Lisinopril (Zestril)

Brand Names:Prinivil, Qbrelis, Zestril

Lisinopril is a prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure in adults and kids who are at least 6 years old.

This medication is also prescribed to treat congestive heart failure or improve the chances of survival after a heart attack in adults.

Lisinopril is in a class of medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. It works by decreasing chemicals that tighten blood vessels, lowering blood pressure so blood can flow more smoothly and the heart can pump blood better.

Lisinopril also has a favorable effect on how the heart remodels in heart failure or after a heart attack.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved lisinopril in 1988.

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What is Lisinopril (Zestril) used for?

  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Diabetic Nephropathy
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Pre-eclampsia/Eclampsia
  • Heart Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Hypertensive Congestive Heart Failure
  • Hypertensive Heart (w/ CHF) and Renal Disease
  • Hypertensive Heart (w/o CHF) and Renal Disease
  • Hypertensive Renal Disease
  • Hypertensive Retinopathy
  • Renovascular Hypertension
  • Hypertensive Encephalopathy
  • Hypertensive Heart Disease
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What is the most important information I should know about Lisinopril (Zestril)?

You should not use lisinopril if you are allergic to it, or if you:

  • have a history of angioedema;
  • recently took a heart medicine called sacubitril; or
  • are allergic to any other ACE inhibitor, such as benazepril, captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, moexipril, perindopril, quinapril, ramipril, or trandolapril.

Do not take lisinopril within 36 hours before or after taking medicine that contains sacubitril (such as Entresto).

If you have diabetes, do not use lisinopril together with any medication that contains aliskiren (a blood pressure medicine).

You may also need to avoid taking lisinopril with aliskiren if you have kidney disease.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • liver disease; or
  • high levels of potassium in your blood.

Do not use if you are pregnant, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Lisinopril can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.

You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of Lisinopril (Zestril)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; severe stomach pain; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. You may be more likely to have an allergic reaction if you are African-American.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • fever, sore throat;
  • high potassium--nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement;
  • kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • headache, dizziness;
  • cough; or
  • chest pain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Can I take Lisinopril (Zestril) if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Do not use if you are pregnant, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Lisinopril can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.

You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.

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What drugs and food should I avoid while taking Lisinopril (Zestril)?

Drinking alcohol can further lower your blood pressure and may increase certain side effects of lisinopril.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise, in hot weather, or by not drinking enough fluids. Lisinopril can decrease sweating and you may be more prone to heat stroke.

Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes, unless your doctor has told you to.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

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Dosage Guidelines & Tips

How to take Lisinopril (Zestril)?

Use Lisinopril (Zestril) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Drink plenty of water each day while you are taking this medicine.

Lisinopril can be taken with or without food.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your kidney function and electrolytes may also need to be checked.

Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking lisinopril. This can lead to very low blood pressure, a serious electrolyte imbalance, or kidney failure.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using lisinopril.

If you have high blood pressure, keep using this medicine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze the oral liquid.

What should I do if I missed a dose of Lisinopril (Zestril)?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

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Overdose Signs

What happens if I overdose on Lisinopril (Zestril)?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on: Lisinopril (Zestril),  call your doctor or the Poison Control center
(800) 222-1222
If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Lisinopril (Zestril), call 911
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What to Expect

Lisinopril starts to lower blood pressure within a few hours after you take it, but it may take a few weeks for you to see the full effects.

If you’re using lisinopril for heart failure, it could take weeks or months before you notice improved symptoms.

People who take lisinopril after a heart attack may not have any symptoms and may not feel different when using this medicine. It’s important to keep taking lisinopril, even if you don’t notice any changes.

If you have high blood pressure and heart failure, you’ll likely take lisinopril for a long time, possibly even for the rest of your life.

After a heart attack, lisinopril is usually prescribed for at least six weeks.

Everyday Health

Additional Dosage Information

Your lisinopril dosage will depend on your medical issues and your blood pressure levels. Your doctor will check your levels first.

Depending on your condition, the usual starting dose is between 2.5 milligrams (mg) and 10 mg. Typically, doctors start patients on a lower dose and gradually increase it over a period of a few weeks.

Everyday Health

Secondary Uses

Sometimes, medicines like lisinopril are used for conditions they aren’t approved for. This is known as an “off-label” use.

Lisinopril may play a role in helping the following medical conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • Migraines
  • Infertility in men
  • Mitral valve regurgitation
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Medical Disclaimer

Drugs A-Z provides drug information from Everyday Health and our partners, as well as ratings from our members, all in one place. Cerner Multum™ provides the data within some of the Overview, Uses, Warnings, Side Effects, Pregnancy, Interactions, Dosage, Overdose, and Images sections. The information within all other sections is proprietary to Everyday Health.