Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

What are ACE inhibitors?

Angiotensin II is a chemical in the body that when produced, enters the bloodstream and causes the vessels to constrict. This tightening or narrowing of the blood vessels, in turn, reduces blood flow, which increases blood pressure. The presence of angiotensin II also causes a water-retaining hormone to be released, and this increase in fluid retention in the body further increases blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, or “ACE” inhibitors, are medications that help relax and widen the blood vessels so that blood can pump more freely and blood pressure is reduced. ACE inhibitors may be used to treat heart, blood vessel, and kidney problems as well as conditions such as migraines and diabetes. The medication may also lower your risk of heart attack or stroke and is most commonly prescribed for high blood pressure.

Some common names of ACE inhibitors include:

  • Benazepril (Lotensin)
  • Captopril
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Fosinopril
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
  • Moexipril
  • Perindopril (Aceon)
  • Quinapril (Accupril)
  • Ramipril (Altace)
  • Trandolapril (Mavik)

Be sure to discuss any other medications you are taking, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, which may have reduce the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors.

In addition to prescribing an ACE inhibitor to manage your condition, your doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle changes, such as switching to a low-sodium diet.