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ACE Inhibitors vs. ARBs
- ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotensin-receptor blockers) are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and congestive heart failure, to prevent kidney failure in patients with high blood pressure or diabetes, and to reduce the risk of stroke.
- ACE inhibitors are also used to improve survival after heart attacks.
- ARBs are also used to prevent diabetes and may prevent the recurrence of atrial fibrillation.
- Examples of ACE Inhibitors include benazepril hydrochloride (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril maleate (Vasotec), fosinopril sodium (monopril), lisinopril (Prinivel, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril hydrochloride (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik).
- Examples of ARBs include losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), irbesartan (Avapro), candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan mesylate (Teveten), and telmisartan (Micardis).
- Common side effects of ACE inhibitors include:
- Serious side effects of ACE inhibitors include:
- ARBs do not tend to cause cough or angioedema as a side effect. They may cause dizziness.
- Both ACE inhibitors and ARBs are not recommended for use during pregnancy. They may cause low blood pressure, excess potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia), kidney failure, and harm to a fetus.
What are ACE Inhibitors and ARBs?
ARBs (angiotensin-receptor blockers) also affect angiotensin, but they prevent angiotensin II from binding to an area on blood vessels called receptors. They have the same result as ACE inhibitors in that blood vessels remain relaxed and blood pressure decreases.
What are the side effects of ACE inhibitors and ARBs?
ACE inhibitors are well-tolerated by most individuals. Nevertheless, they are not free of side effects, and some patients should not use ACE inhibitors.
Individuals with bilateral renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the arteries that supply the kidneys) may experience worsening of kidney function, and people who have had a severe reaction to ACE inhibitors probably should avoid them.
The most common side effects are:
- Elevated blood potassium levels
- Low blood pressure,
- Abnormal taste (metallic or salty taste)
- Chest pain
- Increased uric acid levels
- Sun sensitivity
- Increased BUN and creatinine levels
It may take up to a month for coughing to subside, and if one ACE inhibitor causes cough it is likely that the others will too. The most serious, but rare, side effects of ACE inhibitors are:
- Kidney failure
- Allergic reactions
- Liver dysfunction
- A decrease in white blood cells
- Swelling of tissues (angioedema).
ARBs are well tolerated by most individuals. The most common side effects are
- elevated potassium levels in the blood (hyperkalemia),
- low blood pressure,
- abnormal taste sensation (metallic or salty taste),
- orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing),
- indigestion, and
- upper respiratory tract infection.
Compared to ACE inhibitors, cough occurs less often with ARBs.
Serious side effects of ARBs:
- The most serious, but rare, side effects are
- kidney failure,
- liver failure (hepatitis),
- serious allergic reactions,
- a decrease in white blood cells,
- a decrease in blood platelets, and
- swelling of tissues (angioedema).
- There have been reports of rhabdomyolysis (destruction of skeletal muscle) in patients receiving ARBs.
- Individuals who have narrowing of both arteries that supply the kidneys or have had a severe reaction to ARBs should avoid them.
- Like other antihypertensives, ARBs have been associated with sexual dysfunction.
What drugs interact with ACE inhibitors and ARBs?
ACE inhibitors have few interactions with other drugs.
- Since ACE inhibitors may increase blood levels of potassium, the use of potassium supplements, salt substitutes (which often contain potassium), or other drugs that increase the body's potassium may result in excessive blood potassium levels.
- ACE inhibitors also may increase the blood concentration of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) and lead to an increase in side effects from lithium.
- There have been reports that aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever etc.), indomethacin (Indocin, Indocin-SR), and naproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve) may reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of ACE inhibitors.
- Patients receiving diuretics may experience excessive reduction in blood pressure when ACE inhibitors are started. Stopping the diuretic or increasing salt intake prior to taking the ACE inhibitor may prevent excessive blood pressure reduction. Close supervision for at least two hours after the start of ACE inhibitors and until blood pressure is stable is recommended if the diuretic cannot be stopped.
- ACE inhibitors should not be combined with ARBs because such combinations increase the risk of hypotension, hyperkalemia, and renal impairment.
- Ace inhibitors should not be combined with aliskiren (Tekturna), another class of drugs that is used to treat high blood pressure because such combinations increase the risk of kidney failure, excessive low blood pressure, and hyperkalemia.
- Nitritoid reactions (symptoms include facial flushing, nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure) may occur when injectable (gold sodium aurothiomalate [Myochrysine]), used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is combined with ACE inhibitors.
ARBs have few interactions with other drugs.
- Since ARBs may increase blood levels of potassium, the use of potassium supplements, salt substitutes (which often contain potassium), or other drugs that increase potassium may result in excessive blood potassium levels and cardiac arrhythmias.
- ARBs may also increase the blood concentration of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) and lead to an increase in side effects from lithium.
- Rifampin (Rifadin) reduces the blood levels of losartan, and fluconazole (Diflucan) reduces the conversion of losartan to its active form. These effects could decrease the effects of losartan.
- ARBs should not be combined with ACE inhibitors because such combinations increase the risk of hypotension, hyperkalemia, and renal impairment.
- ARBs should not be combined with aliskiren (Tekturna) because such combinations increase the risk of kidney failure, excessive low blood pressure, and hyperkalemia.
What are the different types of ACE inhibitors and ARBs?
The following is a list of the ACE inhibitors that are available in the United States:
- benazepril (Lotensin)
- captopril (Capoten- discontinued brand)
- enalapril (Vasotec, Epaned, [Lexxel- discontinued brand])
- fosinopril (Monopril- Discontinued brand)
- lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, Qbrelis)
- moexipril (Univasc- Discontinued brand)
- perindopril (Aceon)
- quinapril (Accupril)
- ramipril (Altace)
- trandolapril (Mavik)
The following is a list of currently available ARBs:
- azilsartan (Edarbi)
- candesartan (Atacand),
- eprosartan (Teveten),
- irbesartan (Avapro),
- telmisartan (Micardis),
- valsartan (Diovan),
- losartan (Cozaar), and
- olmesartan (Benicar).
ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotensin-receptor blockers) are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and congestive heart failure, to prevent kidney failure in patients with high blood pressure or diabetes, and to reduce the risk of stroke. Learn more about drugs for the side effects and drug interactions.
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Quiz: Symptoms, Signs & Causes
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Related Disease Conditions
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Hypertension-Related Kidney Disease
Second Source WebMD Medical Reference
Hypertensive Kidney Disease
High blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease). Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. If you have kidney disease, you should control your blood pressure. Other treatment options include prescription medications.
Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)
Preeclampsia is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia typically begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. When preeclampsia causes seizures, it is termed "eclampsia" and is the second leading cause of maternal death of in the US. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of fetal complications. Risk factors for preeclampsia include high blood pressure, obesity, multiple births, and women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Pregnancy planning and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- benazepril - oral, Lotensin
- valsartan, Diovan
- candesartan cilexetil, Atacand
- losartan (Cozaar)
- irbesartan (Avapro)
- telmisartan, Micardis
- captopril (Capoten)
- ramipril (Altace)
- benazepril (Lotensin HTC)
- trandolapril (Mavik)
- perindopril - oral, Aceon
- fosinopril sodium, Monopril
- quinapril (Accupril)
- lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide (Zestoretic, Prinzide)
- moexipril - oral, Univasc
- irbesartan/hydrochlorothiazide - oral, Avalide
Prevention & Wellness
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.