Vasotec (Enalapril maleate)
This drug belongs to a group of medications called ACE inhibitors. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children. It works by relaxing blood vessels, causing them to widen. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems. This medication is also used with other drugs (e.g., "water pills"/diuretics, digoxin) to treat congestive heart failure.
How to take
Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice a day; or as directed by your doctor. You may take this drug with or without food. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time(s) each day. If you are taking this drug in the liquid suspension form, shake the bottle well before each use. Measure the dose out carefully. Do not take potassium supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. This medicine can raise your potassium levels, which rarely can cause serious side effects such as muscle weakness or very slow heartbeats. Tell your doctor immediately if these effects occur. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. For the treatment of high blood pressure, it may take several weeks before the full benefit of this drug occurs or several weeks to months when used for congestive heart failure. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Vasotec is a drug that is used for treating high blood pressure. It is in a class of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE is an enzyme in the body that causes the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes the arteries in the body to narrow, thereby elevating blood pressure. ACE inhibitors, such as enalapril, lower blood pressure by preventing the formation of angiotensin II thereby relaxing the arteries. ACE inhibitors also improve the effectiveness of the heart in patients with heart failure by reducing the blood pressure that the heart must maintain.
If you miss a dose of Vasotec, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Store tablets at room temperature below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Refrigerate the liquid suspension between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C). Discard any unused suspension after 30 days. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
This drug can cause serious fetal harm (possibly death) if used during the last 6 months of pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor immediately. Before taking vasotec, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other ACE inhibitors (e.g., benazepril, captopril); or if you have any other allergies (including allergies to bee or wasp stings, or exposure to certain membranes used for blood filtering). This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: history of an allergic reaction which included swelling of the face/lips/tongue/throat (angioedema). Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, high blood levels of potassium, heart problems, severe dehydration (and loss of electrolytes such as sodium), diabetes (poorly controlled), strokes, blood vessel disease (e.g., collagen vascular diseases such as lupus, scleroderma). This drug may make you dizzy; use caution engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery. Limit alcoholic beverages. To minimize dizziness and light-headedness due to lowering of your blood pressure, get up slowly when rising from a seated or lying position. Serious loss of body fluids can also lower your blood pressure and worsen dizziness. Drink adequate fluids to prevent from becoming dehydrated. If you are on restricted fluid intake, consult your doctor for further instructions. Be careful not to become too overheated during exercise which can lead to excessive sweating. Consult your doctor if you experience severe vomiting or diarrhea. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication. Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive its effects, especially dizziness. Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to its effects. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during the first 3 months of pregnancy. It is not recommended for use during the last 6 months of pregnancy due to the risk for fetal harm. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. See also Warning section. This drug passes into breast milk. While there have been no reports of harm to nursing infants, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Possible Side Effects
You may experience headache, dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, nausea, dry cough or blurred vision as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fainting, decreased sexual ability. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: change in the amount of urine, signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat). This drug may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver problems. If you notice any of the following highly unlikely but very serious side effects, seek immediate medical attention: yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, stomach/abdominal pain, persistent fatigue, persistent nausea. A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling (especially of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not share this medication with others. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney function, potassium blood level) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details. Have your blood pressure checked regularly while taking this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure at home. Discuss this with your doctor.