Q. I started taking lisinopril for high blood pressure in December. Soon after, I developed a nagging dry cough that wouldn’t stop. I have thrown up because the coughing was so bad. I have also had blood tests and chest x-rays. They all came back negative.
In desperation, I went to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, who told me this kind of cough is common in people my age (50) due to post-nasal drip. He knew I was on lisinopril but gave me an antihistamine and cough suppressant. They didn’t help.
I learned on your Web site that lisinopril can cause a chronic cough. I have not gotten a good night’s sleep in five months and I am furious that none of the doctors I’ve seen suggested changing this drug. Can I control my blood pressure without medicine?
A. Don’t stop the lisinopril on your own, but do discuss this issue with your physician and request a different medication. ACE inhibitor hypertension drugs like lisinopril can cause a very persistent cough in susceptible people. Many non-drug approaches can help lower blood pressure. Adopting one or more may allow you to get by on a lower dose of medication or eventually to phase off it, with your doctor’s help. Weight loss, exercise, slower breathing, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (especially beets and spinach) can all be helpful. For more details on non-drug options as well as the pros and cons of prescription medicines, we are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Control.