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Vasodilators treat a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure. Find out more about this class of medication.
Vasodilators are medications that open (dilate) blood vessels. They affect the muscles in the walls of your arteries and veins, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing.
As a result, blood flows more easily through your vessels. Your heart doesn't have to pump as hard, reducing your blood pressure.
Some drugs used to treat hypertension, such as calcium channel blockers — which prevent calcium from entering blood vessel walls — also dilate blood vessels. But the vasodilators that work directly on the vessel walls are hydralazine and minoxidil.
Doctors prescribe vasodilators to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in a variety of conditions, such as:
Direct vasodilators are strong medications that generally are used only when other medications haven't controlled your blood pressure adequately.
These medications have a number of side effects, some of which require taking other medications to counter.
Side effects include:
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