Any of a class of drugs used to dilate the blood vessels by blocking the nerve impulses that normally excite the alpha receptors.

Alpha-adrenergic blockers

Brand/Generic Drug Names

Regitine/phentolamine, Dibenzyline/phenoxybenzamine, Cardura/doxazosin, Minipress/prazosin hydrochloride, Hytrin/terazosin hydrochloride
Common uses
moderate to severe essential hypertension, pheochromocytoma, prevention of tissue necrosis and sloughing after extravasation of IV vasopressors
bind to alpha-adrenergic receptors causing peripheral vasodilation; lower blood pressure by decreasing peripheral resistance
Class contraindications
allergies, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease
Class precautions
gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, hepatic disease, renal failure
antagonizes vasoconstrictive/hypertensive effects of epinephrine, increased antihypertensive effect of blood pressure medications
Adverse Reactions
hypotension, tachycardia, nasal congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, impotence, priapism, blurred vision, weakness
Additional Information
Assess sodium, potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide
Daily weights, intake and output
Tilts before initiating treatment, every 4 hours thereafter
Skin turgor, mucous membranes for hydration status
Administer with food or milk to prevent gastrointestinal side effects
Monitor for palpitations/fainting Assess therapeutic response: decreased blood pressure, increased peripheral pulses
Date of most recent Update
August 05, 2002
Further information is available in the writeup for the specific name(s) of this medication class

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