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Discharge Instructions: Taking ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and decrease strain on the heart. This makes it easier for the heart to pump. It also improves blood flow. ACE inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure. They also may help improve outcomes following a heart attack. ACE inhibitors also slow the progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes.

The name of your ACE inhibitor is


Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your doctor about all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal remedies.

  • Tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, lupus, history of stroke, or recent sever diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Your doctor may start you on a low dose and increase the dose gradually over time.

  • Take this medication at the same time(s) each day.

  • Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication unless your doctor tells you to.

  • Avoid potassium supplements, salt substitutes with potassium (such as “No Salt,” “Morton Salt Substitute,” “Mrs. Dash,” and others). Avoid large amounts of high-potassium foods (such as bananas, potatoes, broccoli, milk). High blood potassium levels can be dangerous when you are taking an ACE inhibitor.

  • Have lab tests as often as your healthcare provider suggests. Your potassium levels must be monitored periodically while you are taking ACE inhibitors.

  • Take steps to avoid getting pregnant. This medication can cause serious harm to an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant while taking this medication, tell your doctor right away.

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. But, even if you have side effects, don’t stop taking the medication unless your doctor tells you to. Side effects may include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Dry cough

  • Nausea

  • Headache

  • Tiredness

  • Drowsiness

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever and chills

  • Hoarseness

  • Swelling in your face, mouth, hands, or feet

  • Sudden trouble swallowing or breathing

  • Stomach pain

  • Yellowing of your eyes or skin (jaundice)

  • Chest pain 

  • Skin rash


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