Nitric oxide donor drugs: current status and future trends

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2002 May;11(5):587-601. doi: 10.1517/13543784.11.5.587.


Nitric oxide synthesised in endothelial cells that line blood vessels has a wide range of functions that are vital for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Reduced nitric oxide availability is implicated in the initiation and progression of many cardiovascular diseases and delivery of supplementary nitric oxide to help prevent disease progression is an attractive therapeutic option. Nitric oxide donor drugs represent a useful means of systemic nitric oxide delivery and organic nitrates have been used for many years as effective therapies for symptomatic relief from angina. However, nitrates have limitations and a number of alternative nitric oxide donor classes have emerged since the discovery that nitric oxide is a crucial biological mediator. This review focuses on novel advances and possible future directions in nitric oxide donor drug development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Drug Design*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / chemistry*
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase