Lisinopril: Uses, Side Effects, and Interactions

Written by Nerris Nassiri
Lisinopril: Uses, Side Effects, and Interactions blog image

Lisinopril is a prescription medication for treating high blood pressure.

In fact, it’s one of the most common medications for treating high blood pressure in the United States.

Over 97 million lisinopril prescriptions were written in the most recent year for which prescribing data was available.

But in addition to high blood pressure, lisinopril can treat a variety of heart and kidney related conditions.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Lisinopril?

In short, lisinopril is a medication for treating high blood pressure, heart failure, and diabetic kidney disease.

It is also used to improve survival rates following a heart attack if taken within 24 hours.

Generally, the medication comes in the form of a tablet and is taken orally.

However, an oral solution is available for patients that have trouble swallowing tablets.

Lisinopril is available as a generic drug, or under the brand names Prinivil, Zestril, and Qbrelis.

Typical dosages range from 2.5mg to 40mg or 1mg/mL for the oral solution Qbrelis.

What is Lisinopril Used For?

Lisinopril is mainly prescribed to treat high blood pressure.

However, the FDA has approved the medication for the treatment of heart failure and STElevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) within 24 hours as well.

It is also prescribed to treat diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease) but it is not yet FDA approved.

Some studies have also shown lisinopril may improve male fertility, reduce migraine severity, and slow eye disease in people with diabetes.

How Does Lisinopril Work?

Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor.

It works mainly by preventing the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II.

Angiotensin II is a strong vasoconstrictor, which means it causes the arteries of your heart to narrow leading to an increase in blood pressure.

So by preventing angiotensin II production, lisinopril is able to widen the blood vessels which reduces blood pressure to an acceptable range.

Overall, it is a safe and effective medication, but it does have some side effects.

Lisinopril Side Effects

Like any medication, lisinopril does have some side effects.

However, generally these side effects are mild and not life threatening.

Talk with your doctor if your experience any of the following side effects from lisinopril:

  • Dry Cough
  • Dizziness or Fainting
  • Headache
  • Weakness or Excessive Fatigue
  • Nausea or Diarrhea
  • Sneezing or Runny Nose
  • Decrease in sexual ability
  • Rash

Unfortunately, although less common, some side effects of lisinopril can be extremely dangerous.

If you experience any of the following side effects from lisinopril, you should call your doctor right away or 911 if you think you are having a medical emergency.

  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble Breathing or Swallowing
  • Fever, Sore Throat, Chills, or Other Common Signs of Infection
  • Yellowish Coloring of the Skin or Eyes
  • Lightheadedness or Fainting
  • Chest Pain

This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss any side effects or concerns with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Lisinopril Brand Name

There are several brand name versions of lisinopril.

The main three are:

  • Prinivil (tablet)
  • Zestril (tablet)
  • Qbrelis (solution)

Typically the generic version of a medication is much cheaper and more widely available than the brand name.

However, that is not always the case.

And although the FDA requires that the active ingredients in a generic medication be the same as the brand name, inactive ingredients may vary which means the medications are slightly different.

Make sure to talk with your doctor to figure out what medication regimen will work best for you in terms of price and efficacy.

Lisinopril Classification

Lisinopril belongs to a class of medications called ACE inhibitors

ACE stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme.

Specifically, ACE is responsible for converting angiotensin I into angiotensin II, an enzyme that narrows your blood vessels and releases hormones that raise blood pressure.

ACE inhibitors suppress this conversion, which leads to a decrease in the formation of angiotensin II (vasoconstrictor) and an increase the level of bradykinin (vasodilator).

As a result, ACE inhibitors cause the blood vessels to relax and blood volume to decrease which leads to lower blood pressure and decreased oxygen demand from the heart.

Some common ACE inhibitors aside from lisinopril include benazepril, zofenopril, perindopril, trandolapril, captopril, enalapril, and ramipril.

Several key features of lisinopril make it different than other ACE inhibitors like enalapril and captopril.

For example, it has a long half life, it is hydrophilic, and it is not broken down by the liver.

Lisinopril Interactions

In simple terms, an interaction is when a drug interacts with another substance.

For example, a drug could interact with another medication, a specific food, or even a beverage such as alcohol.

While not a complete list, here are a few of the interactions for the medication lisinopril.

  • Blood pressure medications: taking lisinopril with other blood pressure medications or ACE inhibitors can result in low blood pressure.
  • Lithium: lisinopril can raise lithium concentrations and lead to a risk of toxicity.
  • Bactrim: both lisinopril and Bactrim can increase potassium levels and together can cause hyperkalemia. 
  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen can decrease the effects of ACE inhibitors and affect your kidneys.
  • Diabetes medications like insulin can increase your risk of low blood sugar when taken with lisinopril.

Be sure to tell your healthcare provider and your pharmacist your complete medical history as well any drugs you are taking to avoid potentially serious interactions.

Lowering Blood Pressure Requires More Than Medication

Lowering blood pressure requires more than just medication. In order to be effective, it requires smart and consistent lifestyle changes.

The most important thing to remember is stay consistent with these changes and your medication regimen in order to achieve your goal.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

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