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Ace inhibitors or angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor

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Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are a type of vasodilators mainly used for regulating blood pressure. They are capable of widening blood vessels and thus, re-establish normal flow of blood inside vessels.

What are the common types of ACE inhibitors?

Some common types of ACE inhibitors are: Capoten, Lotensin, Vasotec, PrinivilZestril, Monopril, Altace, Accupril, Aceon, etc.,

How do they work?

As the name suggests, ACE inhibitors work on enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme. The function of ACE is to convert angiotensin I produced by the body to angiotensin II. The latter is detrimental for the heart as it constricts the blood vessels, thereby raising the pressure of blood flow. ACE inhibitors decrease the activity of that enzyme which ultimately leads to dilation of blood vessels and reduction in blood pressure.

The drugs perform the same activity to lower blood pressure in kidneys.

When ACE inhibitors are prescribed?

ACE inhibitors are administered to manage the following heart conditions:
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines
  • Chronic kidney diseases


Who should not take ACE inhibitors?

Your doctor will thoroughly check your medical history before administering the drug. Ideally, they are not prescribed to pregnant women or those planning for pregnancy and to breastfeeding women.

Furthermore, they are restricted to people with some specific kidney disorders like renal artery stenosis or those suffering from angio-oedema complications.

How to take ACE inhibitors?

Your doctor will explain you the dose, when to take and how to take the drug. They are taken orally and usually in empty stomach or at least one hour before the meal.

Your doctor may also prescribe other medicines like calcium channel blockers, diuretic or any other type of blood pressure medicine as a part of the health management plan. The dosage of a continued drug may be altered or stopped as well while taking ACE inhibitor.


Do ACE inhibitors interfere with any other drug?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aluminum or magnesium-containing antacids and potassium supplements potentially reduce the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors.

Apart from those, OTC medicines for allergy, cold, cough, fever, etc., weight loss pills and herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements are most likely to interfere with ACE inhibitors. Therefore, you need to ask your doctor before taking any other drugs or supplements.

Are there any side effects of ACE inhibitors?

The side effects of ACE inhibitors show up during the initial period of dosage. However, they usually disappear when your body gets used to the dosage. Some common side effects are:
  • Rapid or skipped heartbeat
  • Fatigue, dizziness, headache
  • Nausea, diarrhoea
  • Trouble in sleeping
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Metallic taste in mouth
You need to inform your doctor if you notice any abnormality in your body like rashes, allergy or swelling in throat, lips, mouth, etc.

ACE inhibitors induce birth defect in babies, so they are not prescribed during pregnancy.

Points to check with your doctor before taking ACE inhibitors
  • Let your doctor know if you are on a regular dose of other drugs, supplements or have a medical condition.
  • Consult with your doctor about the modification required in your diet and lifestyle
  • Ask your doctor what needs to be done if you miss a dose or repeat the drug by mistake.

You need to fix up follow up appointments with your doctor initially to help your doctor evaluate the response of your body.


Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last modified: Feburary 01, 2014

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