Lisinopril is a prescription drug in the class of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors used in the treatment of hypertension in adults and children over six. Treating high blood pressure is extremely important for the prevention of heart attacks, stroke, and some other health problems. To make sure that this drug is safe for you, it’s important to know how to take it, its precautions, potential side effects, and more. In this article, you can learn essential information about Lisinopril.
What it is and how to use it
The way the Lisinopril drug class works is by relaxing blood vessels in the body and thus ensuring that blood can flow easier. This medication achieves the effect by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme involved in the process of vasoconstriction and also the release of aldosterone from the adrenal glands. As the enzyme is inhibited, the arteries can properly dilate and thus make it easier for the heart to pump blood in the body. A person experiences lowering of the blood pressure because the blood can flow properly and the heart doesn’t have to work so hard.
To achieve a stable result of lowered blood pressure, it is important to take the medication for 2-4 weeks. The effect is maintained by continuing to consume the medication. The sudden withdrawal from taking Lisinopril doesn’t cause a fast or a significant increase in blood pressure compared to its levels before using the drug.
The medication is designed to be taken once daily and it is usually recommended to take it around the same time each day. Also, medical specialists often suggest that it’s better to take the first dose before sleep in case you experience dizziness.
You should take a single dose of this medication with a glass of water. It can be taken with or without food, as this doesn’t influence its absorption.
Dosages of Lisinopril
When it comes to Lisinopril dosage, the drug comes in a range of options, including 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg. The exact dosage necessary for your treatment should be determined by your doctor based on your condition, contraindications, potassium levels in the blood, and other factors.
The average initial dose of this drug for an adult is between 2.5 mg and 10 mg. The maximum dose that can be consumed in a day after a doctor’s approval is 80 mg. Lisinopril is the type of drug that should be increased gradually because a sudden consumption of large doses can cause adverse reactions.
The usual maintenance dosage for high blood pressure is Lisinopril 20 mg a day while a recent heart attack often requires a patient to take Lisinopril 10 mg a day. Regardless of the prescribed dosage, it’s important that you don’t increase it without consulting a medical specialist first.
The duration of treatment depends on your condition. The drug is often prescribed to patients after a heart attack and, in this case, the average treatment is 6 weeks. In the case of heart failure and chronic high blood pressure, the treatment is long-term and can even be used for the rest of your life.
What are the side effects of Lisinopril?
In most cases, Lisinopril side effects can be prevented when you follow your doctor’s instructions and take only the recommended dosage. The majority of people who take this drug under supervision don’t experience serious adverse reactions.
When your body is still adjusting to the drug, it’s possible to get the following reactions:
- Dry cough
Lisinopril cough is one of the most common adverse reactions reported by patients. The cough medicine doesn’t work for this type of cough, so if it doesn’t go away and bothers you, you may have to switch to another medication for hypertension.
You should inform your doctor about such side effects, especially if they get worse, as you may require an adjustment of the dosage. If you experience dizziness, it’s important to move slowly and avoid standing up too fast.
Serious side effects of Lisinopril that require immediate medical attention include:
- Increased potassium levels (irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness)
- Kidney problems
- Liver problems (nausea, dark urine, stomach pain)
- Yellowing of the skin of eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Tightening of the chest
- Any sign of bleeding
While allergic reactions to this drug are not common, you should pay attention to any suspicious symptoms. If you get a rash, difficulty breathing, swelling in the tongue/face/throat, you should get emergency medical help and stop taking the drug.
Lisinopril and erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual health problem affecting men, especially as they get older. According to several studies, different hypertension drugs can affect the sexual function in some men and cause erectile dysfunction. When it comes to Lisinopril, this reaction is not common and it on average affects only about 3% of men who take the medication.
What is more, the good news is that in men who don’t normally experience ED, this side effect is temporary and is present only during the first months after starting the treatment. The American Journal of Hypertension published the results of the study conducted on a group of men between the ages of 40 and 50. They noticed that as men continued to take Lisinopril, their sexual function returned to normal after some time.
If you just started taking Lisinopril and you notice the symptoms of ED, it’s more than likely that this problem will resolve on its own. At the same time, you should inform your doctor so that they are aware of your reaction to this drug.
Which precautions are important?
Making sure that this medication is safe for you before you start the treatment is an essential step. Firstly, you should study the ingredient list to see whether you may be allergic to any components present in this medication. It’s not just active ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction, so you should also pay attention to the inactive ones. If you have experienced side effects from taking any other ACE inhibitors, you should tell your doctor.
A lot of people wonder whether Lisinopril and alcohol could be combined. Lisinopril is known for causing dizziness in some patients, so it’s important that you don’t drink alcohol at the beginning of the treatment. Over the course of the treatment, the consumption of alcoholic beverages should be limited and you it’s necessary consult your doctor on how much is allowed in your case.
Are there any contraindications?
You should always consider your contraindications before taking any drug, including Lisinopril. During your doctor’s appointment, you should provide detailed information on your medical history and any surgeries you may have had.
In the case of Lisinopril, you should tell a medical advisor if you suffer from any allergies or undergo blood filtering procedures, such as dialysis or LDL apheresis.
The health problems that are considered contraindications to taking Lisinopril include the following:
- Increased levels of potassium in the blood
- Dehydration as a result of vomiting or diarrhea
- Severe dizziness
The medication should not be used by pregnant women. If you are breastfeeding, you should tell your doctor so that they can decide whether you can take Lisinopril.
Drug interactions are another category of precautions. There are drugs that should not be taken together or even on the same day, as their combination can cause side effects or make each other less potent.
The easiest step to avoid interactions is to inform your doctor about all the non-prescription and prescription drugs, vitamins, and supplements that you take. The list of drugs that Lisinopril reacts with is quite extensive, so you should always confirm with your doctor before you take any other medications while using Lisinopril.
Some of the medications that interact with Lisinopril include the following:
- Medications that increase potassium levels in the blood (some birth control pills, ARBs)
- Medications that affect the immune system (sirolimus, everolimus, and more)
- Injections for wasp or bee sting allergy
- Antipsychotic rugs
This is not a comprehensive list of drugs that may interact with Lisinopril, which is why adhering to the approved list of products and drugs is so important.
In addition to contraindications, there are drugs that can increase your blood pressure and you should be aware of them. There are a number of dietary supplements, NSAIDs, and also drugs to treat colds that may interfere with your treatment because of their hypertensive influence. You should consult your doctor and avoid consuming them to keep your blood pressure levels stable.
It is important to carefully store this medication to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged or spoiled before its expiration date. The drug should be kept in a cool dark place away from the sources of heat and moisture. It is best to keep it in its original packaging and it’s also important to store it out of the reach of children and pets.
If you notice any changes in the appearance of the tablets (change of texture, color, shape, etc.), you should not hesitate to throw them away. Never consume tablets after the expiration date stated on the packaging.
It’s important to note that this article is presented for educational purposes exclusively. We are not responsible for the accuracy or relevance of the information regarding Lisinopril and its consumption. The article shouldn’t be viewed or used as a substitute for professional medical advice, as it is up to your doctor to decide whether the medication is right for you. We encourage you to always consult a professional before taking any medication, including Lisinopril. The information in this article is generalized, so it won’t apply to every patient. You should keep in mind that self-treatment can be dangerous for your health, as you may not be aware of all the necessary precautions.