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Heart Failure Health Center

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Heart Failure and Blood Vessel Dilators

Medicines that cause blood vessels to dilate, or widen, are called vasodilators. They are used to treat heart failure and control high blood pressure because they cause blood vessels to relax so that blood can flow more easily through the body.

Vasodilators include:

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How Should I Take Vasodilators?

Follow the label directions on how often to take this medication. Take it at evenly spaced times, with meals, while you are awake.

The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses and how long you need to take the medication will depend on your condition.

What Side Effects Could I Experience?

Possible side effects of vasodilators can include:

  • Headache; rapid, irregular or pounding heartbeat; numbness or tingling of the fingers or toes; loss of appetite and diarrhea: Your doctor will probably prescribe additional medication to control these side effects. If these symptoms are persistent or severe, contact your doctor.
  • Upset stomach, flushing of face or neck: Contact your doctor if these side effects are persistent or severe.
  • Fever, joint or chest pain, sore throat, skin rash (especially on the face), unusual bleeding or bruising, weight gain, swelling of the ankles: Contact your doctor right away.

Other Guidelines for Vasodilators

  • While taking this drug, have your blood pressure checked regularly, as advised by your doctor.
  • Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory so that your response to the drug can be monitored.
  • This drug may cause dizziness. Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how this drug affects you.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on January 16, 2015

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