lisinopril cough, 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 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 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. Lenora
    Albany, Ga. 31707

    I did not have a cough but my lower lip began to swell and was very sore. I got where it was painful to eat. I have been on Lisinoprel/hydrochlorot for years with no problem. The PA I saw, told me it was a reaction to the Lisinoprel and told me to stop taking it but it has continued for about 5 days now to be so painful I only eat in pain. This concerns me because there was no testing done and I wander if this condition could be something else.

  2. Paulie

    I have had this loose, productive, not dry, cough for several weeks. I first thought is was my regular allergies but it has not subsided. I have been on Metoprolol for years without this effect. My doctor suggested that the cough might be related to this drug. Is it sensible to assume that this side effect would happen after years of taking a drug?

  3. Kathy M.
    New York

    I read the instructions re: lisinopril-Hctz10-25mg and now I, too, have this awful cough. I have been on the medication since June 30th, 2016. It did lower the blood pressure, however, I was so sure the cough was from allergies that I went to the allergiest and was just informed that I have no allergies.

    I cough at the most inopportune times. The cough is so bad that tears run down my face. I am definitely going to stop taking this medication.

  4. ECP
    Buffalo, NY

    I took Lisinopril for a few years. Not only was I coughing and losing my voice but my throat was closing up when I tried to swallow even the smallest pill. I passed out four or five times in a period of 2 years. The final time I was wearing a Holter monitor. I recorded the event after taking a pill in the middle of the night and passing out. By morning my cardiologist called and sent me to the hospital where they told me my heart had stopped for 4 and a half seconds and they wanted to put a pacemaker in. I insisted it was my throat and not my heart and we requested a cat scan on my throat. They said it showed I had a goiter. I was taken off the Lisinopril and haven’t had a problem swallowing anything since. In my opinion this is a dangerous drug.

  5. Louie

    I started taking Lisinopril 10mgs about three months ago. The first two months no adverse reaction then on day going into the third month I began coughing as if there was dust in the air or something. Then I began to feel an itching sensation in my vocal cords or throat like as if I was getting a strep throat infection or something similar.

    I didn’t make the connection to Lisinopril until I started examining when this happened. I read the pharmacy printout that came with Lisinopril and noticed “dry cough” reaction experienced by some people. That’s when I realized my dry cough was caused by Lisinopril. I was coughing day and night. It would get worse when I lay down to sleep and made it difficult to fall asleep.

    The doctor prescribed Lisinopril because I am a diabetic and said I was a high risk for heart disease and renal failure NOT because I had high blood pressure. He said it was a preventive medicine along with baby aspirin that he prescribed for long term diabetics. If my coughing gets worse or leads to other medical conditions I will stop taking Lisinopril. In this case the risks do not outweigh the benefits of taking this medicine. The only reason I took it is for prevention of coronary disease. I’m sure there are other ways of preventing heart disease besides Lisinopril.

  6. barb

    LISINOPRIL cough can fracture ribs! I quit.

  7. ron
    brisbane australia

    Day 3 after I stopped taking blood pressure meds which caused horrendous coughing. As expected blood pressure went up o 170/94 not good on the second day. Cough is getting less and less each day.

    I decided to try another BP medication Minipress 1 mg. Minipress can be increased up to 29 mg a day for severe hypertension. 1.5 hours after taking minipress bp dropped from 170/94 to 127/86, not perfect but significantly better than first reading. Reading the literature MINIPRESS does not cause a cough at all, but does have other side effects.

    Cheers RonB

    • Terry Graedon

      We trust you and your doctor are in good communication as you undertake this experiment.

  8. ron

    l have been taking anti hypertensive medication for a long time. Coversyl for around 10 years and was always coughing. My doctor changed me over to Mobetec and the coughing is now worse to the point I avoid going places as people look at you as if you are contagious.

    My doctor ordered all manner of tests, all came back normal. It’s pretty sad when you have to diagnose yourself, when coughing with anti hypertensive medication is so common. Tomorrow is day 1 when I will not take any anti hypertensive medication. I will monitor my blood pressure and report daily as to whether the cough subsides or not.

    It is that bad I would rather live 3 months with no cough than live another 20 years with a chronic debilitating cough.

    I am a registered nurse and am aware of the ramifications. I will not start alternative anti hypertensive medicine till the cough is gone. I will exercise more, watch my diet and salt intake and do some relaxation training daily.

    • Terry Graedon

      Coversyl is perindopril, an ACE inhibitor. Cough is a common side effect.
      We were not able to get a generic name for the Australian drug Mobetec, but it sounds as though it too causes cough. Good luck.

  9. Maxine
    North Easton, MA

    I have had a dry cough for 25 years. I was on blood pressure medication for 25 years. Have been to many doctors without any results. For most of this time I was on Dyazide for high blood pressure. Last year I was put on Lisinopril. My cough changed from a dry cough to a wet cough. I was then put on Losartan because my doctor insists it has no cough side effects. Since January I have been coughing with all kinds of cold problems but it’s not a real cold. I no longer work, go to church or the movies. My doctor tells me it is not the blood pressure medication. I don’t want to change doctors, I tried that many times.

  10. Thela

    Metropolol and Benacar not lowering my BP but contributing to
    my chronic cough, sneezing, hoarseness , intermittent chests pain no sleep–are these all a certain class of BP med? ACE Inhibiters??

  11. Thela

    Metropolol and Benacar not lowering my BP but contributing to
    my chronic cough, sneezing, hoarseness , intermittent chests pain no sleep–are these all a certain class of BP med?

  12. barbara

    I have been coughing for 8 years. Yes, 8 years. 5 Doctors, xrays, scans, DNA and many meds with no help. The sleepless nights are the worst. Also, I don’t go to meetings or movies because I disrupt with my cough. I am also on BP meds. Is there no end to this life? Jean K

  13. barbara

    I have been coughing for 8 years. Yes, 8 years. 5 Doctors, xrays, scans, DNA and many meds with no help. The sleepless nights are the worst. Also, I don’t go to meetings or movies because I disrupt with my cough. I am also on BP meds. Is there no end to this life? Jean Ketchum

  14. Mary

    I had been taking different types of ace inhibitors but after 1-2 I started coughing my Dr. does not believe is my bp medictation but on my heart I know so I stop the ace and the cough start to diminished the symptoms, but I feel so bad when I cough because people look at me like if i were with TB. I feel like vomiting an the phemgh is so tick that sometimes you chocked with it, please what other medication can I take for BP without damaging my kidneys and not develop this cough.

  15. Joan Nassar

    I believe these drugs are experimental Who are they trying to save? They encourage you to take them . By speaking of heart attacks and strokes. “so much it scares you into taking them.
    I was more healthy without them then even though my blood pressure has gone up . Due to stressful matters. Why they don’t teach you how to control stress With the grace of God I hope to do better. They say African American has it the most? I believe it is the type of food they were raised on. And some of them lived even longer. I was consider very healthy until I had some very stressful problems and now I am 73 years of age with blood pressure problems. I know myself and my body. Did not have that much problem with my body until I took those pills.

  16. charles

    Drink lots of water. Do not eat or drink anything with sugar in it.

  17. Dick W.

    I was taken off atenolol and put on Lisinopril. About 5 weeks into use the cough started getting worse and one morning I awoke to see that my neck glands were swollen. I asked if the new medication was the cause but no answer. Now I’ve had blood tests, cat scan, thyroid and neck ultrasound and ENT scope and testing. All normal. Next they want to do a PET SCAN followed by a biopsy. After looking into adverse reactions to this medication and stopping it, the cough is slowing down and the swelling is 50% less in three days. Call me stupid but its this drug.

    • Maryanna

      There is such a phenomenon as a “Lisinopril Cough.” The prescribing doctor should really inform patients. I had a terrible cough until a nurse at a party told me it sounded like a Lisinopril cough.”

  18. John F.

    I have had a chronic cough (sometimes dry, other times similar to a post-nasal drip) Due to my hypertension I have been on lotrel (amlodipine/benazepril 10/20 mg once per day in addition to Hyzaar (100/25 mg) once per day for several years and my blood pressure was reduced to very good numbers (often around 120/60. Recently my pressures seemed to elevate and my specialist who monitors my drugs for hypertension made slight adjustments which helped. But the chronic cough showed up and my doctor told me about the coughing problem due to benazepril. So my primary care physician told me to eliminate the 20 mg benazepril and only go with 10 mg of amlodipine. This has been a recent change in dosing but the cough is always present and is driving me nuts.

    I can’t sleep very much and want to know what drug combination might work to get my pressure under control without the need to cough. My doctor put me on 125 mg of trazodone to help me sleep but I only sleep for very short periods if at all. I’m up a lot in the bathroom at night due to getting older (67 yrs old now) and having the need to urinate often. My career was as a researcher in pathology in the Pharmaceutical Industry and I hope one can shed some more info. to help we be able to sleep without coughing. We recently were in Texas during a major pollen problem from live oaks and perhaps this has exacerbated the problem.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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 –

  26. 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.

  27. 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!?

  28. 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.

    • Paul
      cleveland, Ohio

      Started coughing two days after starting Metoprolol. Been coughing ever since, especially during the daytime hours. Docs all say this is highly unlikely. I’m about to go crazy. Maybe my cardiologist will let me go back on Atenolol like I used to take and had no problems. Anyone with this same problem?

      • Chris
        Cleveland, Ohio


        Do you have an update on your condition? What was your cough like (dry or wet)? My mother is on the same medicine currently and has had a cough for over two years with just an occasional stuffy nose and congestion. Just wondering what your update was.


  29. 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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