As of December 2014, three generic classes of drugs contain nitrates: isosorbide dinitrate, isosorbide mononitrate and nitroglycerin, according to WebMD. Three brand names of drugs have isosorbide mononitrate as the active ingredient, while five contain isosorbide dinitrate, and 16 have nitroglycerin, notes Drugs.com.
Examples of nitrogylcerin brand names include Nitro-Dur, Rectiv, Transderm-Nitro, Minitran and NitroMist. Brand names such as Isochron, Isordil Titradose, IsoDitrate and Dilatrate-SR contain isosorbide dinitrate. Meanwhile, drugs called Ismo, Imdur and Monoket all contain isosorbide mononitrate, according to Drugs.com. All of these medications manage angina by improving blood flow to the covering of the heart, by reducing the heart's metabolic demand, or both. Nitrates are vasodilators, which means they work by opening blood vessels wider.
Nitroglycerin is taken as a pill or a liquid spray to alleviate symptoms. A skin patch or paste is used to prevent angina in the future, notes WebMD. Erection-enhancing medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil should not be taken if a patient takes nitrates, because when combined, these medicines may produce a sudden and dangerous drop in blood pressure. Common side effects of nitrate medications include dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, nausea and a warm feeling in the face or neck. The benefits of nitrates usually outweigh minor side effects associated with these medications.