Vasodilators or Nitrates

These medications help relax the blood vessels so blood flows more easily through the body. They relieve chest pain, by dilating coronary arteries. They help relieve congestion in the lungs by widening veins and decreasing the amount of blood returning to the heart. Vasodilators are given to treat heart failure for those who cannot take an ACE inhibitor or ARB.

Names of medicines in this group:

Hydralazine (Apresoline)
Isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil, Dilatrate-SR, Isochron)
Isosorbide mononitrate (Monoket, Ismo, Imdur)
Nitroglycerin
Ranolazine (Ranexa) – used to treat chest discomfort (angina) due to coronary artery disease (CAD).

Side effects include headache, numbness or tingling of the fingers or toes, flushing of face or neck, and skin rash.