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Pronounced: LOW-trel
Generic name: Amlodipine and Benazepril Hydrochloride

Why is this drug prescribed: Lotrel is used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It is a combination medicine that is used when treatment with a single drug has not been successful or has caused side effects. One component, amlodipine, is a calcium channel blocker. It eases the workload of the heart by slowing down the passage of nerve impulses and hence the contractions of the heart muscle. This improves blood flow through the heart and throughout the body and reduces blood pressure. The other component, benazepril, is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. It works by preventing the transformation of a hormone called angiotensin I into a more potent substance that increases salt and water retention in your body.

Most important fact about this drug: You must take Lotrel regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may take 1 to 2 weeks for the full effect of Lotrel to be seen. Even if you are feeling well, you must continue to take the medication. Lotrel does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take this medication: Take Lotrel exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Try to take your medication at the same time each day, such as before or after breakfast, so that it is easier to remember. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. --Storage information... Store at room temperature. Store away from moisture and light; avoid excessive heat.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Lotrel. 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: Cough Less common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, anxiety, back pain, bloating and gas, constipation, cramps, decreased sex drive, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, excessive urination, fluid retention and swelling, flushing, headache, hot flashes, impotence, insomnia, muscle and bone pain, muscle cramps, nausea, nervousness, rash, skin disorders, sore throat, tremor, weakness and fatigue Rare side effects may include: Chest pain, hair loss, heart attack, gout, nerve pain, ringing in the ears, upper respiratory infection

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to amlodipine, benazepril, or any 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 Lotrel, 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. Lotrel can cause low blood pressure, especially if you are taking high doses of diuretics. 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, use this drug with caution. If you have kidney disease or severe liver disease, diabetes, lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma (a rare disease affecting the blood vessels or connective tissue), use Lotrel with caution. Excessive sweating, severe diarrhea, or vomiting could make you lose too much water, causing a severe drop in blood pressure. If you notice a yellow coloring to your skin or the whites of your eyes, stop taking the drug and notify your doctor immediately. You could be developing liver problems. If you develop a persistent, dry cough, tell your doctor. It may be due to the medication and, if so, will disappear if you stop taking Lotrel. In a medical emergency and before you have surgery, notify your doctor or dentist that you are taking Lotrel.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Lotrel 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 Lotrel with the following: Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) Potassium supplements (Slow-K) Potassium-sparing diuretics such as Aldactazide, Moduretic, and Maxzide Diuretics such as Diuril, Lasix, HydroDIURIL

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Lotrel 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 and are taking Lotrel, contact your doctor immediately to discuss the potential hazard to your unborn child. Minimal amounts of benazepril appear in breast milk. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding while you are taking Lotrel.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Your doctor will closely monitor the effects of this drug and adjust the dosage according to your blood pressure response. Lotrel is available in capsules that contain 2.5 milligrams of amlodipine and 10 milligrams of benazepril, capsules containing 5 milligrams of amlodipine and 10 or 20 milligrams of benazepril and capsules containing 10 milligrams of amlodipine and 20 milligrams of benazepril. Small, older, frail, or liver-impaired individuals usually start with the lowest dose. CHILDREN: Safety and effectiveness in children have not been established.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. Although there is no specific information available, a sudden drop in blood pressure and rapid heartbeat would be the primary symptoms of a Lotrel overdose. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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