ACE inhibitors

ACE inhibitors, are a class of drug including Ramipril, Lisinopril, Perindopril and Catopril for example.

Mechanism of action

ACE inhibitors prevent the formation of a hormone, Angiotensin II. They do this by blocking a chemical called Angiotensin converting enzyme. As a consequence, the blood vessels dilate or relax and the kidneys reabsorb less water.  Both of these effects cause a net reduction in blood pressure. These drugs also protect the heart, preventing cardiac remodelling’ (or alteration of the structure of the heart in heart failure). Hence these drugs can be used in patients with hypertension and cardiac failure.

Potential side-effects

ACE-inhibitors should be used with caution in individuals with heart failure, liver failure and kidney failure.  Common side effects include: dry cough, kidney dysfunction, drop in blood pressure (hypotension), dizziness, rash.