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.