin patch approved for the prevention of chest pain (angina) due to coronary artery disease (also known as coronary heart disease). As with most medications, it is possible to use too much Minitran.
 

Effects of an Overdose

Known effects of an overdose with any nitroglycerin product, including Minitran, include:
 
  • Severe, throbbing headache
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting (signs of very low blood pressure)
  • A spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Feelings of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (heart palpitations)
  • Vision problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slow heart rate
  • Blue skin, a sign of methemoglobinemia
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Death.
  •  
Interestingly, leaving a Minitran patch on for longer than the recommended time (12 to 14 hours per day) is unlikely to result in an overdose. In fact, doing so will cause the body to become accustomed to Minitran, and the drug will no longer continue to be effective; this means chest pain will return.
 

Treatment for a Minitran Overdose

Treatment, if necessary, will involve supportive care, which consists of treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose. Of greatest importance, usually, is an effort to increase blood pressure. To do this, intravenous fluids can be very useful, but also can be dangerous in certain individuals with kidney failure or congestive heart failure.
 
For the treatment of methemoglobinemia, the treatment of choice is usually methylene blue, given intravenously (by IV). Methemoglobinemia is a condition in which the oxygen carried in the bloodstream cannot be released to the body's tissue normally. It can be serious if left untreated. 
 
It is important that you seek prompt medical attention if you believe that you or someone else may have overdosed on Minitran.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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