a man in a shirt and tie coughing

Q. You ran a story about lisinopril causing cough. I had the same experience.

My regular doctor referred me to an audiologist who diagnosed acid reflux. I then went to an ENT doctor who had no suggestions. Finally I saw an allergist who immediately took me off lisinopril and replaced it with Cozaar. Cough gone!

A. Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor. Although this type of blood pressure medicine works well, it can cause a relentless cough that does not respond to cough medicine. Cozaar is a different type of blood pressure pill called an ARB (angiotensin-renin blocker). ARBs are much less likely to cause chronic cough.

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  1. Randy

    I have been on Lotrel for over 10 years and the last 3 or 4 years I have had dry coughing fits for months on end. I recently did a cleanse (Dr. Christopher’s cleanse) and mucusless diet (I am on day 5). At the start of the cleanse I stopped taking my lotrel. I noticed yesterday when I checked my BP it was normal (130/87) and today I rechecked on better instruments at work and it is now 118/84 keeping in mind I am off my meds for 5 days and it usually shoots up quick if I forget to take them a day. I also noticed that my cough is finally starting to subside – but looking at these posts it looks like it could take a few weeks to get out of my system. I am so glad I finally figured out where my cough was coming from. Hopefully my blood pressure stays good after going off the mucusless diet (I am only going to stay on it for 6 weeks total – just to clean out my system since I was having other health problems) but if not I know to ask to get switched to some other BP medicine or try something herbal.

    • Randy

      BTW I was on the 10/20 due to the 5/10 not keeping my BP in check.

    Manassas, Va

    I have been on Lotrel 5-10mg since 2012 for HBP. In Spring, I developed a terrible, sinus infection that exacerbated my throat condition. In general it felt tight and like I had an upper respiratory infection. After two rounds of antibiotics I felt some relief but was left with a dry hacking cough that would not go away. I found out that my ace inhibitor could be the culprit and asked my doctor to change my medicine. I’m hopeful that my symptoms will subside – I also experienced mild facial swelling and in my throat.

  3. Sandra S.

    One symptom of Lotrel I had besides the dry cough was horrible sinus congestion & pressure and some difficulty with swallowing. I stopped taking Lotrel almost two weeks ago and I still cannot breath through my nose no matter what I do. I was in the ER a week ago & was given cortisone shots which helped for a day or two. Upon going back to my doctor, he put me on nasal steroids, but those can take days to work & I haven’t noticed an improvement so far. The coughing is almost gone, but this congestion is hard to bear. I wish I had known about the ACE inhibitor part of Lotrel before and its side effects.

  4. Louise T.

    It can take weeks sometimes for the cough to go away from Lisinopril. I’ve known a few people they had the hacking cough for weeks then it went away after switching to an ARB.
    LOSARTAN is on the formulary and you can get a month supply for about $3 or $4 a month.

  5. Danell

    Dee, I had a RN the other day tell me, while I had my Mom at the hospital, that anything that ends in pril, will cause this horrible cough. I have been off lisinopril, for 1 week, & the cough is still very bad.

  6. ajc

    I’ve been on Tekturna for a couple of years, it’s in another class of meds. Just recently needed to have my doc call to renew my RX and lo and behold the drug has been taken off the market because (I looked this up on the Internet) it has caused non life threatening strokes, and extreme low BP. So she wants me to take nothing unless my BP goes up and it will, of course. I have coughed non stop on this drug as I did on diovan and others. I have had pelvic repairs because of the strain of coughing constantly. I don’t know what drug to try next.

  7. PJB

    I had a series of sinus infection from August to January and was treated 3 times with antibiotics but could not get rid of that annoying tickle in my throat . The last time I saw a doc in my docs practice, he suggested that it was the ACE inhibitor I was taking for kidney protection for my diabetes. I knew ACE inhibitors sometimes caused a cough but I thought the doc was crazy because I had been taking it for over 10 years. I stopped it and in 2weeks my cough was gone. I plan to start taking it again just to see if the cough comes back. If it doesn’t, I will know it was the sinusitis. If it does, I will be sure it was the ACE inhibitor.

  8. Adt

    Thank goodness for the Internet is all I can say. Without it, I don’t think I would ever have found the root cause of my coughing. My two doctors certainly didn’t realize that lisinopril was causing my out of the blue/every two hour fits of dry coughing that would lead to gagging, dry heaving and vomiting. I was on lisinopril for a month before the cough really kicked in. I went on the Internet and soon found a lot of evidence pointing toward the ace inhibitor: lisinopril.
    I stopped my meds and went to the doctor, and he switched the meds, but also told me its probably allergies. I started Flonase and Zyrtec, but it didn’t help. I stopped taking lisinopril 5 days ago and while I still do have the cough attacks every 1.5 to 2 hours and haven’t slept in 5 days, the attacks are less severe, and I can tell I’m healing! So there is hope. Just wanted to share my story!

  9. PB

    I am having the same problem. I have been on Altace 2.5mg for over 10 years and have been experiencing the cough since August, 2012. Can’t believe it appeared after that long on the drug. I stopped taking the Altace 3 days ago and have not seen a difference yet. How long did it finally take to go away.

  10. bak

    I have been on lisinopril for 10 years after going through so many other hbp drugs it is the only one that straightened by blood pressure and kept it on track. I have had a cough/sore throat/shortness of breath for the last 2 years. So far I have been to my primary care doctor who sent me to an allergist, an ear nose throat specialist, gastrologist who did an upper gi and said he could find nothing but went ahead and stretched my esophagus to see if it would help the symptoms.
    I have had chest x-rays and every other test you can think of all to no avail. I woke up one morning and my back and neck were hurting and the pain wouldn’t go away. My boyfriend kept telling me to go to a chiropractor. I have never been to one before because I have always been scared of having somebody pop parts of my body but the pain was so bad I agreed.
    I went last week and I had a coughing attack in his office. Turns out I have blown a vertebrae in my neck from guess what “coughing.” Now after all this the chiropractor looks at the list of meds I provided and said I can help your neck and back but what you have is called ace cough and it is caused by lisinopril.
    First of all it is ridiculous that I have spent this much money on all these specialists (who by the way had a list of my medications) and nobody even thought to tell me this until I have to go to a chiropractor. He says it will take a while for the cough to go away because I have been on meds so long but it will eventually fade away. I have been off of lisinopril for 3 days and so far I cannot tell if it has helped but at least there is hope because I have took this cough and gagging as long as I can. I hope this helps someone else with the same problem and I will keep you all posted as to how it goes.

  11. Irina

    Thank you so much for that, “laryngeal edema” describes exactly how my cough feels, it is exactly in my voicebox and I couldn’t figure out why. Of course, everyone at my job thinks I have a serious illness.

  12. mima

    I started taking Lisinopril pills for hypertension last December 2011 and I had been experiencing cough since then. Until now I still have this annoying itchy throat which causes my coughing and finally I found out that the Lisinopril is causing my chronic cough. Now, I have an appointment with my doctor next month to change this medication. Thank you for the information regarding this medicine.

  13. CarolP

    I am taking Benicar 20mg and Atenolol 50mg. I have been taking them both for a few years. Lately I feel like my heart is skipping and then I start coughing like crazy and also much worse at night when I lay down. Does anyone else feel as if their heart is skipping a beat ?
    The cough sounds horrible and it feels like it is coming from the depth of my toes !!!

  14. Jenny

    I also took this RX, I coughed so bad. I was switched to another medicine. I then got a sinus infection and coughed for 3 months. Some times the cough was so bad I would throw up. I was sent to a lung doctor who told me I have asthma. This was caused by the lisinopril. He said some people who take lisinopril and have a tendency for asthma will develop asthma after taking lisinopril. I am on Symbacort and am so much better!


    I have been Lisinopril for about six month, and the cough is really bad. I can’t sleep at night and do my work during day. I went to see my doctor he gave me Losartan potassium. Everything I eat comes back up. This cough is very bad.

  16. liggonro

    I’ve had this nagging cough for some time and decided to look it up on the internet. Saw all this stuff about lisinopil. My doctor has me on 5 mg a day. I’ve been thinking I was allergic to something but beginning to wonder. I had been back to the doctor for an infection and was on a strong antibiotic for about 10 days. Cough still did not go away. Now I’m wondering if it’s the lisinopril. I have to constantly keep water or something cool to drink close by. Sometimes I cough so bad, it almost makes me gag. It’s like a tickeling in the back of the throat but then I also have a lot of drainage. It’s worrisome!

  17. Dee

    My husband takes Fosinopril sodium 10 mg, once per day along with Atenolol 50 mg. once per day and zetia 10 mg once a day. He has developed a very harsh, strangling cough in the last several months. He had a chest x-ray and MRI recently, but nothing showed up. I think it is the fosinpril causing his cough, he doesn’t think so because he’s been on it so long. His doctor said that there is something he could put him on but it is very expensive, he didn’t tell him what it was. Can the combination of all three cause his cough to be so harsh and strangling?

  18. Mr. Azell A. S.

    My Dr. gave me a prescription for LISINOPRIL 5mg for high blood pressure. I searched the internet and found a lot of unanswered questions, specifically the side effects. Startlingly comments.

  19. Sonya B.

    Lisinopril is a drug used to treat hypertension. However, the medication has side effects too. It is an ACE inhibitor group medication. The common side effect for all medications that belong to this group is dry cough. As long as you take the medicine, you will experience a dry cough. The dry cough is caused due to the functionality of the medicine.
    Lisinopril works by restricting an enzyme called the angiotensin. This enzyme causes the blood vessels to narrow, and the medication stops the enzyme from doing that. The blood vessels, as a result, are relaxed, and it decreases the blood pressure conclusively.
    Most of the heart failures caused due to congestion can be avoided with this drug. However, the enzyme that is being blocked by the drug has several other functionalities like breaking down some other enzymes in lungs. Since the angiotensin is not available in the lungs, these substances build up in the lungs. They cause the dry cough. As long as you are taking the medication, the dry cough will persist because the lungs are collecting the irritants. Once you stop taking the medication, the dry cough seems to go away.
    You start dry cough within two hours after taking the first dosage. Once you stop the medication, it takes at least 14 days for the lungs to restore the enzyme breaking function and the dry cough to subside. Every medicine would take at least two weeks to completely lose its effects. However, not everyone who takes Lisinopril is susceptible to dry cough.

  20. Markus

    I’ve been taking lisinopril for a few years now, only 10 mg, just recently (2 days), my dosage was increased to 20 mgs. The only side effect I have experienced so far is a metallic taste in the back of my throat. My blood pressure seems fine now, but haven’t checked it in a few days. Before the dose change it was elevated for me at 160 over 101. Now it feels like it always had in the past. Does anyone know how long the side effects or the side effect like I”m experiencing lasts?

  21. ted a.

    I got the cough too, been off for 4 days and still have the cough. How long did yours take to go away? I am scared it will last a long time, it’s hard to take it. My doc tried to give me a nasal spray but I know it’s my meds. please let me know, thanks.

  22. Sally M.

    Is it harmful to take Lisinophril and Lipotor at the same time? I also have a cough.

  23. ELVIRA

    My boyfriend started coughing a lot and he thought it was his sinus. He went to see his doctor and many trips to the ER because the cough became so violent. I kept telling him to have the doctor to check his medications, because once I had a problem with an ACE-inhibitor that caused me to cough. Finally, after the trips to the doctor and ER, I evaluated all his medications and found that Lisinopril had the ACE-inhibior and had him to show this to his doctor and that is when she discontinue the Lisinopril. It took about two weeks before the cough completely stop.

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