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ACE inhibitors

Ace inhibitors are commonly prescribed blood pressure and heart tablets. ACE stands for angiotensin converting enzyme.

Common examples of ACE inhibitors are enalapril, lisinopril, perindopril and ramipril.

These drugs work by blocking the action of some hormones involved in blood pressure management in the body. This in turn relaxes blood vessels and improves the amount of blood pumped by the heart and lowers blood pressure.

Increasing blood flow means the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. ACE inhibitors also help protect the kidneys from the damaging effects of high blood pressure and diabetes.

ACE inhibitors may also be prescribed for people with heart failure and after a person has had a heart attack.

What are the possible side-effects of ACE Inhibitors?

Seek medical advice if you are concerned about side-effects, which may include:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Red, itchy skin rash
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint
  • Salty or metallic taste in the mouth
  • Being less able to taste things
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen feet, ankles and lower legs
  • Unusual bruising
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain - this needs urgent medical advice
  • Swelling of the neck, face, and tongue - this is a medical emergency
  • Kidney failure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • High potassium levels - these will be monitored with blood tests as this can cause confusion, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, numbness or tingling in hands, feet or lips, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, weakness or heaviness in legs.

ACE inhibitors can interact with other medications, including over-the-counter products and supplements. Seek medical advice before taking anything not already prescribed for you when taking ACE inhibitors.

ACE inhibitors are not suitable during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Seek medical advice if you have any other symptoms that cause concern.

Guidelines for taking ACE inhibitors

Always take medicines as directed by the doctor. Don't stop taking any medication without talking to your doctor first.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 10, 2016

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