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ACE Inhibitors

Patient information A-Z


The following are some examples of brand names of ACE inhibitors:

  • Ramipril
  • Enalapril
  • Perindopril
  • Lisinopril

What are ACE inhibitors and what do they do?

ACE inhibitors are used to help control high blood pressure (also known as hypertension).

The kidneys have a major influence on blood pressure and it is particularly important to monitor blood pressure in patients who have kidney disease. There are three reasons for this:

  • Many kidney diseases cause high blood pressure – high blood pressure is very common in people with kidney disease or failing kidneys.
  • High blood pressure can cause further damage to diseased kidneys.
  • People with kidney disease and failure are at high risk of developing heart disease and circulation problems.

Why am I prescribed an ACE inhibitor?

An ACE inhibitor has been prescribed for you to help to control your blood pressure and to help prevent further damage to your kidneys which may be caused by high blood pressure.

How do I take my ACE inhibitor?

Most ACE inhibitors are taken once daily and can be taken regularly at any time of the day. If you feel dizzy or light headed after taking a dose, it may be best to take your ACE inhibitor before going to bed.

Do I need to have any tests or be monitored because I am taking an ACE inhibitor?

You will need to have your blood pressure monitored frequently by your doctor.

Your doctor will alter the dose(s) of your high blood pressure medicines if your blood pressure is too high or too low.

Your doctor will also monitor your potassium level and kidney function closely as these can be affected by ACE inhibitors. It is important that your potassium level and renal function are checked by your GP one week after starting to take these tablets – make sure that you make an appointment at your surgery for a blood test to be done.

Are there any side effects?

The main adverse effects seen with ACE inhibitors include:

  • A persistent dry cough
  • An upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation

These side effects should be mild but if you have any concerns about these or any other side effects please contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice.

Are there any problems taking ACE inhibitors with any other medications?

You should avoid any medicine which contains a high level of potassium whilst you are taking an ACE inhibitor. This includes many indigestion remedies (such as Gaviscon® Advanced) and remedies for cystitis (such as Effercitrate® ) that you can buy at all pharmacies and many supermarkets and garages.

Only take tablets prescribed for you by your doctor and check with your pharmacist before taking any new medicines.

Further information

Further information about your tablet can be found in the patient information leaflet found in the tablet/capsule box or on the container.

If you have any other questions about your medication, please contact the medicines helpline on 01223 217502.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151