Q. I was on lisinopril for two years without symptoms. Then I developed a cough that woke me up at night. I coughed so hard I urinated. I couldn’t laugh without coughing and I irritated all who were near me.
After a month of coughing, I went to my primary care doc. He said I was wheezing and put me on prednisone, albuterol and Z-Pak antibiotic.
None of that helped. When I went back he gave me the asthma drug Advair ($245).
I went through four bottles of cough medicine and hundreds of cough drops. When the nurse called to tell me my chest X-ray was negative, I asked to try a different blood pressure med. Reluctantly, they switched me to Cozaar. I really hope it is better. I am a nurse in the OR and need my sleep.
A. We are disappointed that your doctor prescribed lisinopril (an ACE inhibitor) without warning you about its most common side effect: a persistent cough. It is even more distressing that he didn’t diagnose the problem promptly. Cozaar (losartan) is less likely to cause cough, but it too can sometimes provoke this reaction.
We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment so that you can read about the pros and cons of various blood pressure pills, as well as the non-drug approaches that might help. You can also find more stories about cough from ACE inhibitors, especially lisinopril, at peoplespharmacy.com.