ramipril, Altace

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is ramipril, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Ramipril belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that are used for treating high blood pressure, heart failure and for preventing kidney failure due to high blood pressure and diabetes. Other ACE inhibitors include enalapril (Vasotec), quinapril (Accupril), captopril (Capoten), fosinopril (Monopril), benazepril (Lotensin), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil), moexipril (Univasc) and trandolapril (Mavik). ACE is important because it is an enzyme responsible for producing the chemical, angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes muscles in most arteries, including the arteries of the heart, to contract, thereby narrowing the arteries and elevating blood pressure. ACE inhibitors such as ramipril lower blood pressure by reducing the production of angiotensin II, thereby relaxing arterial muscle and enlarging arteries. When the blood pressure is lower, the heart--including the failing heart--does not have to work as hard to pump blood. The arteries supplying the heart with blood also enlarge during treatment with ACE inhibitors. This increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, further improving the ability of the heart to pump blood.

The effects of ACE inhibitors are particularly beneficial to people with congestive heart failure. In the kidneys, the narrowing of the arteries by angiotensin II decreases blood flow. ACE inhibitors enlarge and reduce blood pressure in the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys. This reduces damage to the kidneys resulting from high blood pressure. The FDA approved ramipril in 1991.

What brand names are available for ramipril?

Altace

Is ramipril available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for ramipril?

Yes

What are the side effects of ramipril?

Ramipril generally is well-tolerated, and side effects usually are mild and transient.

Common side effects include a dry, persistent cough and increased potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia). Coughing resolves after discontinuing the drug.

Other important side effects include:

Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips

How to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
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