Heart Failure and Blood Vessel Dilators

Medically Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on June 30, 2023
2 min read

Medicines that make your blood vessels get wider are called vasodilators. They’re used to treat heart failure and control high blood pressure because they cause your blood vessels to relax so that all-important fluid can flow more easily through your body.

Examples of vasodilators include:

Follow the label to find out how often you should take them. Make it at evenly spaced times, with meals, while you are awake.

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

Headache; rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeat; numbness or tingling of the fingers or toes; lightheadedness or passing out; loss of appetite; and diarrhea: Your doctor probably will prescribe more medicine to control these. If they linger or are severe, talk to your doctor.

Upset stomach, flushing of face or neck: Call your doctor if these side effects hang around or get serious.

If you get any of these, contact your doctor right away:

  • While taking them, have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Keep all appointments with your medical team so they can see if the medicine is working.
  • Don’t drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • Do not take vasodilators if you are taking medication for erectile dysfunction (such as Viagra), as your blood pressure can drop dangerously and lead to death.