Dopamine is an effective drug in the management of acute congestive heart failure. Its beneficial action is due to both cardiovascular - peripheral vasodilation and positive inotropy - and renal effects. Dopexamine is one of the newer dopamine agonists. Like dopamine, however, it can only be administered intravenously, and its value in the chronic treatment of congestive heart failure is limited. For this reason, dopamine analogs were developed with oral bioavailability, including levodopa, fenoldopam and biopamine. Although both levodopa and fenoldopam have shown beneficial hemodynamic effects, these agents cannot be recommended for general use in patients with congestive heart failure. Levodopa frequently causes side effects, especially nausea, and fenoldopam induces an increase in neurohumoral activity, which limits its long-term efficacy. Ibopamine has vasodilatory, mild inotropic and diuretic properties and it lowers plasma norepinephrine levels. Since ibopamine is usually well tolerated, it appears to have the most interesting profile of these oral dopaminergic agents.