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ACE Inhibitors


Updated June 13, 2014


ACE Inhibitors are a commonly available and widely prescribed class of anti-high blood pressure medicine. Some ACE Inhibitors are also prescribed to patients

  • After a heart attack (lisinopril, captopril, ramipril)
  • To treat congestive heart failure (varies)
  • For kidney problems in diabetic patients (captopril)

How They Work:

ACE Inhibitors work in the lungs by blocking the conversion of a specific protein from its inactive to its active form. This protein, in its active form, can cause constriction of small blood vessels, called arterioles, and exhert various other effects which can raise blood pressure. By blocking the formation of this active protein, blood pressure is lowered over time.

Common Names:

Many different ACE Inhibitors are currently available. Though these drugs have different names, they are all the same type of drug, and they work in an identical way. ACE Inhibitors all end in -pril. Some commonly prescribed ACE Inhibitors include:

  • Captopril
  • Lisinopril
  • Enalapril
  • Benzapril
Other ACE Inhibitors are available, and not all ACE Inhibitors are sold in the United States. Please talk with your pharmacist if you have a question about the availability of a specific ACE Inhibitor.

Side Effects:

All medicines carry some risk of side effects. While side effects with ACE Inhibitors are generally mild, if you are taking an ACE Inhibitor and experience any side effects, notify your doctor. Some reported side effects include:

  • Dry, persistent cough*
  • Headache
  • Fever and Chills
  • Trouble Swallowing
  • Upset Stomach

*Cough is a relatively common side effect from ACE Inhibitors. While this side effect is usually not a sign of a serious medical problem, you should report it to your doctor.


Only you and your doctor can decide on a proper medication for treatment of high blood pressure. Be sure to notify your doctor if you are pregant or breast feeding, and to supply the names of any other medicines and/or suppliments you are taking. Remember to include over the counter medicines like aspirin or Advil and herbal/natural suppliments. If you're eating or drinking anything that isn't food, it is always a good idea to tell your doctor.

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