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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Nitropress

Generic Name: nitroprusside (Pronunciation: nye troe PRUS ide)

What is nitroprusside (Nitropress)?

Nitroprusside is a vasodilator that works by relaxing the muscles in your blood vessels to help them dilate (widen). This lowers blood pressure and allows blood to flow more easily through your veins and arteries.

Nitroprusside is used to treat congestive heart failure and life-threatening high blood pressure (hypertension). Nitroprusside is also used to keep blood pressure low during a surgery.

Nitroprusside may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of nitroprusside (Nitropress)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • feeling like you might pass out, even while lying down;
  • gasping, struggling to breathe, or shallow breathing;
  • confusion, ringing in your ears;
  • dizziness with nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, seizure (convulsions);
  • fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;
  • numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs; or
  • chills, sweating, tremors, twitching, overactive reflexes.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild skin rash;
  • mild stomach pain or nausea;
  • warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin;
  • darkening or deeper color of veins through your skin; or
  • irritation around the IV needle.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about nitroprusside (Nitropress)?

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to nitroprusside, or if you have hereditary vision loss (Leber's disease), vision problems caused by smoking, or a history of blood clot in your brain.

Before receiving nitroprusside, tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, anemia (a lack of red blood cells), a seizure disorder, or a history of head injury or brain tumor.

In an emergency situation it may not be possible before you are treated to tell your caregivers about your health conditions or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows that you have received this medication.

Tell your caregivers right away if you have a serious side effect such as breathing problems, tremors or twitching, numbness or cold feeling in your arms and legs, confusion, ringing in your ears, or feeling like you might pass out.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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