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Zestril is one of the more recent entries in a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors.

The development of this group of medications almost reads like a medical mystery, starting with the venom of a poisonous Brazilian snake.

The bite of the deadly jararaca caused severe hemorrhaging. An extract from the venom was found to affect the kidney and ultimately blood pressure regulation through the conversion of angiotensin from one form to another.

This led to the creation of enzyme blockers in Capoten, Vasotec and Zestril which are revolutionizing the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Zestril is prescribed to lower blood pressure.

Side Effects and Interactions

People with kidney problems must be monitored extremely carefully, as Zestril can make kidney function worse. Even healthy people should have their physician monitor the kidneys periodically.

Zestril can cause a number of less serious but uncomfortable side effects.

Be alert for skin rash, headache, tiredness, an annoying dry cough, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, nasal congestion, heart rhythm disturbances and sexual difficulties.

Report any symptoms or suspected side effects without delay.

There are a number of compounds that can interact with Zestril. In general it is important to avoid potassium supplements, including low-sodium salt substitutes.

Diuretics such as Dyazide, Aldactazide and Moduretic which preserve potassium also can cause dangerous elevations in potassium.

Other drugs that can interact with Zestril include other diuretics, the arthritis medicine Indocin, the gout medicine Zyloprim and lithium.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure Zestril is safe in combination with any other drugs, or herbs, you take.

Special Precautions

The very first dose of Zestril you take may cause dizziness, especially for older people. Be especially careful until your body adjusts.

When you first start taking Zestril, be alert for a rare, but serious reaction. Some people have experienced swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat which can make breathing difficult if not impossible. This requires immediate emergency treatment.

Another uncommon but dangerous reaction is a drop in infection-fighting white blood cells. If you develop chills, fever, sore throat and mouth sores contact your physician promptly. Blood tests are required to detect this problem. This risk is greater for patients with certain predisposing conditions such lupus, scleroderma or kidney problems.

Zestril should not be taken by pregnant women in their second or third trimester unless there is no alternative. It may damage the fetus.

Taking the Medicine

Zestril may be taken with food or on an empty stomach. It should be swallowed at the same time every day to maintain consistent levels in the body. Don't swallow Zestril within two hours of taking an antacid, though.

Do not stop taking Zestril suddenly, as this could lead to complications. If you must discontinue the drug, your physician will instruct you in tapering off gradually.

If you found this information of interest, you may wish to subscribe to our free online newsletter. It offers questions and answers about drugs, home remedies, nutrition and non-drug approaches to healing; commentaries on the most pressing health issues of the day; special alerts on breaking health news as it happens and coverage of the top health headlines of the week. It's easy to subscribe to our online newsletter. Enter your email address in the white box on the upper right corner of this page just under Free email newsletter. Then click "join." Stay informed with us, The People's Pharmacy.
  • Currently 3.7/5
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I have some type of myalgia with muscle pain. My doctor doubled my lisinopril from 20 mg to 40 mg per day. Since that time I have had a dramatic increase in my pain with tight very sore muscles and tendons. I am wondering if this problem could be caused from the increase in lisinopril?


I sounds like it could, I hope you speak with your doctor because that are other medications to control blood pressure, do not forget to include some light exercise, and take time for meditation or relaxation.

I have been taking Lisinopril for about 8 years now, recently I went to see my cardiologist (not the original doctor who put me on lisinopril) and he took me off lisinopril completely with no tapering off. Since that time I began with a very annoying dry cough that I have been taking all kinds of cough medications to cease the coughing which it does, briefly, but once worn off the cough comes back again. What can I do to take this annoying dry cough away it is driving me crazy and I am a heart patient so it agitates me as well. Please HELP!!!! If possible.

Truly yours,


Been taking lisinopril for years. 5 mg. age 68. wt. 140.
Have always had tiny cough. No problem.
Have always gotten a little dizzy when standing up. No problem.

Last couple of years though I've gotten more and more dizzy on standing -- have to grasp for wall to avoid falling over if I forget to rise slowly.

Live in Florida. Usually no problem with heat, but last few years find can't do much outside in summer. And this year have had several episodes of extreme shortness of breath when just doing short errands in daytime.

Primary doc sent to cardiologist and have had normal tests. I think it's the lisinopril but the are both poo-pooing me. Is there a problem with lisinopril in the tropics?


I have begun taking lisinopril for 3 1/2 weeks. At first all seemed ok but after 3 weeks I began getting leg cramps every night. Just recent I have begun itching. I can see a rash develop. Usually the rash and itch occur in the evening. First I thought I was being bit by something and then it starting occurring every every night. The only relief that I can find before going to bed I take a hot bath in Oatmeal solution type product. It's getting annoying. Any one else having these problems?

I have been taking lisinopril for a few years now, and have had muscle cramps in legs and upper abdomen, but more recently cramps in hands, fingers, arms. They are severe enough that I am wanting to get off lisinopril. I am a very healthy eater, lots of fruits and veggies, no processed or fast food, so my diet is naturally high in potassium, low in sodium, and I am thinking this is the reason for the cramps, any comments would be helpful.


Johanna, I was wondering if you got a definitive solution to your problem. I had similar symptoms and the lisinopril actually helped. Heart cath detected 99% blocked artery that no other test (and there were many) detected.


I have been on lisinopril 20mg for almost 3 months. I am 55 it is controlling the blood pressure but I am having muscle pain in my arms with weakness. Just blow drying my hair is painful. Also I am having leg cramps. I walk 1 hour a day but now can no longer lift weights at the gym because of the pain and no strength. I have not ate bananas due to the potassium overload I had read about. I can't wait to see my doctor in a week so I can get off this drug I do not like it at all.

I have been on this medication for several years. I had no idea of the potassium problem with it. I do get bad leg cramps sometimes and had told the doctor and nothing was ever said of a possible problem with potassium. I thank you for your information.

I took Lisinopril for a number of years. I started having lots of problems: Cold hand and feet, tingling in one foot, abdominal bloating, terrible nasal stuffiness and sinus problems, post nasal drainage, some coughing, hoarseness, occasional leg cramps and hand cramps, fatigue, really dry eyes (two corneal abrasions) and mouth, dry skin, occasional acid reflux, occasional parasthesis, achy, sore joints, no energy, etc. Had MRI for my back and hip pain. I was tested for thyroid, reynaud's disease, SED rate, Rheumotoid factor, Sjogren’s etc. Everything was OK. Still complaining and tested for these things again a year or so later.

Then I developed blood problems... low white count, low platelets, low neutophils, low red blood cells, hemoglobin falling, hemocrit falling, RDW increasing. I was sent to a Hemotologist and had a bone marrow biopsy (ugh) and more tests. Nothing turned up.

I was then sent to a Rheumotologist and more tests. Nothing. Just some regular arthritis.

I had already started researching the Lisinopril. It was the only medication I was taking and it was the lowest dose. And sure enough I saw the possibility of the blood problems and host of other things. So I told my family doctor that I was stopping the Lisinopril HCTZ. The new drug he put me on has a number of the same side effects. So I decided to go cold turkey for one week to see what would happen.

Immediately, I was able to breath better than I had for years! The tingling in my foot went away and I dropped 10 pounds without really trying. I started getting my energy back and have felt better than I have in years. The dryness has improved. I still seem to have some muscle problems but it is SO much better.

I wish that I had never started taking BP medication. My doctor still doesn't think the Lisinopril caused the blood problems. He thinks it was a virus. But I charted my blood work for over 5 years and it showed a steady decline. And I sure do feel better now.

I recently took an ambulance to the emergency room with BP 210/108 and the emergency room doctors put me on Lisinopril--20 mg and 10mg Amlodipine. This was a little over a week ago. Now I suffer from Leg cramps, arm cramps, dizziness, and general fatigue. So far, I am not impressed with this drug.

I have been using this drug for 2 years and started having the same problems. I recently dropped 15 pounds and my blood pressure is now 100/65 and I feel REALLY tired all the time. I want to stop taking this drug. I believe with my weight loss that my pressure will be normal. Did you stop cold turkey or did you wean off?

My husband has been taking Lisinopril and Atenolol for several yrs. He had bariatric surgery 9 months ago. He is now 348lbs (down from 625). Ever since surgery his potassium has been trending down. Before surgery it was 3.8-4.4, but after surgery it's been 3.4, 3.3, and 3.2. He's been having leg cramps in the mornings making it difficult to walk. Can he take a potassium supplement? How do you know when you don't need the Lisinopril anymore?

My new doctor took me off Lisinopril and after taking 365 mg of iron, 100 mg of Vitamin B-2 and a healthy dose of vitamin-A, my cough is gone. It was gone in one month. My doctor told me it would be with me for months, possibly years but the iron did the trick, plus getting off a bad drug. The aches and pains associated with Lisinopril have not yet gone away and it looks like those might be my new norm.

Unfortunately, the new drug I am on, Doxazosin is an alpha blocker and I am a heart patient. It is possible I may not suffer from the drug and I do not appear to have any side effects so for now I feel comfortable taking it, but Lisinopril is just about as bad as the statins I had to take; they too almost killed me. I would tell people to get off Lisinopril but I am not a doctor. In fact, my doctor says I have a very big imagination.

I guess I imagine it when my hand suddenly refuses to hold a cup and the cup falls to the floor because of the sudden pain in my arm. I guess I also imagined the cough and the kidney damage that Lisinopril gave me. I wish everyone on this drug a whole lot of luck and hopefully, your doctors will get you on something better.

My blood pressure had been trending up over the past two years. Other than the concern for my blood pressure escalating I have always been healthy and never had to take any type of medications. I thought that maybe the increased blood pressure might be due to being premenopausal. At my last doctor visit, a month ago, my blood pressure was 158/102. She put me on Lisinopril. After being on the medication for about two weeks I noticed that I started becoming extremely short of breath and felt tired most of the time.

I just refilled my prescription and read the side effects. I have not taken the medication for the past three days and plan to call my doctor first thing Monday morning. I have always been active and I am not overweight. My diet hasn't always been the best but I've been working to change that. Since I started this medication I feel horrible, the shortness of breath is the worse, I have trouble even walking up our stairs and now I don't even feel like exercising.

My mother's blood pressure has been high. She went to the hospital a few weeks ago, with very high blood pressure. They thought that she had a stroke, but she didn't have one. She is taking Lisinopril. When she left the hospital, she was taking 20 mgs. of Lisinopril and 10 mgs. of Amlodipine. Last Thursday, she went to her doctor. Her blood pressure was 173/86, so he increased the dosage of Lisinopril to 30 mgs. She went back today, four days later, to have her blood pressure taken again and it was 156/88. He increased her dosage again, to 40 mgs. She is 84 years old. I have read, that it takes a few weeks for Lisinopril to take effect. I am very worried that the dosage was increased too soon, without seeing if the 30 mgs. would be sufficient. I am so worried about her. I would appreciate any assistance. Thank you

I finally convinced my doctor to take me off Lisinopril and all the problems of aches and pains, including high blood pressure went away after I decreased my salt to a minimum and went on a small dosage of Amlodipine, 5mg once daily. I also got off my Metoprolol because I discovered it reacts against other Blood pressure medicines. I also discovered that Doxazosin is a bad drug that causes severe muscle aches that last a long time after one gets off that drug. Rather than stay on drugs that have debilitating effects, I had my prostate cleaned out. Now, the only drug I am on is 5mg of Amlodipine. My blood pressure is now 125/72 nearly every day all day. Lisinopril is a bad drug for many people. If you are on Lisinopril, and are having muscle aches and pains, get off of it and have your doctor try Amlodipine, a small dosage works for me.

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