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- What is captopril, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for captopril?
- Is captopril available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for captopril?
- What are the side effects of captopril?
- What is the dosage for captopril?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with captopril?
- Is captopril safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about captopril?
What is captopril, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Captopril is an oral drug and a member of a class of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE inhibitors 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), ramipril (Altace), fosinopril (Monopril), benazepril (Lotensin), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil), moexipril (Univasc) and trandolapril (Mavik).
Angiotensin II is a very potent chemical that causes the muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract, thereby narrowing the vessels. The narrowing of the vessels increases the pressure within the vessels causing high blood pressure (hypertension). Angiotensin II is formed from angiotensin I in the blood by the enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE. ACE inhibitors are medications that slow (inhibit) the activity of the enzyme ACE and decrease the production of angiotensin II. As a result, blood vessels enlarge or dilate, and blood pressure is reduced. The lower blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and can improve the function of a failing heart. In addition, progression of the disease in the blood vessels within the kidney caused by high blood pressure or diabetes is slowed. The FDA approved captopril in April 1981.
What are the side effects of captopril?
Captopril generally is well tolerated, and side effects are usually mild and transient. A dry, persistent cough has been reported commonly with the use of captopril and other ACE inhibitors. Coughing resolves after discontinuing the drug. Other side effects include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, rash, dizziness, fatigue, headache, loss of taste, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fainting and numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
Captopril and other ACE inhibitors also may cause kidney failure and increased levels of potassium in the blood. Serious but, fortunately, very rare side effects are liver failure and angioedema (swelling of lips and throat that can obstruct breathing).
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
What is the dosage for captopril?
- The recommended dose of captopril for treating hypertension in adults is 25-150 mg two or three times daily.
- The maximum dose is 450 mg daily. The dose for treating heart failure is 6.25 to 12.5 mg every 8 hours.
- The target dose is 50 mg every 8 hours and the maximum dose is 450 mg daily.
- The dose for diabetic nephropathy is 25 mg every 8 hours.
- It should be taken on an empty stomach one hour before or two hours after meals since absorption of captopril is reduced when it is taken with food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with captopril?
: The use of ACE inhibitors with potassium supplements, salt substitutes or diuretics, for example, spironolactone (Aldactone), that increase potassium in the blood may lead to excessive potassium levels (hyperkalemia). Potassium levels should be monitored whenever ACE inhibitors are used in combination with these drugs.
There have been reports of increased lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) levels when lithium is used in combination with ACE inhibitors. The reason for this interaction is not known, but the increased levels may lead to toxicity from lithium.
There have been reports that aspirin and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory 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 effects of ACE inhibitors.
Combining captopril or other ACE inhibitors with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in patients who are elderly, volume-depleted (including those on diuretic therapy), or with poor kidney function may result in reduced kidney function, including kidney failure. These effects are usually reversible.
Nitritoid reactions (symptoms include facial flushing, nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure) may occur when injectable gold (sodium aurothiomalate), used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is combined with ACE inhibitors, including captopril.
Is captopril safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Captopril is secreted in breast milk. Therefore it should be avoided by nursing mothers.
What else should I know about captopril?
What preparations of captopril are available?
Tablets: 12.5, 25, 50, and 100 mg
How should I keep captopril stored?
Captopril should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F) and away from moisture.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
Captopril (Capoten) is an ACE inhibitor prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure, heart failure, and prevention of kidney failure due to high blood pressure and diabetes. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and efficacy during pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Medications & Supplements
- ACE Inhibitors (Side Effects, List of Names, Uses, and Dosage)
- High Blood Pressure Drugs (Hypertension)
- lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil, Qbrelis) ACE Inhibitor
- Drugs: What You Should Know About Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- Congestive Heart Failure Medications
- Vasodilators (Drug Class Side Effects, List of Names)
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Top captopril Related ArticlesComplete List
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as
- allergic rhinitis,
- sinus infection,
- cigarette smoking,
- postnasal drip,
- medications, and
- less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Treatment of chronic cough is dependent upon the cause.
Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) OverviewCongestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Diabetes Foot ProblemsLearn more about diabetes related foot problems. For people with diabetes, too much glucose in the blood can cause serious foot complications such as nerve damage, infection, and ulcers. Find tips for proper foot care to help prevent serious complications.
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Heart AttackHeart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
High Blood Pressure HypertensionHigh blood pressure is defined as a pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher in the arteries. Genetic factors, high salt intake, and increased arterial stiffness cause high blood pressure. Dizziness, headache, nausea, and shortness of breath are just a few symptoms of high blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, atherosclerosis, eye damage, stroke, and increased risk of aneurysms. High blood pressure can be managed with weight loss, lifestyle changes, and medication.
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Hypertension PictureHigh blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90. See a picture of Hypertension and learn more about the health topic.
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Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
ParathyroidectomyParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
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- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
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- and recurrence of the tumor.
Pulmonary EdemaPulmonary edema (swelling or fluid in the lungs) can either be caused by cardiogenic causes (congestive heart failure, heart attacks, abnormal heart valves) or noncardiogenic causes such as:
- kidney failure,
- high altitude,
- pleural effusion,
- aspirin overdose,
- pulmonary embolism, and
SclerodermaScleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body, leading to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma is also referred to as systemic sclerosis, and the cause is unknown. Treatment of scleroderma is directed toward the individual features that are most troubling to the patient.
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