woman with glasses coughing

Q. I developed a dry cough soon after my doctor diagnosed me with hypertension and put me on Altace. I would cough and cough until I would gag and throw up at work into my trashcan because the coughing would just come on so suddenly I didn’t have time to make it to the ladies room. I even had to carry a small trash bag in my car because I was afraid that I would throw up during my commute to and from work.

I asked my doctor for another medicine. He prescribed lisinopril, and I am still having the same problem. What’s going on?

A. Both of your blood pressure medicines are ACE inhibitors and can cause a persistent cough in susceptible people. We are surprised that your doctor didn’t mention this side effect.

A survey of participants on the iGuard.org Web site revealed that only one patient in four on lisinopril had been told that the drug could cause cough. More than a third of the respondents had a chronic cough.
The iGuard.org Web site offers personalized estimates of drug risk and interaction concerns. To give you more information about other hypertension drugs, including non-drug approaches, we are sending you our newly revised Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

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  1. Drew Eldridge
    Danville, Illinois

    This drug is very dangerous, there is a warning of a cough and dizziness but nothing of the magnitude my father and I experienced. He has been taking this drug for some time and has had a regular cough. This past Saturday evening we were driving back from the grocery store and he had a coughing attack, by time I had looked up from my phone my father, who was driving, my cherry red and passed out in his seat. Were went from the left lane to the right lane and crashed into a building which then collapsed on top of us. We are lucky to be alive no thanks to lisinopril. It may help blood pressure but the side effects and misinformation is far too dangerous to be prescribing it to patients

  2. Kathie

    I take Lisinopril also and the cough usually comes in bursts, it is not constant. I get honey cough drops and it stops the cough the minute you suck on it.

  3. Laura

    My doctor changed my prescription seven different times for my blood pressure medication because I had too many side effects. One of the prescriptions was benzapril. After taking benzapril, I developed an unproductive cough. I have stopped benzapril but I still have a chronic cough until I gag and vomit without warning, plus I have wheezing. I am unable to engaged in conversations or stay in public very long. I change my trash can liner about 4 times daily.

  4. Diane

    This is the worst feeling in the world. Coughing morning, noon and all night long from the blood pressure medicine. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy and I haven’t had any sleep for months. This is torture and these doctors should warn people about the side affects. Please help me get rid of this horrible hacking cough that causes me to not be able to be around people because it’s so embarrassing and miserable.

  5. barbara b.
    New Jersey

    Took Lisinopril for several years and no cough at 20 mg with Verapmil 240 mg == new doctor lowered the lisinopril to mg and now I have suddenly developed coughing so hard that I have to get out of bed at 4 a.m. Sometimes I almost vomit. I was tired and had fatigue really bad and was in a clinic and they never mentioned blood pressure medications. I also get terrible headaches when I am sleeping but once I am not lying down, they go away. I had migraines for years and that is why I was given blood pressure meds originally. I had early menopause (40) and that was one of the conditions that resulted.

    Now I have fatigue, sweats, shortness of breath sometimes and small pains in my chest every so often. I continue on with gardening and physical things that I always have done and it seems to be getting harder and harder. Sometimes I have to go to sleep immediately in the afternoon or I feel I will collapse. Very very frustrating situation since I have no idea what all of these changes are about and so far, no doctor has told me about medication related problems.

  6. pharmacist Butch
    nichols sc

    enalapril surprisingly shows less cough than placebo.

    • Terry Graedon

      And yet, cough is listed as the most common side effect of enalapril.

  7. eg

    All the same issues. The cough is UNBEARABLE.
    Going to see Pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic, this week. Will see what he or she wants to try.
    It is a HORRIBLE condition, and only we, who suffer from it, know the pain of it all!
    Great site – best I’ve found on just about ANY subject!
    Thank you –

  8. billy mc

    Amazing. 6 years of comments all very much the same. Started on BP medication 2 weeks ago.(2mg) Perindopril tert-butylamine, and yes you have probably guessed, dry cough and vomiting. Seeing doctor tomorrow to discuss. Will update.

  9. JV

    I am a male in my 30s and rarely have take any medicines in my life at all as I am prone to side effects of meds.
    The doc had warned me about my high blood pressure which has been too high for couple years now. diagnosed as hypertension it did start to effect my cognitive thinking skills and decision making I acted out of character. I’m very reasoned and logical normally.
    I reluctantly agreed to take blood pressure medicine as advised. I’ve been on it 4 weeks and 3days –
    LISINOPRIL HYDROCHLOROTHIAZIDE TABLETS USP 10MG /12.5MG Rx only and for the last few days I’ve got a persistent very annoying harsh cough. It starts dry feeling almost like hairs in throat and fits coughing so hard and long I nearly blackout or see stars I feel my whole abdominal jerk move lungs and throat are tired and my throat feels sore swollen I’ve coughed so much.
    It is literally tiring and stop me enjoying anything even tv or reading is disrupted its so uncomfortable. its frustrating espec. when in conversation having to stop and leave the chat! I’ve tried cough sweets and lozenges and drinking water helps a little. It seems to worse if I change from standing to laying down. I have had little sleep with it either. am over tired from it now. I’ve been choking coughing even as I type here!
    has anyone found a good bp medicine that doesn’t give us this cough or mess with our parts please!?

  10. Debra

    I’ve been on Metropolol 50mg for about 4 weeks now.. and have been coughing. Not severe but bothersome enough. Just wondering if anyone had has had the same problems with this.

    • Curt

      Exact same drug I’m on for 7 weeks now. I developed a cough and it is getting worse. I can hardly have a conversation without coughing. Did help my blood pressure. I’d like to get off this drug and try a lower dose of something else.

  11. Jaronet V.

    Wow, I had no idea the blood pressure medication was causing this terrible cough. I had a chest-x-ray and blood work performed results everything negative. My doctor never stated the side effect of benazepril. I can’t continue having this awful cough, phlegm, an irritated throat and hoarseness. Even worst than the coughing, I have not being able to sleep. This is causing more problems than just a cough. This has cause me to be very sleeping during the day and my job is transportation. I do plan to contact my doctor asap. Hopefully, someone will help the many people who suffering with this chronic cough.

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