Vasodilators: types, side effects and considerations

Vasodilators refer to drugs that dilate blood vessels. When blood vessels dilate, the load from the heart to pump blood through the blood vessels decreases, which lowers blood pressure. Therefore, vasodilators are prescribed as treatments for hypertension and congestive heart failure.

While taking vasodilators, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as a diet that is good for the heart, exercise, and stress management to lower blood pressure.

Types of vasodilators

  • ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors)
    • These drugs inhibit the production of angiotensin II, which causes vasoconstriction, which causes more blood to flow through the circulatory system, thereby overburdening the heart. To reduce.
  • Angiotensin 2 receptor blockers
    • These drugs have similar effects to ACE inhibitors, but play a role through a different mechanism. Instead of blocking the production of angiotensin 2, the systemic blood vessels are connected.
    • It reduces the burden on the heart by blocking neurotransmitters that enter the angiotensin 2 receptor in the smooth muscles.
  • Alpha blockers
    • These drugs also reduce the excessive burden on the heart by inhibiting the influx of alpha receptors or neurotransmitters into the central nervous system.
  • Calcium channel blockers
    • These drugs reduce the burden on the heart by blocking the influx of calcium ions, which induce vasoconstriction.
  • Nitrates
    • These drugs relax the smooth muscles around the coronary blood vessels, facilitating the introduction of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
  • Thiazide diuretics
    • These drugs are one of four types of diuretics (loop, potassium-sparing, osmotic, thiazide) that stimulate urine production in the kidneys to remove unnecessary body fluids and minerals such as potassium from the body.
    • Low-dose thiazidde diuretics can also be used as vasodilators.

Most vasodilators reduce blood pressure to some extent by expanding blood vessels, and doctors select and prescribe drugs according to the patient’s medical history, recent symptoms, and related conditions.

Side effects of vasodilators


  • Allergic reactions (sneezing, itching, skin spots, respiratory congestion)
  • Hypotension
  • Palpitation
  • Dizziness
  • Arrhythmia
  • Dry cough
  • Syncope
  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Drowsiness, weakness, fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Increased sensitivity to sun (photosensitivity) and increased sunburn or rash
  • Back pain or joint pain
  • Frequent abnormal bleeding such as nosebleeds

Considerations before taking vasodilators

Substances that can cause hypotension when taken, such as vasodilators

  • Hypertensive drugs
  • Alcohol (acts to dilate blood vessels)
  • Grape juice prevents the liver from removing vasodilators and other drugs that have ended its role, causing excessive accumulation of vasodilators in the body.

Substances that can cause high blood pressure when taken with vasodilators


  • Narcotics as a treatment for pain
  • Nicotine
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

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