Vasodilators are not commonly used alone to treat ongoing high blood pressure because of the significant drop in blood pressure that they cause, which may lead to heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat - Robin Parks MS


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Vasodilator Drugs

Vasodilators are used to treat hypertension, heart failure and angina; however, some vasodilators are better suited than others for these indications. Some vasodilators that act primarily on resistance vessels (arterial dilators) are used for hypertension, and heart failure, and angina; however, reflex cardiac stimulation makes some arterial dilators unsuitable for angina.

Venous dilators are very effective for angina, and sometimes used for heart failure, but are not used as primary therapy for hypertension. Most vasodilator drugs are mixed (or balanced) vasodilators in that they dilate both arteries and veins and therefore can have wide application in hypertension, heart failure…

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 Vasodilator Drugs

Vasodilators are used to treat hypertension, heart failure and angina; however, some vasodilators are better suited than others for these indications.

List of vasodilators...


Summary of common vasodilators.


What are vasodilators, and how do they work (mechanism of action).


My personal view is that these medications are seriously underused. Nitrates have substantial benefits both for chronic stable coronary disease and for heart failure - James Januzzi MD

Hydralazine (Apresoline)

In current practice, oral hydralazine is used in essential hypertension refractory to other therapeutic agents. Studies comparing its effects as an add-on medication to multidrug treatment for hypertension have proved effective but not as efficacious as other multi-modal first-line therapies - Linda Herman

Phentolamine Mesylate

Well known in dental and endocrine circles but can be a skin saver when it comes to vasopressor extravasation - HWN

Natural Vasodilators

A strong natural vasodilator is nitrate, found in high concentrations in beets, spinach, and lettuce. After eating these vegetables, the saliva acts to convert the nitrate to nitrite. In the stomach, gastric acid produces nitric oxide from the nitrite. Nitric oxide signals the lining of the blood vessels to relax, and thereby expand or dilate.


Vasodilators are highly effective antihypertensive agents that dominated the management of hypertension in the 1950s and 1960s. However, treatment with these agents is associated with an unacceptable level of adverse reactions. With the advent of newer and better-tolerated antihypertensive agents, their use has declined dramatically. Many vasodilators can now be considered only of historical interest.

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