High Blood Pressure and ACE Inhibitors
Guidelines for Taking ACE Inhibitors
- ACE inhibitors should be taken on an empty stomach one hour before meals. Follow the label directions on how often to take this medication. The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take the medication will depend on the type of ACE inhibitor prescribed, as well as your condition.
- Do not use salt substitutes while taking ACE Inhibitors. These substitutes contain potassium and ACE inhibitor medications cause the body to retain potassium. Learn how to read food labels to choose low-sodium and low-potassium foods. A dietitian can help you select the right foods.
- Avoid over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs like Aleve and Motrin). These drugs may cause the body to retain sodium and water, and decrease the effect of an ACE inhibitor. Check with your doctor before taking any anti-inflammatory medications.
- Have your blood pressure and kidney function checked regularly, as advised by your doctor, while taking this drug.
- Never stop taking your medication, even if you feel that it is not working, without discussing it with your doctor first. If you are taking ACE inhibitors for heart failure, your heart failure symptoms may not improve right away. However, long-term use of ACE inhibitors helps manage chronic heart failure and reduces the risk that your condition will become worse.
Can Pregnant Women Take ACE Inhibitors?
Women should not take ACE inhibitors during pregnancy, especially during their second and third trimesters. ACE inhibitors can lower blood pressure and cause kidney failure or high potassium levels in the blood of the mother. They can cause death or deformity in the newborn.
It is recommended that babies not be breast fed if the mother is taking an ACE inhibitor, because the medicine can pass through breast milk.
Can Children Take ACE Inhibitors?
Yes, kids can take ACE inhibitors. However, children are more sensitive to the effects of these drugs on blood pressure. Thus, they are at higher risk of having severe side effects from the drug. Before giving this drug to children, parents are encouraged to discuss the potential benefits and risks with their pediatric cardiologist (heart doctor).