What are ACE inhibitors?

Howard E. Lewine, MD
ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure by blocking angiotensin converting enzyme. This enzyme promotes the production of a potent chemical called angiotensin II that makes blood vessels tighter. Taking an ACE inhibitor decreases the amount of angiotensin II in the body. So, blood vessels relax and blood pressure comes down.

There is a long list of available ACE inhibitors:
  • Benazapril
  • Captopril
  • Enalapril
  • Fosinopril
  • Lisinopril
  • Moexipril
  • Perindopril
  • Quinapril
  • Ramipril
  • Trandolapril
There is little difference between them. Some are longer acting than others. Many are available as generics.
Harvard Medical School Heart Disease: A guide to preventing and treating coronary artery disease

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Harvard Medical School Heart Disease: A guide to preventing and treating coronary artery disease

Most people who develop heart disease at least 8 in every 10 have one or more major risk factors that are within their power to change. These include lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and...
Bryce B. Wylde
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
When prescription medications are required for high blood pressure, the way some of them work is to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and they have been shown to lower blood pressure effectively and be relatively safe. They can be accompanied by numerous side effects, including dry cough, dizziness light-headedness, headaches, and impotence.
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help to prevent weakening and scarring of the heart, and may also protect your kidneys and blood vessels. These medications "vasodilate" or relax your blood vessels and may lower your blood pressure.
  • Your heart does not have to work as hard
  • Your heart failure may not get worse and may even get better
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) stop production of a chemical that makes blood vessels narrow. They are primarily used to reduce blood pressure and help the heart heal when it has been damaged. There is evidence they may also reduce the risk of having a second heart attack.

Continue Learning about ACE Inhibitor

What should I know before taking ACE inhibitors?
Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MDDr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
You should not take an ACE inhibitor if you have ever shown signs of intolerance when taking one in ...
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What effects do ARBs and ACE inhibitors have on the aging process?
Mark C. Houston, MDMark C. Houston, MD
Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are used...
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How effective are angiotensin receptor blockers for heart failure?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
ARBs are sometimes considered as alternatives to ACE inhibitors for people with heart failure after ...
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What can I take for a cough that is caused by my ACE inhibitor medication?
American Diabetes AssociationAmerican Diabetes Association
Many people with diabetes have problems with high blood pressure. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.