How do ACE inhibitors control high blood pressure?

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors)  interfere with the body's production of angiotensin II, a hormone that causes the arteries to constrict. The drugs enable muscles in your arteries to relax so they can open wider.

The most common side effect of ACE inhibitors is a dry, persistent cough. An added benefit of ACE inhibitors is that they slow the rate at which your kidneys deteriorate if you have diabetes-related kidney disease. For people with high blood pressure and diabetes or kidney disease, national guidelines recommend that initial drug treatments include ACE inhibitors. However, you should not be on ACE inhibitors if you are pregnant because they can cause life-threatening complications in the baby.

Some commonly prescribe drugs in this class include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivel, Zestril), benazepril (Lotensin), fosinopril (Monopril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), ramipril (Altace) and trandolapril (Mavik).

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

The many available ACE inhibitors are equally effective in lowering blood pressure. ACE inhibitors are as effective as other types of blood pressure medication. But they have other benefits for people with heart failure, kidney disease, and coronary artery disease. ACE inhibitors have no negative effects on blood sugar or cholesterol levels, unlike diuretics and beta blockers.

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.