Captopril

Generic Name: Captopril

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Captopril is a medicine known as an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Captopril is also used to lower the risk of death from heart problems in people who have had a heart attack and treat kidney disease in people with diabetes.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Captopril works by blocking a chemical in your body that causes blood vessels to narrow. By blocking this chemical, Captopril relaxes and widens your blood vessels, allowing your blood to flow through with less resistance. This helps to lower your blood pressure.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    High Blood Pressure: By lowering your blood pressure, Captopril lowers your risk of a stroke or a heart attack.

    Heart Failure: Captopril may lower the need for hospitalization from heart failure, and relieve some of the symptoms associated with heart failure, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling.

    After a Heart Attack: Captopril may reduce the chance of death after a heart attack in people who have certain types of heart problems.

    Kidney Disease: Captopril may reduce the risk of needing dialysis or a kidney transplant.

    When: Captopril may start lowering your blood pressure within a few weeks. Though you may not feel an improvement or change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to keep your condition under control.

    How do I know it is working?

    Check your blood pressure regularly. Your healthcare provider may also check your blood pressure at every visit. Following an appropriate diet and exercise plan will also affect your blood pressure results.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Captopril can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to lower your blood pressure if you plan to become pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking Captopril.

    More common side effects may include: rash, changes in taste, cough.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serious allergic reaction with symptoms such as extreme swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat, or gut (causing severe abdominal [stomach area] pain). You may have an increased risk of experiencing these symptoms if you have a history of angioedema (a condition involving swelling of the face, extremities, eyes, lips, and tongue) or if you are African American.

    Low blood neutrophil (type of blood cells that fight infections) levels with symptoms of an infection (such as sore throat or fever). Low blood pressure with symptoms such as lightheadedness. Dehydration, excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting can lead to an excessive fall in your blood pressure, which can cause lightheadedness and possible fainting.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Captopril if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or if you have a history of angioedema related to previous treatment with similar medicines.

    If you are diabetic, do not take Captopril in combination with aliskiren.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Captopril. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes; kidney, liver, or heart problems; a disease that affects your immune system (such as lupus or scleroderma); plan to undergo surgery or receive anesthesia; or if you have a history of angioedema.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    High Blood Pressure

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 25 milligrams (mg) two or three times a day. Your healthcare provider will adjust your dose based on your previous blood pressure medication and will increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Heart Failure

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 25 mg three times a day. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your condition.

    After a Heart Attack

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 6.25 mg as a single dose, then 12.5 mg three times a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose appropriately.

    Kidney Disease

    Adults: The usual dose is 25 mg three times a day. If you have kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Captopril exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Captopril without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Captopril 1 hour before meals.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not become pregnant while taking this medication.

    Do not become dehydrated. Drink adequate amount of fluids while you are taking Captopril.

    Do not take potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium without first talking to your healthcare provider.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Captopril is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Captopril with the following: aliskiren, blood pressure/heart medications called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) (such as losartan or valsartan), dextran, injectable gold (sodium aurothiomalate), lithium, nitroglycerin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), potassium supplements, salt substitutes containing potassium, or water pills (such as amiloride, spironolactone, or triamterene).

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Do not take Captopril if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Captopril can harm your unborn baby. Captopril can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Captopril, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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