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Pronounced: Lo-TEN-sin
Generic name: Benazepril hydrochloride

Why is this drug prescribed: Lotensin is used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It is effective when used alone or in combination with thiazide diuretics. Lotensin is in a family of drugs called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors. It works by preventing a chemical in your blood called angiotensin I from converting into a more potent form that increases salt and water retention in your body. Lotensin also enhances blood flow throughout your blood vessels.

Most important fact about this drug: You must take Lotensin regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may be several weeks before you get the full benefit of Lotensin; and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Lotensin does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take this medication: Lotensin can be taken with or without food. Do not use salt substitutes containing potassium. Take Lotensin exactly as prescribed. Suddenly stopping Lotensin could cause your blood pressure to increase. --If you miss a dose... Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never try to "catch up" by doubling the dose. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container. Protect from light.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Lotensin. If you develop swelling of your face, around the lips, tongue, or throat; swelling of arms and legs; or difficulty swallowing, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may need emergency treatment. Be especially wary if you're an African American: Your chances of this type of reaction are higher. Severe allergic reactions are also more likely if you are being given bee or wasp venom to guard against future reactions to stings. More common side effects may include: Dizziness, headache Less common side effects may include: Cough, dizziness upon standing up, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea Rare side effects may include: Allergic reactions, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, blisters, bronchitis, chest pain, constipation, dark tarry stool containing blood, decreased sex drive, difficulty sleeping, fainting, fluid retention, flushing, impotence, infection, inflammation or peeling of the skin, inflammation of the stomach or pancreas, itching, joint pain, low blood pressure, muscle pain, nervousness, pounding heartbeat, rash, sensitivity to light, shortness of breath, sinus inflammation, sweating, swelling of arms, legs, face, tingling or pins and needles, urinary infections, vomiting, weakness

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Lotensin or other angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, do not take this medication.

Special warnings about this medication: Your kidney function should be assessed when you start taking Lotensin and then monitored for the first few weeks. If you have poor kidney function, there is a slight chance that Lotensin may reduce your supply of infection-fighting white blood cells. The risk of this problem rises if you also have a disease such as lupus. If you're on kidney dialysis, your chances of an allergic reaction to the drug are increased. Lotensin can cause low blood pressure, especially if you are also taking a diuretic. You may feel light-headed or faint, especially during the first few days of therapy. If these symptoms occur, contact your doctor. Your dosage may need to be adjusted or discontinued. If you have congestive heart failure, this drug should be used with caution. Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium without talking to your doctor first. If you develop a sore throat or fever, you should contact your doctor immediately. It could indicate a more serious illness. Excessive sweating, dehydration, severe diarrhea, or vomiting could make you lose too much water, causing your blood pressure to become too low.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Lotensin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Lotensin with the following: Diuretics such as Lasix and HydroDIURIL Lithium (Lithonate) Potassium supplements such as Slow-K Potassium-sparing diuretics such as Moduretic and Dyazide

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Lotensin can cause injury or death to developing and newborn babies, especially if taken during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant and are taking Lotensin, contact your doctor immediately to discuss the potential hazard to your unborn child. Minimal amounts of Lotensin appear in breast milk. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: For people not taking a diuretic drug, the usual starting dose is 10 milligrams, once a day. Regular total dosages range from 20 to 40 milligrams per day either taken in a single dose or divided into 2 equal doses. The maximum dose is 80 milligrams per day. Your doctor will closely monitor the effect of this drug and adjust it according to your individual needs. For people already taking a diuretic, the diuretic should be stopped, if possible, 2 to 3 days before taking Lotensin. This reduces the possibility of fainting or light-headedness. If blood pressure cannot be controlled by Lotensin alone, then diuretic use should begin again. If the diuretic cannot be discontinued, the starting dosage of Lotensin should be 5 milligrams. For people with reduced kidney function, the dosages should be individualized according to the amount of reduced function. The usual starting dose in these instances is 5 milligrams per day, adjusted upwards to a maximum of 40 milligrams per day. CHILDREN: The safety and effectiveness of Lotensin have not been established in children.

Overdosage: Although there is no specific information available, a sudden drop in blood pressure would most likely be the primary symptom of Lotensin overdose. If you suspect a Lotensin overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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