What should I know about Prinivil before taking it?

Prinivil (lisinopril), a drug prescribed to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure and to increase the odds of survival after a heart attack, can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Until you know how the drug affects you, don't attempt to do anything that requires you to be fully alert, like drive a car or operate machinery. Drinking while on Prinivil can make drowsiness worse, so avoid alcohol while you're on this drug. Prinivil may also cause angioedema, a condition that makes it hard to breathe. If you've had angioedema in the past or are allergic to any of the ingredients in Prinivil, you shouldn't take it.

Common side effects of Prinivil are usually mild and temporary and include dizziness, fatigue, headache, cough, nausea, diarrhea, change in taste, sexual changes, sun sensitivity, sneezing, runny nose, rash and weakness.

More serious side effects include fever, trouble breathing or swallowing, hives, hoarseness, sore throat, chills, stomach pain (with or without nausea), changes in urine, yellowing of the eyes or skin, red blistering or peeling of the skin, irregular heartbeat and chest pain. If you're taking Prinivil and experience diarrhea, vomiting and sweating and you're not getting enough fluids, you also may become lightheaded and may even faint. Some people experience hypotension (low blood pressure) while on Prinivil. This side effect is most common among black people.

Prinivil can raise blood levels of potassium, a condition known as hyperkalemia that can lead to an irregular heartbeat and be fatal. Tell your doctor if you're taking products that contain potassium, such as potassium salts, potassium supplements, salt substitutes and heparin, or if you're eating a low-salt or low-sodium diet.

Do not take cough, cold or pain medications without talking to your doctor first, because some of them may affect your blood pressure. Prinivil may interact with other medicines as well. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and dietary supplements you take.

Certain medical conditions may increase your risks for side effects. Give your doctor a complete medical history. Be sure to mention if you have or have had any of the following: diabetes; heart, liver or kidney disease; lupus; or scleroderma. If you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should not take Prinivil. It may cause serious harm, even death, to a developing fetus.

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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.