Learning About ACE Inhibitors

Skip Navigation

What are ACE inhibitors?

ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors are medicines that lower blood pressure. They stop the release of an enzyme. This enzyme makes your blood vessels smaller. Without it, your blood vessels relax and get bigger. This lowers your blood pressure.

These medicines also increase how much water and salt go into your urine. This also lowers blood pressure.

You may take this kind of medicine if you have high blood pressure. Or you may take it if you have heart problems, kidney problems, or diabetes.

If you have coronary artery disease, this medicine can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Examples

  • benazepril (Lotensin)
  • enalapril (Vasotec)
  • lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
  • ramipril (Altace)

This is not a complete list.

Possible 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.

What to know about taking this medicine

  • 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.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter P050 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About ACE Inhibitors".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.