European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 245-249

First online:

Circulatory effects of sublingual and oral sustained-release nitroglycerin in healthy young men

  • G. NybergAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Östra Hospital
  • , H. WestlingAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Physiology

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The effects on heart rate and blood pressure during standing, and on plethysmographic arterial pulsation in the calf, of nitroglycerin 0.5 mg sublingually, 6.5 mg orally and a placebo tablet were studied for up to 8 h. Sublingual nitroglycerin increased heart rate and arterial pulsation; the peak height and duration of these effects occurred at slightly different times. Oral nitroglycerin had no effect on heart rate but did increase pulsations as compared to placebo. In the orthostatic test, heart rate and pulse amplitude were affected by both forms of administration. Comparing the areas-under-curve for these variables for the two forms suggested that, in comparison with sublingual nitroglycerin, about 1/3 of the oral nitroglycerin was biologically effective over 8 h. Pulse plethysmography appeared to be the most sensitive method for “bioassay” of nitroglycerin.

Key words

nitroglycerin sublingual oral heart rate blood pressure arterial pulse plethysmography