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What should I know about Lotensin before taking it?

Before taking Lotensin (benazepril) for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension), you need to know that it may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery or do anything that requires mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you. While taking Lotensin, you should not drink alcohol, because it can make the dizziness and drowsiness worse.

You should be sure to drink enough fluids and avoid heavy sweating while taking Lotensin, and be cautious if you develop severe diarrhea or vomiting. If you become dehydrated while taking this drug, it can cause a severe drop in blood pressure.

Talk to your doctor before you treat yourself for coughs, colds or pain with any over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements. Medications used to treat these conditions can sometimes cause an increase in blood pressure if you are taking Lotensin.

Avoid Lotensin if you're pregnant. It is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, and any of those medications can harm or even be fatal to a developing fetus. If you become pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant while taking Lotensin, call your doctor immediately. Experts say women who are pregnant should stop taking Lotensin as soon as possible.

Talk to your prescribing doctor if you need surgery, including dental surgery, while you're on Lotensin, and tell your surgeon that you are taking the drug.

Having certain medical conditions may increase your risks for side effects, so it's important to give your doctor your complete medical history before starting Lotensin. Be sure to tell him or her if you are allergic to benazepril, any other ingredient found in Lotensin or any other ACE inhibitors. Tell your doctor if you have a history of angioedema (swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, throat, hands, lower legs, ankles or feet).

Finally, you should also tell your doctor about all your other medicines (prescription and nonprescription), as well as any dietary supplements you take. Some may interact with Lotensin and cause side effects.

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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.