Known as an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor, Enalapril is used for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure in adults, as well as in children that are more than a month old.
There are other uses of Enalapril too. In adults, it can treat congestive heart failure as well. Moreover, the medicine can be used for treating a disorder of the ventricles too where the heart's ability to pump blood to the whole body is decreased.
How it works
Primarily, this ACE inhibitor works by blocking a chemical which leads to the tightening of the blood vessel. Consequently, the blood vessels are relaxed. In turn, this lowers the blood pressure while increasing the oxygen and blood supplied to the heart.
Enalapril works to strengthen the heart too. Just like other ACE inhibitors, Enalapril too stops a certain enzyme in the body which converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II. The active form of angiotensin is angiotensin II which works to keep the blood pressure high. This is done by tightening the vessels and increasing the amount of blood that travels through them.
So, when you take Enalapril, there is not much angiotensin II in the body. As a result, it can’t work to increase the blood pressure like it does.
Enalapril Side Effects
There are some side effects of Enalapril that are most commonly reported. These include:
• Increased serum creatinine
• Increased blood urea nitrogen
There are, however, other side effects as well.
Major side effects
If you experience the side effects listed below when you take Enalapril, it is crucial you get in touch with your doctor instantly. The side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficult or labored breathing
- Cough which produces mucus
- Chest pain
- Unusual tiredness of weakness
- Experiencing lightheadedness, faintness, or dizziness when suddenly getting up from a sitting or lying position
Minor side effects
While taking Enalapril, you might also experience some side effects that don’t need medical assistance, so you shouldn’t be worried about them too much. These minor side effects occur because the body identifies the medicine as something foreign which is why it takes time to adjust to it. Once the body adjusts to it, the side effects will start to disappear. If you want to prevent or reduce these minor side effects, then you can ask your healthcare practitioner. He or she can guide you well in this area. Also, remember that if these side effects persist for long or if they bother you, talk to your practitioner. You can also clear up any confusion you might have about Enalapril with him or her. Minor side effects that you can experience while taking enalapril include:
- Loss or lack of strength
Precautions to take with Enalapril
If you are pregnant, you should, in no case, take enalapril. Similarly, if you become pregnant while undergoing treatment with enalapril, you should stop your doses immediately and inform your doctor. Enalapril can not only cause injury to an unborn baby but can also lead to its death. Similarly, enalapril is not for you if you have ever been diagnosed with angioedema. The medicine can also lead to kidney problems. If you experience the following when taking enalapril, contact your doctor immediately:
- Shortness of breath
- Little or no urinating
- Rapid weight gain
Before you take the medicine, you should also know that you shouldn’t use it if you have an allergy to it. You should also avoid it if:
You have an allergy to ace inhibitors like trandolapril, ramipril, quinapril, perindopril, moexipril, lisinopril, fosinopril, captopril, and benazepril
You have a history of angioedema
You should also not take enalapril combined with any other medicine that contains aliskiren such as valturna, tekamlo, tekturna, or amturnide if you have diabetes. Moreover, you might also have to avoid combining the two medicines if you have kidney disease.
How should you take enalapril?
When taking enalapril, you need to follow the exact instructions given to you by your doctor. Moreover, make sure to also follow the directions mentioned on the prescription label. Keep in mind; your doctor might switch and change your doses so that you get the best results.
You should not take the medicine in a higher or lower quantity than what has been subscribed to you. Enalapril can be taken either with food or without it.
If you are taking the oral suspension, then shake the bottle first before measuring your dose. For the liquid medicine, use the dosage syringe that comes with the medicine. Alternatively, you can use a medicine cup or a dose-measuring spoon as well.
While taking enalapril, you might have to often get your blood pressure tested. Similarly, in some cases, you might need to get your liver and kidney function tested too.
What should I avoid while taking enalapril? Avoid drinking alcohol. It can further lower your blood pressure and may increase some of the side effects of enalapril. Do not use salt substitutes or potassium supplements while taking enalapril, unless your doctor has told you to.