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How do ACE inhibitors prevent high blood pressure (BP)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors block an enzyme that is necessary to form a substance that narrows the blood vessels in the body. By blocking the enzyme, blood vessels relax and widen which allows blood to flow easier through the vessels and lowering blood pressure. ACE inhibitors also increase the release of salt and water in the urine which also lowers blood pressure.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

First-line drug treatments for high blood pressure include ACE inhibitors, as well as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium channel blockers (CCBs), and thiazide diuretics. These drugs are all effective in lowering blood pressure and preventing cardiovascular complications. Many people need 2 or more drugs to control their blood pressure. ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure by reducing the level of angiotensin II, a hormone that makes blood vessels contract.

Many ACE inhibitors are available in the US. These include benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Epaned, Vasotec), fosinopril, lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik).

Several other products combine an ACE inhibitor in a single pill with a drug from another class, such as a diuretic (Accuretic, Capozide, Lotensin HCT, Prinzide, Quinaretic, Uniretic, Vaseretic, Zestoretic) or a calcium channel blocker (Lotrel, Tarka).

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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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.