Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
About This Medicine
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine.
The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
What are some examples?
- benazepril (Lotensin)
- enalapril (Vasotec)
- lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
- ramipril (Altace)
This is not a complete list.
Why are ACE inhibitors used?
ACE inhibitors are used for many heart and blood vessel problems. For example, they may be used if you have:
- Coronary artery disease.
- Heart failure.
- High blood pressure.
- Kidney problems.
ACE inhibitors are safe and effective medicines that help you feel better and live longer. They can help prevent many heart and blood vessel problems.
What about side effects?
Side effects may include:
- A cough.
- Low blood pressure. This can make you feel dizzy or weak.
- Too much potassium in your body.
- Swelling of your lips, tongue, or face. If the swelling is severe, you may need treatment right away. Severe swelling can make it hard to breathe, but this is rare.
You may have other side effects or reactions not listed here. Check the information that comes with your medicine.
General information about side effects
All medicines can cause side effects. Many people don't have side effects. And minor side effects sometimes go away after a while.
But sometimes side effects can be a problem or can be serious.
If you're having problems with side effects, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change to a different medicine.
Always be sure you get specific information on the medicine you're taking. For a full list of side effects, check the information that came with the medicine you're using. If you have questions, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
What are some cautions about ACE inhibitors?
- ACE inhibitors can cause a dry cough. Talk to your doctor if you have a dry cough. You may need a different medicine.
- These medicines can cause an allergic reaction. This can cause a little swelling. Or it can cause red bumps on your skin that hurt. In rare cases, the swelling may make it hard for you to breathe.
- Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use any other medicines. This includes over-the-counter medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines, vitamins, herbal products, and supplements you take. Taking some medicines together can cause problems.
- You may need regular blood tests.
General cautions for all medicines
- Allergic reactions.
- All medicines can cause a reaction. This can sometimes be an emergency. Before you take any new medicine, tell the doctor or pharmacist about any past allergic reactions you've had.
- Drug interactions.
- Sometimes one medicine may keep another medicine from working well. Or you may get a side effect you didn't expect. Medicines may also interact with certain foods or drinks, like grapefruit juice and alcohol. Some interactions can be dangerous.
- Harm during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding, ask your doctor or pharmacist if all the medicines you take are safe.
- Other health problems.
- Before taking a medicine, be sure your doctor or pharmacist knows about all your health problems. The medicine for one health problem may affect another health problem.
Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the medicines you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. That information will help prevent serious problems.
Always be sure you get specific information on the medicine you're taking. For a full list of warnings, check the information that came with the medicine you're using. If you have questions, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
Current as of: April 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.