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Pronounced: VAZ-oh-tek
Generic name: Enalapril maleate

Why is this drug prescribed: Vasotec is a high blood pressure medication known as an ACE inhibitor. 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. It is effective when used alone or in combination with other medications, especially thiazide-type diuretics. It is also used in the treatment of congestive heart failure, usually in combination with diuretics and digitalis, and is prescribed as a preventive measure in certain conditions that could lead to heart failure.

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

How should you take this medication: Vasotec can be taken with or without food. Do not use salt substitutes containing potassium without first consulting your doctor. Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take two doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Keep container tightly closed. Store at room temperature and protect from moisture.

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 Vasotec. Side effects may include: Abdominal pain, abnormal dreams, abnormal skin sensations such as numbness or prickling, anaphylactoid reactions (severe allergic reactions), angina pectoris (chest pain, often accompanied by a feeling of choking or impending death), angioedema (swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat, arms and legs, difficulty swallowing), asthma, blisters, blood abnormalities, blood clots or foreign material in the lungs, blurred vision, breast enlargement in males, bronchitis, confusion, constipation, cough, dark, tarry stool containing blood, decreased urination, depression, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, difficulty sleeping, digestive difficulty and stomach discomfort, dizziness, dizziness upon standing, dry eyes, dry mouth, excessive perspiration, fainting, fatigue, flank pain, fluid in lungs, flushing, hair loss, headache, heart palpitations, heart rhythm disturbances, hepatitis, herpes zoster, hives, impotence, inflammation of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, itching, lack of muscle coordination, liver failure, loss of appetite, loss of sense of smell, low blood pressure, low blood pressure upon standing, muscle cramps, nausea, nervousness, pinkeye (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, pounding heartbeat, rapid or slow heartbeat, rash, Raynaud's phenomenon (in which the fingers periodically turn pale, then blue), red skin (like sunburn), ringing in ears, runny nose, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, sore throat and hoarseness, stroke, taste alteration, tearing, tingling or pins and needles or burning sensation, upper respiratory infection, upset stomach, urinary tract infection, vertigo, vomiting, weakness, wheezing

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If you are sensitive or have ever had an allergic reaction to Vasotec or similar drugs, or if you have a history of angioedema (swollen throat and difficulty swallowing) related to previous treatment with ACE inhibitors, you should not take this medication. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions that you have experienced.

Special warnings about this medication: Vasotec has been known to cause a serious allergic reaction called angioedema. The symptoms are swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat; swelling of arms and legs; and difficulty swallowing or breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately. If you are taking bee or wasp venom to prevent an allergic reaction to stings, you may have a severe allergic reaction to Vasotec. If you are taking high doses of diuretics and Vasotec, you may develop excessively low blood pressure. You are at special risk if you have heart disease, kidney disease, or a potassium or salt imbalance. Some people on kidney dialysis have had a severe allergic reaction to Vasotec. There have been cases of serious blood disorders reported with the use of captopril, another ACE inhibitor drug. Your doctor should check your blood regularly while you are taking Vasotec. ACE inhibitors can cause fetal abnormalities and fetal and newborn deaths when used in pregnancy during the second and third trimesters. When pregnancy is detected, Vasotec should be discontinued as soon as possible. If you develop a sore throat or fever, you should contact your doctor immediately. It could indicate a more serious illness. Also, if your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow, contact your doctor at once. Excessive sweating, dehydration, severe diarrhea, or vomiting could prompt you to lose too much water, causing your blood pressure to drop dangerously. Be careful when exercising or when exposed to excessive heat.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Vasotec 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 Vasotec with the following: Diuretics such as Lasix and HydroDIURIL Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Motrin, and Naprosyn Potassium-containing salt substitutes Potassium-sparing diuretics such as Dyrenium and Midamor Potassium supplements such as K-Lyte and K-Tab

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Vasotec can cause birth defects, prematurity, and death to the developing or newborn baby. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Vasotec appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding until your treatment with Vasotec is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: High Blood Pressure The usual starting dose for people not using diuretics is 5 milligrams, taken once a day. The usual dose is 10 to 40 milligrams per day, taken as a single dose or divided into 2 smaller doses. If you are taking a diuretic, your physician may ask you to stop for 2 to 3 days before using Vasotec. Otherwise, he or she may give an initial dose of 2.5 milligrams of Vasotec under medical supervision before any further medication is prescribed. If you have a kidney disorder, your dosage will be adjusted according to its severity. To Treat Heart Failure This medication can be used in conjunction with digitalis and diuretics in people with heart disease. The usual starting dose is 2.5 milligrams twice a day. The usual regular dose is 2.5 to 20 milligrams each day, taken in 2 separate doses. The maximum daily dose is 40 milligrams, in 2 separate doses. To Prevent Heart Failure The usual starting dose is 2.5 milligrams twice a day, to be gradually increased to 20 milligrams a day divided into smaller doses. CHILDREN: Vasotec can be prescribed for high blood pressure in children 1 month to 16 years old. Dosage is determined by weight. The usual starting dose is 0.08 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight (up to 5 milligrams) once a day. Doses above 40 milligrams have not been tested in children.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect symptoms of a Vasotec overdose, seek medical attention immediately. A sudden drop in blood pressure is the primary effect of a Vasotec overdose.

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