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Blood Pressure Drug Causes Cough

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Q. I have been taking lisinopril for seven months to control my high blood pressure. Soon I developed a hacking cough. When it wouldn’t go away I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist. He shrugged and said this comes with age.

When I complained to my regular doctor he gave me a course of antibiotics, but there was no relief. I called back and was given a different antibiotic prescription.

Eventually, my wife mentioned my cough to the pharmacist who pointed out this is a common complaint with lisinopril. When we brought this to my doctor’s attention, he agreed and finally took me off the drug. How could this happen?

A. Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor. Like other blood pressure drugs in this class (Accupril, Altace, benazepril, captopril, enalapril, ramipril and quinapril), lisinopril can cause cough as an unpleasant and common complication. This kind of hacking cough won’t go away with cough medicine.

We are shocked that neither your lung specialist nor your regular doctor figured this out. Antibiotics are inappropriate for this kind of drug-induced cough.

There are other medications to control blood pressure. ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) such as Avapro, Benicar, Cozaar and Diovan are less likely to cause a chronic cough. For more information about pros and cons of hypertension medications and non-drug ways to lower blood pressure we are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

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I, too, was put on lisinopril to combat elevated b.p. & found it caused me to cough. I was then put on Diovan & it seemed to cause muscle pain so I discontinued it. I have now been taking Hydrochlorothiazide (25mg)plus a weak dose of Amlodipine (2.5mg). No side effects but no consistent improvement. I've very recently tried adding curry & tumeric to my food (mainly fish & vegetables) and do notice a stabilization each time I practice qi gong or t'ai chi, so it's hard to determine what the drugs accomplish. But at least they don't seem to harm me. EJ

I, too, took Lisinopril for a good while, and eventually developed a monster cough that would not go way. My pulmonologist said this is a common side effect, and she recommended Cozaar. Asked for his opinion, my primary physician concurred. That took care of it, cough is gone.

I have also been taking lisinopril and metoprolol tartrate for high blood pressure. I, have the hacking cough too. The only thing I've found that helps at times is sucking on ice cubes or crushed ice, especially if you get a spell of coughing when you are dining out. SB

I have been on Lisnopril since October with increased dosage from 5 to 10 mg. In the last two weeks I have developed a horrible hacking cough which keeps me up at night and makes people run away from me.

I also had the same problem. My primary care physician changed my medication to Cozaar and the problem cleared up. If you had contacted the physician that wrote the prescription, I am surprised they were not aware of this as a side effect, particularly if you had just started taking this medication.

My mom took lisinopril over 10 years ago and her doctor at the time advised based on the extreme cough she developed it could affect her children. I developed high blood pressure symptoms and tried 2 different drugs before my doctor prescribed lisinopril. The immediate improvement in my blood pressure was remarkable, however I too developed the hacking cough and thankfully my mom remembered this was the same medicine she took with the same side effect.

I found this info extremely helpful as my husband developed the same cough and his doctor kept writing prescriptions for antibiotics, cough medicine, and even suggested he go to an allergist. Once he stopped taking the medication it went away. He has decided since his BP was borderline, he is going to try to manage it by diet and exercise and already is feeling better!

my general physician put me on lisnopril. my bp went down,but, i developed such a severe cough that once i started coughing i could not stop until i vomited. physically exhausting and socially embarrassing. when i consulted my md, she said i had allergies that caused my cough. All the allergy tests showed zero allergies. Finally a knowledgeable Ear, nose & throat specialist immediately recognized my lisopril induced cough when i had a coughing fit in his waiting room.

He informed my md i needed a change of bp medicine. Unfortunately, my regular md would not accept this information. Therefore, i found a new primary care md who works with my ENT. i now take cozaar for my bp, cough gone!

My husband takes Lisinopril-hctz and is kept awake night after night with the dry cough. He mentioned it to his doctor and his doctor said it's not the medication because it just happens at night. I'm going to tell my husband to insist on a medication change. Not sleeping raises his BP more than anything!

My Mom has developed this cough to the point she rarely goes out to social functions--at 81, she's becoming more isolated. I can't convince her, or her doctor, to try something else.

Now, my husband has started lisinopril--and is coughing, and insisting it's drainage! No wonder so many of us avoid doctors--

My voice gets very raspy if I talk more than a minute or so and if I keep talking I lose it altogether for a while. Two ENT's said it's age related. I'm 69. Someone said it's form the inhalers I use. So I don't know if it's the inhalers, Spiriva and Qvar, or the Lisinopril. What do you think?

my mom is on ramipril and she has a hacking cough that does not let her sleep and finds it very embarrassing when she is out, she is almost gagging at times, she needs help.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: SHE NEEDS TO TELL HER DOCTOR THAT SHE IS EXPERIENCING THIS SIDE EFFECT SO THAT A DIFFERENT TYPE OF DRUG CAN BE PRESCRIBED.

I took lisinopril and it caused me to cough uncontrollably. I now take Avapro and am dry as well as hoarse. I have been to an ENT who tells me there is nothing of concern either down my throat or in my nose. I am left with the feeling that it is the Avapro..what else is there that won't cause these symptoms? All of this is very annoying. I might add that my blood pressure is very erratic, up and down. Occasionally my heart beats rapidly, any advice would be greatly appreciated..

I had good control of my blood pressure with Atacand HCT but due to my insurance company, I was forced to switch to a different medication. My MD put me on Prinivil and Prinizide and I too developed a horrible, dry cough. I work in the medical field but it took a few days for it to sink in that it was the new BP meds. I have gone back to my Atacand HCT, however, the cough is much better but not totally gone. How long does it take the cough to clear up once you get off the ACE inhibitors??

All of these meds-Plendil-Lisinopril-Norvasc-Cozaar-HCTZ-Plendil-& Toprol XL all causes me to cough violently. I truly believe it is the ace inhibitors that are doing so. I have had 2 surgeries to correct the incontinence that has been caused by these meds. Disgusting. What is left?

I also am suffering with a drug hacking cough 24 seven. I was put on Linsinopril and get no sleep, throw up my meals and have no control of my bowels when I have a coughing attack. I have now been put on a new medicine that suppose to be better for me call Exforge, and so far I am having the same problem. I must take ten days and if I see no change then I am to see a Pulmonary specialist. I think I will stop taking this medicine and go to a herbalist.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: EXFORGE (AMLODIPINE + VALSARTAN) SHOULD BE LESS LIKELY THAN LISINOPRIL TO CAUSE COUGH. PLEASE CHECK IN WITH YOUR DOCTOR INSTEAD OF STOPPING YOUR MEDICINE SUDDENLY. THERE ARE OTHER BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINES THAT SHOULD NOT CAUSE COUGH; YOUR COUGH SHOULD ALSO BE INVESTIGATED IN CASE IT IS CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE.

I too have developed a monster cough after 30 days on Linsinopril; just got my first refill. Used ice water on a short flight recently, and managed to keep from being embarrassed. Would taking it on alternate days be an option? It does produce good results.

Chalk up another one for lisinopril. I just recently got back on a BP Med and am having extreme coughing at night when in bed and when I roll over on my side and in the am when I awake and get up. This med has to go! I smoke :( and even the smokes don't cause me to cough to this extreme!

How long does it take for the Lisinopril to leave your system? I was on it four months and a couple weeks.

I, also was on Lisinopril & developed the horrible dry cough. Cough for over 3 mos. Went to the family Dr., had antibiotics, etc. Finally went to an allergist & right away he knew it was the Lisinopril. Family Dr. changed me to Benicar & I find I'm starting to cough again. Has anyone had any luck with any others? Tired of coughing.

I too am a victim of lisinopril, and I think they should take that stuff off the market.
My blood pressure was up when I was taking it and went down after I stopped taking lisinopril. I have a chronic dry cough and wish I had never seen any blood pressure medication. I had a dry cough for three weeks. How long does it take to get over it?

I was on lisinopril for 3 mo.'s I too developed a horrible cough, I went to 3different Dr.s and 2 nurse practitioners they put me on all kinds of antibiotics, different cough meds. nothing helped. My Dr. took me off lisinopril for 2 weeks, the coughing continued, so he put me back on lisinopril, but I did not take it. My arthritis Dr. prescribed a different one. I had my cough from the first of March till the first of September.

My doc put me on linsinopril and I also developed a cough and always felt tired. I just stopped taking it. I feel back to normal, after two weeks my bp is still 130/70.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MAKE SURE YOU CHECK BACK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. DISCONTINUING BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE WITHOUT MEDICAL SUPERVISION IS NOT RECOMMENDED!

I developed an annoying cough. I am always clearing my throat. I also have coughing spasms many times a day. At night they keep me up or wake me up. It is awful. I don't have a cold. I began taking Crestor and Coreg in March. I don't know if either of these medication are causing my cough. Does anyone have any similar problems? I just need to associate it with one of the drugs I am taking so that I know how to handle it. Thanks.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: NEITHER OF YOUR DRUGS IS KNOWN FOR CAUSING COUGH.

My friend was given lisinopril, which he started taking on the 7th of June of 2010. By the 15th of June he was back at the doctor's complaining that he couldn't taste anything. They took him off it right away and said his taste should come back in 5 to 22 days. Will his sense of taste ever come back? His doctor's office called him the other day to see if he could taste anything, which makes me think they're getting nervous. Now I'm nervous that his stupid doctor, who just throws medications at him, had ruined this sense for him permanently.
Also, this friend developed a problem with his sinuses being full all the time after taking this drug. So the doctor, without testing him for allergies, put him on allergy meds. Is the sinus problem the fault of the damned lisinopril, too? I gave my friend some saline to spray in his nose, which helps some, but I can tell by the way his voice sounds that his sinuses are still full, though his nasal passages are clear. He is not running a fever and his lungs are clear. This has gone on for a month! Please help!

I've been researching this issue because my husband has had a hacking cough that causes him to vomit for several weeks now. He recently started on Cozaar, which curiously it is claimed here does not cause coughing. He's stopped taking it from this morning so we're anxious to see if the cough clears this week.

I accept the medical opinion that high blood pressure is dangerous and shouldn't be stopped suddenly, but it's effect on my husband is not debilitating as this cough is. I also strongly believe that doctors shouldn't be prescribing medication when diet and exercise will reduce BP. When my husband was doing triathlons, his BP was perfect. A little discipline goes a long way, and people shouldn't resort to drugs unless there's absolutely no other natural alternative.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: ALTHOUGH COZAAR IS LESS LIKELY TO CAUSE COUGH THAN AN ACE INHIBITOR LIKE LISINOPRIL, IT CAN CAUSE COUGH IN SOME PEOPLE. YOUR HUSBAND NEEDS TO DISCUSS THIS WITH HIS DOCTOR. HE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SUFFER.

I also developed a severe cough after taking Benazepril HCL for bp. The doctor gave me a 14 day supply of antibiotics for the cough which didn't get any better. I went back expecting to be sent to an ent but she immediately said the Benazepril was causing the cough. She suggested I change to Cozaar and gave me some samples to take until I could check with my insurance company on a generic equivalent for Cozaar. Losartan Potassium is a generic equivalent and I picked it up today.

HI,
Was on lisinopril and noticed my hair started turning gray. Also had muscle cramps in calves and foot. Tenex is a better option, at least in my case.

My husband is on Benicar for Blood pressure & he is coughing until he vomits. We are getting desperate for relief. Since he is diabetic the doctor wants his blood pressure to be rather low.

I started taking Nifedipine ER 30 mg on a Thursday a.m. and it did lower my bp. Thursday afternoon I started coughing, not too bad but noticeable. On Friday I coughed even more. Saturday I called the Dr. and pharmacy and both said that the med wouldn't cause the coughing. Saturday night I coughed all night until early a.m. Then Sunday morning it was not as bad until I took another does. I also take Inderal 60 mg.

Is there other drug that will not cause the coughing? I'm reasonably sure it is the med.

People's Pharmacy response: Coughing is not considered a common reaction to nifedipine, but there certainly are other blood pressure medications.

I just sent a message but didn't check the box to be notified when follow up comments are posted. I am doing that now.

I had the cough and also lower leg cramps that both went away when I quit lisinopril. I won't rule out medication in the future but it wont be lisinopril. And also I would tell anyone to check with a trusted Doctor before having surgery and heavy pain medication while on lisinopril because it made my life a living hell after my knee surgery.

My mom developed a chronic cough from bp medicine. It was Losartum Potassium the side affect a dry cough and nasal congestion. Was taken immediately off it 2 weeks ago. I was told by a friend it took him over a month after his bp medicine was stopped to stop coughing.

I have been on Benazepril Hydrochloride 20mg for 7 months... since October 2012, for high blood pressure. I developed a bad cough, but had no idea it could be caused by my medicine. I had went to my doctor and they ended up giving me two different rounds of antibotics along with a prescription for some expensive cough med. that I did not get filled (thank goodness). Just happened to talk to someone who had a bad cough and their doctor told them it was due to them taking Lisinopril.

Their symptoms and mine were the same. No symptoms of congestion or a cold, just sinus drainage causing the cough. I decided to research it and found this site, which has been really helpful. It upsets me to think that all these months I have been trying to sleep sitting up in the bed because of the drainage and my sleep has been interrupted due to the coughing... uggg. I don't understand why a doctor with a degree, who has a patient on this med. would not know that it could cause a cough... he will now. I thought I might be dying of lung cancer or something. Thanks so much for the info...RELIEVED:)

My husband's blood pressure had been stable on Exforge and HCTZ for several years but recently, because of insurance, was forced to try a different combination of drugs to "prove" that less expensive options had been tried (even though he went through a long list of drugs years ago before he found this combination that worked.) So he started lisinopril and within a couple of days started with this cough and drainage that continued to get worse and worse.

After about 10 days of violent coughing, we figured out it was the lisinopril and the new doctor had FINALLY received the records from the old doctor documenting the meds which had been attempted so they came through with the approval for the Exforge. The cough did improve but didn't go away completely. Now it seems to be worsening again and we're afraid that the reaction to the Lisinopril has sensitized my husband so that he is now reacting to the Exforge. Does this make sense? Is there any hope of the cough going away or do we need to go back to the drawing board on BP medicines?


(The first of this year, my husband's company changed our insurance from BCBS Anthem back to BCBS of Alabama (We had BCBS Alabama for 30+ years and BCBS Anthem for 2 when his contract got transferred PLUS we were also given the choice of paying $1650 a year (MDVIP) or finding a new MD after 30 years with the same doctor. Not a fan of MDVIP OR insurance companies making medical treatment decisions!

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