ACE inhibitors

ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and make it easier for your heart to pump blood. This can help to relieve symptoms caused by poor pumping of your heart like breathlessness and swelling. ACE inhibitors can help to manage conditions like high blood pressure and heart failure.

Types of ACE inhibitors

  • cilazapril e.g. Zapril, Cilazapril-AFT
  • quinapril e.g. Arrow-Quinapril, Accupril
  • enalapril e.g. Enalapril (Ethics), DP-Enalapril, Renitec M
  • captopril e.g. Capoten
  • lisinopril e.g. Lisinopril (Ethics), Arrow-Lisinopril
  • perindopril erbumine e.g. Apo-Perindopril 
  • trandoloapril e.g. Gopten

The ACE inhibitors are also commonly prescribed in combination with thiazide diuretics

  • cilazapril/hydrochlorothiazide e.g. Apo-Cilazapril/hydrochlorothiazide
  • enalapril + hydrochlorothiazide e.g. Co-Renitec
  • quinapril + hydrochlorothiazide e.g. Accuretic

How do they work?

ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure by relaxing and widening your blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood.

What's the catch?

You may experience some unwanted effects when taking an ACE inhibitor. These can include:

  • a dry irritating cough
  • swollen face, lips or mouth
  • sudden wheeziness or problems breathing
  • a rash or itching
  • metallic taste in the mouth or dizziness.

If you experience any of these unwanted effects, you may like to talk to your doctor about changing your medication.

What checks do I need?

You may need regular monitoring with a blood test every few months.  Talk to your GP or nurse about this.

What should I look out for?

The first dose of an ACE inhibitor can cause an acute drop in blood pressure (especially if you also take a diuretic), so you may like sit down while taking your first dose.

You may experience high potassium levels, which can lead to difficulty breathing, weakness, confusion, palpitations, sudden nervousness, or swelling. If you experience any of these, let your doctor know immediately.

A lot of people may not experience these unwanted effects or the effects may go away with time. If you do experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, you may like to talk to your doctor about changing your medication. 

Related treatments and conditions

Blood pressureHeart failureWhat is my risk of heart attack or stroke?

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