Combined use of nitroglycerin and N-acetylcysteine in the management of unstable angina pectoris.
The vasodilator effects of nitroglycerin (NTG) are mediated via activation of guanylate cyclase; this process is believed to require the availability of free sulfhydryl groups. Previous studies in man have shown that the sulfhydryl donor N-acetylcysteine (NAC) potentiates the systemic and coronary vasodilator effects of NTG. Furthermore, interaction of NTG and NAC may lead to the formation of S-nitroso-NAC, which strongly inhibits platelet aggregation. The effects of intravenous NTG combined with intravenous NAC (5 g 6 hourly) were compared with those of intravenous NTG alone in a double-blind trial in 46 patients with severe unstable angina pectoris unresponsive to conventional treatment, which included calcium antagonists and cutaneous nitrates in all but one patient. Treatment with NTG/NAC (24 patients) and that with NTG alone (22 patients) was associated with a similar frequency of episodes of chest pain and of increments in NTG infusion rate for pain control (10 vs 17; p = NS). The NTG/NAC group had a significantly lower incidence of acute myocardial infarction than the NTG/placebo group (three vs 10 patients; p = .013). Symptomatic hypotension occurred frequently in the NTG/NAC group (seven vs 0 patients; p = .006). Lactate-pyruvate ratios and venous NTG concentrations were not significantly affected by NAC. Subsequently, another 20 consecutive patients were treated with intravenous NTG and continuously infused NAC (10 g/day). Seven remained pain free during the first 24 hr of NTG infusion; 11 required increments in NTG infusion rate for pain control. Acute myocardial infarction occurred in one patient, while none developed symptomatic hypotension.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association