Sodium Nitroprusside Chemical Formula: All You Need To Know

Sodium Nitroprusside SNP Antihypertensive Drug Molecule. Skeletal


Sodium Nitroprusside (SNP) is a chemical compound that has been used for several decades in the medical field as a vasodilator. It is a salt made up of sodium, iron, and cyanide ions. SNP has a chemical formula of Na2[Fe(CN)5NO], and it is commonly used to treat hypertension and certain heart conditions. In this article, we will explore the chemical formula of sodium nitroprusside and its various applications.

Chemical Formula of Sodium Nitroprusside

The chemical formula of sodium nitroprusside is Na2[Fe(CN)5NO]. The compound has two sodium ions (Na+) and one complex ion made up of iron (Fe), cyanide (CN), and nitric oxide (NO). The iron atom in the complex ion has a +2 oxidation state, while the nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the nitric oxide molecule have -2 and +2 oxidation states, respectively.

Structure of Sodium Nitroprusside

Sodium nitroprusside has a crystalline structure, and it forms dark red crystals that are soluble in water. The iron atom in the complex ion is at the center of a octahedral structure, which is surrounded by five cyanide ions and one nitric oxide molecule. The two sodium ions are located outside the complex ion, and they are responsible for the compound’s solubility in water.

Medical Applications of Sodium Nitroprusside

Sodium nitroprusside is a potent vasodilator that is used to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. It works by relaxing the smooth muscles in the blood vessels, which leads to an increase in blood flow and a decrease in blood pressure. SNP is also used to treat certain heart conditions, including heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.

Side Effects of Sodium Nitroprusside

While sodium nitroprusside is an effective medication, it can cause some side effects. In some cases, it can lead to hypotension (low blood pressure), which can cause dizziness, fainting, and even shock. It can also cause cyanide toxicity, which is a rare but serious side effect that can lead to seizures, coma, and even death. Patients who receive sodium nitroprusside must be closely monitored for these side effects.

Other Applications of Sodium Nitroprusside

In addition to its medical applications, sodium nitroprusside has other uses. It is used in chemical analysis as a reagent to detect the presence of sulfides, and it is also used in the food industry as a color stabilizer for meats and fish.

Environmental Concerns

Sodium nitroprusside can have harmful effects on the environment if it is not disposed of properly. Cyanide is a toxic compound that can have serious environmental impacts, including contamination of water sources and harm to aquatic life. It is important to dispose of sodium nitroprusside and other cyanide-containing compounds in accordance with local regulations.


Sodium nitroprusside is a chemical compound with a unique structure and several important medical applications. Its chemical formula, Na2[Fe(CN)5NO], reflects its complex composition, which includes iron, cyanide, nitric oxide, and sodium ions. While it is an effective medication, it can cause serious side effects and environmental concerns if it is not used and disposed of properly. By understanding the chemical formula and properties of sodium nitroprusside, we can better appreciate its role in medicine and other fields.