Medicine (MD/DO)
Antihypertensive Agents

Master Hydralazine with Picmonic for Medicine

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.


Recommended Picmonics

picmonic thumbnail
Hypertension Intervention
picmonic thumbnail
Hypertension Medications
picmonic thumbnail
ACE Inhibitors
picmonic thumbnail
ACE Inhibitor Toxicity
picmonic thumbnail
Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)


Hydralazine is a vasodilator that helps to relax smooth muscle and decrease peripheral resistance, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce afterload. This drug increases cyclic GMP levels, leading to smooth muscle relaxation, and ultimately, arteriodilation with a slight amount of venodilation. Thus, hydralazine directly relaxes arteriolar muscle to treat severe hypertension and CHF, and is often combined with methyldopa to treat hypertension in pregnancy. Side effects of hydralazine use include drug-induced lupus and up to 95% of patients with this affliction will display anti-histone antibodies. Furthermore, this medication can cause reflex tachycardia due to the drug's sudden pressor actions, and it is often co-administered with a β-blocker to prevent this.
Reduce Afterload
Down-arrow After-load Heart-pump

Hydralazine relaxes smooth muscle and preferentially vasodilates arterioles, creating an afterload reduction. It is indicated in diseases where there is cardiac failure or excess systemic resistance.

Severe Hypertension
Severed Hiker-BP

Hydralazine is used clinically to treat severe hypertension, however it is not indicated for essential hypertension. It is also a first-line treatment for hypertension during pregnancy (combined with methyldopa).

Safe during Pregnancy
Pregnant-lady inside Safe

Hydralazine is indicated for hypertension during pregnancy along with methlydopa.

CHF Heart-balloon

Along with severe hypertension, hydralazine can be used to treat CHF.

Increases cGMP
Up-arrow cycle-GraMP

While the mechanism of action of hydralazine is not completely understood, it is thought to work by increasing cyclic GMP levels, which ultimately inhibits contraction in smooth muscle and leads to blood vessel relaxation.

Vasodilates Arterioles
Vase-dyed with Artery-O's

Increases in cyclic GMP levels and inhibition of smooth muscle contraction leads to greater vasodilation of arterioles than veins.

Drug-induced Lupus
Loopy Pill-butterfly

Drug-induced lupus, an autoimmune response caused by chronic use of some drugs, may be seen as a side effect. Patients will likely display anti-histone antibodies.

Reflex Tachycardia
Reflex-hammer Tac-heart-card

Reflex tachycardia is a possible side effect, which occurs as a compensatory response to sudden decreased blood pressure to maintain cardiac output. Hydralazine is often coadministered with a beta-blocker to prevent this. Hydralazine is contraindicated in angina and CAD, and can cause angina.


Take the Hydralazine Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Ace Your Medicine (MD/DO) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 1,910,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Medicine (MD/DO) student study app.

Picmonic for Medicine (MD/DO) covers information that is relevant to your entire Medicine (MD/DO) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, COMLEX Level 1, or COMLEX Level 2, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Medicine (MD/DO) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.