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Blood Pressure Pill May Trigger Deadly Side Effect

Dangerous lisinopril side effect may not show up for years.
Blood Pressure Pill May Trigger Deadly Side Effect

Q. In an earlier column, you told a reader not to be afraid of the blood pressure pill lisinopril. I believe you should have warned her about the side effect I experienced. My face and lips swelled severely. Apparently the throat can also close completely. I was on lisinopril several years before this episode.

The ER doctor who saw me checked my list of medications and said, “It’s the lisinopril. I see this all the time.”

A. This is a potentially life-threatening reaction called angioedema. Although people must be alert for this possibility, most patients taking lisinopril or similar ACE-inhibitor medicines will not experience it.

Angioedema may sometimes occur as a reaction to ARB blood pressure medications like olmesartan Benicar or losartan (Cozaar). Be sure to tell your regular doctor that you had this reaction. You can learn more about ways to control blood pressure in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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