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This drug belongs to a group of medications called ACE inhibitors. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children. It works by relaxing blood vessels, causing them to widen. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems. This medication is also used with other drugs (e.g., "water pills"/diuretics, digoxin) to treat congestive heart failure.
Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice a day; or as directed by your doctor. You may take this drug with or without food. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time(s) each day. If you are taking this drug in the liquid suspension form, shake the bottle well before each use. Measure the dose out carefully. Do not take potassium supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. This medicine can raise your potassium levels, which rarely can cause serious side effects such as muscle weakness or very slow heartbeats. Tell your doctor immediately if these effects occur. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. For the treatment of high blood pressure, it may take several weeks before the full benefit of this drug occurs or several weeks to months when used for congestive heart failure. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Vasotec is a drug that is used for treating high blood pressure. It is in a class of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE is an enzyme in the body that causes the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes the arteries in the body to narrow, thereby elevating blood pressure. ACE inhibitors, such as enalapril, lower blood pressure by preventing the formation of angiotensin II thereby relaxing the arteries. ACE inhibitors also improve the effectiveness of the heart in patients with heart failure by reducing the blood pressure that the heart must maintain.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store tablets at room temperature below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Refrigerate the liquid suspension between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C). Discard any unused suspension after 30 days. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Possible Side Effects
You may experience headache, dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, nausea, dry cough or blurred vision as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fainting, decreased sexual ability. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: change in the amount of urine, signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat). This drug may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver problems. If you notice any of the following highly unlikely but very serious side effects, seek immediate medical attention: yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, stomach/abdominal pain, persistent fatigue, persistent nausea. A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling (especially of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not share this medication with others. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney function, potassium blood level) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details. Have your blood pressure checked regularly while taking this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure at home. Discuss this with your doctor.