The People's Perspective on Medicine

Blood Pressure Pill Proved Deadly

The blood pressure pill lisinopril and other ACE inhibitors can cause life-threatening swelling of the mouth and throat called angioedema.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes and heart attacks as well as kidney disease and other chronic conditions. Doctors can choose from a wide range of medications to control hypertension. Frequently they select an inexpensive and effective drug in the class called ACE inhibitors. (It stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, or blockers.) But might a patient suffer an unexpected reaction after taking an ACE inhibitor for years?

Deadly Reaction to Lisinopril:

Q. On January 15, my brother experienced an allergic reaction that made his throat and tongue swell. He was rushed to the nearest emergency room, but shortly after he arrived his airways closed up so the ER staff could not get a tube in for some time.

His wife had brought in his meds and it was quickly determined that the culprit was the blood pressure pill lisinopril. He had been been taking it for four years.

He went into cardiac arrest and was revived but suffered massive brain damage. He died February 8. You might want to warn your readers about this reaction.

A. We are so sorry to learn of your brother’s tragic death.

Lisinopril is the most commonly prescribed blood pressure medicine in the U.S. At last count, roughly 77 million prescriptions were filled annually.

Angioedema as a Reaction to an ACE Inhibitor:

Although many people do well on this medication, some suffer from a reaction rather similar to your brother’s. It is called angioedema and is characterized by rapid swelling of the face, throat, tongue and airways. Blood pressure drugs called ACE inhibitors (benazepril, captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, lisinopril, quinapril, ramipril) can trigger this reaction, sometimes even after years on the drug.

Anyone who experiences swelling while taking an ACE inhibitor should treat this as an emergency. If angioedema occurs, the drug should be discontinued and medical treatment sought immediately.

Your brother is not the only person to have suffered from this serious reaction, though it does not always prove fatal. Another reader was lucky enough to survive.

Unexpected Reaction to ACE Inhibitors Caused Choking:

Q. I had been taking the blood pressure pill lisinopril for about twenty years before I had an allergic reaction. My tongue swelled so big I had to get to the emergency room quickly. It was very scary, as my throat was swelling shut and making it hard to breathe.

From the ER I was admitted to the ICU unit and given steroid breathing treatments as well as Benadryl and adrenaline. After 24 hours I’m feeling better.

Could the abdominal pain, bouts of diarrhea and bouts with shortness of breath have been warning signs of this allergy? It’s incredible that after taking a medication for so long, one day it nearly kills you.

Angioedema as an Unexpected Reaction to Lisinopril and Other ACEi Drugs:

A. The unexpected reaction you experienced is called angioedema. It can affect the digestive tract as well as the mouth and throat.

Angioedema is becoming more common among people taking ACE inhibitor medicines such as lisinopril (Javaud et al, Medicine, Nov. 2015).  You are lucky that the emergency room staff knew how to treat it, as hospitals don’t always have specific protocols in place (Bernstein et al, International Journal of Emergency Medicine, online, April 2017).

ACE Inhibitor Drugs:

The ACEi medicines include a lot of familiar names that end in “pril:” benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace) and trandolapril (Mavik). This type of reaction is very uncommon, but also very dangerous.

ARB Medications:

ACEi drugs are not the only ones that can cause an unexpected reaction. Another class of blood pressure pills called angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs, are also known to trigger angioedema (Faisant et al, Journal of Clinical Immunology, Jan. 2016). These are drugs such as azilsartan (Edarbi), candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Teveten), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), olmesartan (Benicar), telmisartan (Micardis) and valsartan (Diovan).

Lou reported a similar problem:

“I had a very similar experience, except not as severe. I had taken lisinopril for approximately 10 years with success. One month ago my lips began swelling and overnight my entire face swelled very significantly. My internist told me to stop the lisinopril immediately, take 50 mg of Benadryl and come to her office. She immediately diagnosed angioedema caused by the lisinopril.

“I was stunned and it would never have occurred to me that a medication that I had used for 10 years would be the cause. She said it was too dangerous to take another ACE Inhibitor, nor could I take an ARB for the same reason. We tried Amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker, without success. It did not lower my BP and I also experienced leg pain. Next, I will try HCTZ.

“Interestingly, about two months after I first started the Lisinopril I had some mild swelling of my lips and penis that was treated by my previous internist with Zyrtec. The swelling went away without understanding the reason. Could this have been a warning that was missed?”

Another reader, David, is a pharmacist. Nonetheless, the reaction took him by surprise:

“I too had an angioedema type reaction to lisinopril. Initially watery itching eyes, progressing to facial swelling then difficulty talking and finally trouble breathing. I went to the ER and was immediately diagnosed as angioedema. First question was have you been taking lisinopril? Epinephrine will not reverse this reaction. Steroids and IVs are needed. Why there is no black box for this group of drugs I will never know. The delayed reaction after years of taking makes one think that the drug could not be causing the problem. As a pharmacist, I know what the package insert says, but after practicing for over 40 years, I still did not understand the severity of such a reaction.”

To learn more about the pros and cons of ACE inhibitors and other ways to control blood pressure we suggest our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

Whatever you do to control high blood pressure, please make sure that the cure is not worse than the condition!

Revised 9/14/17

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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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I had been taking Amlodipine for at least 6 years. At some point I developed a rash. First my arms, then my lower legs, then started on my chest and just small spaces would show up on thighs and chest.

As I thought about it, I read the medical insert, and the drug was a possible cause.

I told my doctor, and I changed back to lisinopril about 30 days ago because when I took it before I did not have any reactions that I noticed.

I just found out today that a very good friend died from the reaction to lisinopril as many have described in this article. So now I am quite upset about using this drug.

Well, I will see my doctor this week to discuss my next step.

He mentioned Metoprolol. Any bad news on that?

All of the same symptoms came again w/beta and alpha blockers too, after two years of being on Linsinopril previously. It shut down my kidneys as well/same happened w/Losartan. Now again it has happened with generic Coreg. Severe fatigue, swelling in face, throat, itching, trouble breathing, swallowing, severe swelling of legs, feet, arms, neck, stomach pain, severe joint pains, and ending each day w/serve coldness or severe cold sweats. Afterwards it changed to extreme heat, feeling of running a high fever w/o a fever being read on digital thermometers having to have a fan on, even in the winter. Thank God for my wife w/her steroid inhalers, and having Benadryl on hand.

On the same note, she was having the same symptoms on a much lower dose of Corage. So between the inhalers and allergy meds, we both are on the road to breathing normally and the swelling is slowly going down.

I had no idea that itchy watery eyes was a side effect or problem and ever since my doctor prescribed me lisinopril he said it was safe. Well, looks like I need to find another doctor I called his office explaining that.

I was having extreme dizziness, ears ringing, and throat very very sore and extreme anxiety. I feel like he’s trying to kill me. I had better chances living with the high blood pressure. I’m miserable now and not able to go to work.

I’m stopping this medication immediately and trying a natural alternative.

My father was rushed to the ER the day before yesterday with huge blister-like hives all over and swelling of hands, lips, tongue, eyes, and throat, due to angioedema from Lisonipril (he had been taking it for years without issue). As soon as they got him there, the nurse asked “does he have high bp?”, (yes), 2nd question “does he take lisinopril” (yes) “I figured as much!” He was then immediately taken to ICU, intubated, and sedated for almost 24 hours to let the epi do it’s work and reduce his symptoms. We were lucky to get him there so quickly because the doctor said most of the time the throat is already so tight they have to do a tracheotomy. Thank God he’s ok now. This medication is DEADLY… Why in the world do they continue to prescribe it?!!?!? If you or a loved one takes this medicine, STOP immediately and talk to your doctor. Insist on a replacement or something, but do not take this medication, not one dose more.

I had a heart attack March 2017 ventricular fibrillation Cape Canavreal Fla. I was revived and had a stent in place within an hour thanks to Dr. Rao and the ER staff. I was not prescribed an ACE inhibitor until at home in Mississauga On. Canada about 5 months later by a GP, Coversyl. Within hours of swallowing the first pill I went into a fit of coughing that lasted several hours. When it stopped my throat was raw and swollen. I haven’t touched another ACE inhibitor. My blood pressure has always been around 70/125. I don’t understand why it was prescribed since the cardiologist in Florida didn’t prescribe it nor did my cardiologist at home. The GP who did prescribe it after checking my blood at 117/65 was part of a cardiac rehab program I took. He downplayed the cough as minor and said it would go away in time. He was very wrong!

I would be very careful with the HCTZ, too. My doc added it to my low dose lisinopril and within three months, my toes felt “webbed”. She told me to never take HCTZ again as one of the side effects is neuropathy which cannot not be reversed. The feeling in my lower legs has been lessened and at times causes me to lose my balance or walk like I am just learning to walk. Be careful.

February 3, 2018, I had a procedure done called a “lithotripsy” for kidney stones. Later that same evening my tongue swelled on the right side (triple the size of left). I had a friend take me to the ER. The ER doctor came in and explained everything to me as they were speedily working on me. They explained why they were giving me the epinephrine (adrenaline); the breathing treatment and he highly suspected I had a reaction to the Lisinopril (BP medication that I had been on for at least 10 years). My thoughts were it was a reaction from the anesthesia earlier that day. Yes, I was wrong! The ER doctor told me I was to never take that drug or anything with a suffix “pril” again. There was no ENT doctor at this ER and I had to be transferred by ambulance to main campus (that was the only negative-why no ENT available at this large hospital ER). The doctor explained that they had to be sure that my airway was not blocked. By the time I got to the other ER the swelling had gone down considerably. I was kept for observation for 24 hours. Many of the nurses and doctors said they commonly see this reaction (especially in African Americans) whether you have been on Lisinopril for one day or 25 years. I have another diagnosis on my medical record “angioedema” (severe swelling due to allergic reaction). I Thank God I am still here to write this! I am truly blessed but stressed to know of so many of you with similar or worse experiences. Doctors that put their patients on this drug should be required to reiterate to their patients of this “dangerous and potentially killer drug”. I am urgently telling everyone I know if they are on Lisinopril to ask their doctor to put them on something else. If the doctor does not then find another doctor fast!

February 3, 2018, I had a procedure done called a “lithotripsy” for kidney stones. Later that same evening my tongue swelled on the right side (triple the size of left). I had a friend take me to the ER. The ER doctor came in and explained everything to me as they were speedily working on me. They explained why they were giving me the epinephrine (adrenaline); the breathing treatment, and he highly suspected I had a reaction to the Lisinopril (BP medication that I had been on for at least 10 years). My thoughts were that it was a reaction from the anesthesia earlier that day. Yes, I was wrong! The ER doctor told me I was to never take that drug or anything with a suffix “pril” again. There was no ENT doctor at this ER, and I had to be transferred by ambulance to the main campus (that was the only negative-why no ENT available at this large hospital ER). The doctor explained that they had to be sure that my airway was not blocked. By the time I got to the other ER the swelling had gone down considerably. I was kept for observation for 24 hours. Many of the nurses and doctors said they commonly see this reaction whether you have been on Lisinopril for one day or 25 years.

Now I have another diagnosis on my medical record “angioedema” (severe swelling due to allergic reaction). I Thank God I am still here to write this! I am truly blessed but stressed to know of so many of you with similar or worse experiences. Doctors that put their patients on this drug should be required to reiterate to their patients the harmful potential of this “dangerous and potentially killer drug”. I am urgently telling everyone I know if they are on Lisinopril to ask their doctor to put them on something else. If the doctor does not then find another doctor fast!

Last week my top lip swelled up. I looked very bad, and I was at work. A person that works with me gave me some Benadryl and told me it looked like a allergic reaction to something. Next day I was still swollen, and my doctor had no openings so he had me come in and talk to the triage nurse. She told me it was caused by the lisinopril and told me to only use half the dosage. I had no idea how dangerous this drug was until I read this article. My lips are no longer swollen but I itch around my mouth, and my knees are swelling. I have an appointment this week (almost 2 weeks after the original mouth swelling), to see my doctor. Is he being rather lax in his responsibilities in letting me continue using this drug until then?

I have been taking ACE inhibitors for almost 30 years without any problems. About 10 years ago, I came down with a bad case of bronchitis. I had it before and the symptoms were familiar to me. In need of an antibiotic, I went to my doctor’s office and saw an associate of hers. This doctor saw that I was taking lisinopril and immediately blamed my deep, productive cough on the blood pressure drug. I really had to convince her that I had bronchitis and that it wasn’t a side effect of lisinopril. We patients just can’t be too careful these days.

The fact that people have this reaction after taking ACE inhibitors for years suggests that there is some other factor that arises. Maybe the CDC should do a study to determine
–What other drugs the patients have just started
–What foods/drinks they have just consumed
–What cleaning products they have just used
–Anything else that just changed in their environments

Why isn’t someone conducting this study?

I don’t know that other factors are at play. It could be the same reason why people develop an allergic reaction to something they’ve eaten for years (e.g. peanuts, strawberries etc). Often times the thing you become allergic to is the thing you are most exposed to.

My doc took me off Lisinopril when I told him I was having some real itching around my mouth. I’d been on it for about 5 years.) When I told my friend about your article, she took herself off the Lisinopril then told her doc. What I don’t understand and is never revealed here is “how” they know that it’s Lisinopril, etc, that’s causing the allergic reaction.

I had taken Lisinopril 10 mg for almost 13 years when I reacted. The angioedema came on very quickly and I was fortunate to have VCUHealth trauma center near by. In the end, things worked out okay for me. The other part of my story is that I had experienced intestinal distress with pain and bleeding for several years. The endoscopies and colonoscopies showed no cause for the symptoms. I have not had an episode since I stopped taking Lisinopril. ACE Inhibitors are on my allergy list in BIG letters!

I take 10 mg of lisinopril/hctz 12.5 combo once a day and hoping I do not develop any of these severe side effects as I’ve tried others with no success, but this combo works for me. I also exercise and follow a low sodium healthy diet.

After checking with his doctor I took my husband off of Lisinopril over a year ago because of the potential side effects and gave him Hawthorne Extract instead. It took a few weeks for his blood pressure to stabilize, but ever since it has been excellent, usually around 125/62.

Too many of these prescription drugs are just too scary, especially when there is an herb or supplement that will do just as good a job, frequently better.

When I read all of this the thought comes to Whw Oh Why don’t you first change life style and diet before taking drugs?
That ERS are already on the k ow about what is causing this type os swelling tells me that it is more common then drug companies admit to imo.

I am wondering if the different manufacturer’s of Lisinopril is what may be behind the reactions. My std mail-in pharmacy was apparently purchased by a major chain drug store, and I noticed the medication was not the same color, and looked different. I looked on-line and found that yes, there are different shapes and colors for the same medication. It is a different manufacturer. I need to see if this stuff is imported, and from where if so. Chest has felt different since the switch.

I was more fortunate; I went through all of those reactions except I was sent by helicopter to Georgetown in Washington DC; the smaller hospital knew they couldn’t handle this. I am blessed. This happened 8/17.

My husband went to the doctor blood pressure was taken 158 the doctor was very concerned,but I had told my husband of white coat disease, when meeting was over my husband had them take the BP again 101 he dropped 50 points in 15 minutes.

On Friday July 7, 2017, my Mother had awaken to her not being able to breath. Her throat and tongue was swelling. By the time she made it to the emergency room it was closed completely they couldn’t get a tube down her throat. A trachea was done on her. She is currently still in ICU. She had been on the blood pressure med Lisinopril for over ten years .

I had been placed on Lisinopril for approx. 20 years before I had an allergic reaction. I started eating a corn on the cob and my tongue swollen up so bad I had to get to the emergency room quickly. They gave me Benadryl, Adrenaline, and Pepcid that I’m aware of. It was a Very Scary Time as my throat was swelling shut and making it hard to breath and nearly impossible to swallow.

The ER Dr. got me stabilized and then he admitted me to the ICU unit of the hospital. I was given Steroid breathing treatments and Benadryl, Adrenaline and Pepcid thru the IV. They kept me 24 hours and then released me. I’m feeling better and have now realized that I may have had some on-going side affects/allergic reactions for some time.

I’ve had mild to severe abdominal pain, bouts of diarrhea, mild to severe bouts with shortness of breath, nasal drip and I’m still figuring out other possible symptoms. It’s incredible that after taking a medication for 20+ years, one day your body rejects it and nearly kills you from not being able to breathe.

About a year and half ago. It was my first time taking lisinopril. I took it and was on life support for awhile. I will never be the same. To this day I am so afraid of taking any medication for that reason. It has mentally and emotionally and physically scared me for life. So my heart and thoughts go out to those who are on life support. And their loved ones who have to endure this.

On May 27, 2015 I was given lisinopril for high BP during vertigo episode. I returned to my job on June 10, 2015 which was in a warm environment.

For the next three months, I suffered from dizzyness, balance issues, vertigo when going to the bathroom, extreme weakness, backaches, all of which affected my ability to work. When Fall came, the weakness and backaches ended but the other symptoms persisted. I was told to keep taking the drug.

In May 2016, it was hot again. The weakness and backaches came back. I got hot and started being disoriented. I went down hill from June 11, 2016 to July 8, 2016 when I was admitted to the hospital with a creatinine level of 16 and not producing urine.

Four days later, my level was 2 after lots of fluid. Elevated creatinine, lack of urine production courtesy of lisinopril. I suffered hypotension also. Please study side effects because some doctors don’t have your back. Heat and lisinopril don’t mix. Most physicians mentioned three side effects, dizzyness,coughing, and light headedness. They have no idea.

I was prescribed this medicine today, and expressed concern to the Physician’s Assistant who told me my concerns were ridiculous. I have been researching online and reading many posts like what are here, and I am even more scared. I don’t know what to do. I generally don’t react well to generic drugs, and already have discovered allergies to medicines after one dose. I don’t want to end up in the ICU. Any advice would be appreciated.

It is not reasonable to be told your concerns are ridiculous. It would have been much more appropriate for the PA to tell you that millions of people take lisinopril or another ACE inhibitor medicine, and only a tiny proportion have a problem with angioedema. But for those people, it is a BIG problem. Ask if there might be some other class of antihypertensive that would be appropriate for you.

my room mate was presscribed lisinopril two days later she complained of swelling in her throat and tunge I took her to st.joe in Stockton and they treated her with Benadryl which she is allergic to her throat swelled but they were able to get the breathing tube in in time but kept her in a drug induced coma for 7 days she was on a ventalotor for 15 days before they did a traciotomy and a week later the put a feeding tube in for her to come home after 36 hours she was back in the hospital why do they still use this stupid pill how many doctorstake this dangerous drug themselfs

I had knee replaced in Dec of 2014. Shortly thereafter I had a hematoma in the same left leg then back to the hospital for a few days. Back home I then had an allergic reaction to lisinopril which I had been taking for over 10 years. My tongue and throat started swelling one night called my doctor was told to use benadryl which did not help. So I was rushed to hospital and tube down my nose to help BREATHING cause throat swollen to much. Woke up couple days latet in icu. Scary couple days for family.

My brother in law is in the er now with it all as well

My mother suffered from an allergic reaction due to Lisinopril. She was taking it in the past and then was tooken off and put back on. Once she started the medication she started to have this allergic reaction one late night in November of 2013. Luckily I decided to go home that night, because she definitely would have died. I had to rush her to the er and she was put in an induced coma for a few days. I was told she may be a vegetable but wouldn’t find out u til she woke up. That was extremely hard for me to go through alone. But I did it. She was also transferred to Cape fear hospital in Fayetteville, NC. I have to say that from reading some of these different posts, my mom was given another chance. God spared her life. Were very grateful.

Thank u

Hi, I was at the emergency room today august 2rd, cause of a swollen tongue, and when I told the doctor I take liscinipril for blood pressure and he said thats the problem, I have been taking that for over a year now. I thought it was something I ate the day before but guess not.

I had been on lisinopril for about 6 months and had a nagging cough and shortness of breath, but the main problem I had with this drug was it gave me what I believe is called a nasal drip. I was producing blood in my mucus when I could clear it this drip was going the other way running down my throat and giving me chest infections and infecting all my breathing systems. The cough was being caused more by a drug called felodopin which is used in conjunction with ace inhibitors. It was difficult for the doctors to diagnose I suppose but I suspected it a long time myself. I just refused to take them anymore and within a week I felt a lot better. I now take a drug called candersartan and the difference is night and day.

After reading the above comments it seems that the liprinopril is lethal when taken with the benadryl !

Just took my first dose of Lisinopril 10 mg. last night. This morning I woke up with swollen hands and my neck, chest and arms look red like a sunburn. I called the pharmacist and he told me that I am allergic to it. I cannot believe that 1 dose caused this much swelling and redness.

The exact same thing happened to my wife’s brother. He was only 31 and had been on Lisinopril for about a year.

Just started Lisinopril 2+ weeks ago. Reading these comments make me wonder about this swelling of lips, face, throat. Thanks everyone for sharing. My thoughts and prayers go out to all on this scary med!

Have been having tests done for a suspected low thyroid- all symptoms-TSH 3:58- flunked with the lab’s reference standard of 4.50.

Had blood pressure checked last visit was 200/100 and was prescribed Lisinopril. Began coughing almost immediately, throat feels “boggy” and am not going to take any more pills to “cure me” of the high BP.

Thanks for this site. I was checking my symptoms when I stumbled in.

One week on this miracle drug is enough!

My step dad has been taking Lisinopril or four years, last Thursday his bottom lip swelled on one side about 1:15 my mom gave him a ice pack to put on it because we thought he bit him self in his sleep (he’s done that before). Around 4:15 we checked on him and his entire bottom lip was 6 times bigger.
We took him to the er and they automatically asked if he’s on Lisinopril, my mom informed them he was so he walked back to the room where they gave him Benadryl and some steroids. He kept telling them his throat was feeling funny..finally, his throat started to close.
They rushed him into another room where they inserted a breathing tube, later they told my mom it was almost too late to put in the tube his throat and everything inside his throat was so swollen they almost had to do a traike (SC).
It’s now Sunday and he’s been in icu sedated ever since Thursday. His lip is still The same swollen size it was 3 days ago and he’s not aware of anything when they wake him up. He’s also not breathing on his own.

Hi everyone. I am a 44 year old male and I have been on Lisinopril for 9 months and night before last, my upper lip started to swell about 1030 PM. It was the size of a nickel by the time I went to bed at 1230AM. By 230AM yesterday, I woke up and my lip was roughly 6 times larger than normal.
I went to the ER and the attending nurse said Lisinopril before I could even tell her what happened. They treated me with a IV Steroids and kept me overnight in the ICU (Yes. The ICU) to make sure I didn’t have any further issues like my throat and tongue swelling to the point that I could not breathe.
I left the hospital this morning after I was cleared and I was taken off lisinopril and put on metroprolol and I was given a tapering medrol dose pack for the swelling. I am taking a very low dose of metroprolol but my plan is to start back exercising to get the blood pressure down so I can get off the pills.
We live in a society that focuses on treating the disease rather than taking care of our bodies and doing or part to keep from using medication. I know that for some people, it does not matter how much you diet and exercise as you still have to take medication for something but current research suggest a major percentage of people on medication can come off of it if they changed their eating and exercise habits. After my scare yesterday, I will take my health more seriously!

My husband was on this medication for his blood pressure for a short while. When he began having coughing fits and shortness of breath, we finally found out it was the lisinopril. Scary stuff.

My Wife started lisinopril 3 weeks ago 10mg twice daily because of high blood pressure. Last week, her Dr recommended that her dose be increased to 20mg because her BP was not coming down fast enough.
That very same evening she developed an unbearable itch, rash/hive like symptoms in patches all over her body. I took her to the ER that night and they really didn’t seem to know exactly what was wrong with her other than some sort of an allergic reaction. They gave her benadryl, prednisone and pepsid and discharged her within 2 hours.
The following morning her throat started swelling with spasm like symptoms and the rash/itch was no better. She again went to her own Dr who advised her to stop using the lisinopril and should she get no better within a few hours to go back to the ER. Things got rapidly worse within and a few hours to the point where she felt her throat was closing up. Her hands and feet had also swollen. She was transferred by ambulance to a different hospital emergency center where she was seen by a dermatologist who said, he had no doubt that what she had was a reaction to lisinopril and in 30 years of practice he had not seen a worse case. The E.N.T Dr that seen her could not find a blockage, however he said the spasm like symptoms are typical to patients he has seen in the past who have had the same reaction to lisinopril.
She is still Ill and I am very angry. I had seen this website and just had to vent since, I’m sitting here alone and my Wife is laying in a hospital bed because of a little poison pill!.

I was on lisinopril for about 2 months for high blood pressure. Early on I had the cough and such that many experience with Lisinopril. After about a month I was getting worse indigestion causing some stomach pain. Didn’t think anything of it. Then on a work trip my shoulder was in horrible pain (no sleep that night) I have tendonitis in this shoulder, but it had never hurt this bad – thought maybe just overuse as I was on a business trip. A couple days later my right wrist and forearm muscles were swollen and in pain. Thinking I had carpel tunnel or something I took some Motrin, but that didn’t relieve anything. The next day my stomach hurt so bad, then the following day I had itchy, painful, hive type things all over my scalp.
I had red spots on my hands causing my hands to swell and be painful. I couldn’t open anything with my hands for a couple days. I had these red rash (smooth though) on my hips causing me hip pain as well, making it difficult to sleep. I took benadryl for a few days and went in for steroids to help with swelling. I felt for days though like my intestines, stomach, and bowels were swollen. Caused constipation and stomach pain. I got random swelling, like one day my finger would be swollen, etc. Weird stuff. It’s been 5 days since I’ve taken a lisinopril, and I can’t wait to get back to normal. HORRIBLE!!! I will not eat a speckle of salt, walk 3 hours a day and take anxiety meds, Meditation and relaxation.. whatever I have to do for my blood pressure. I am overweight, but fairly healthy for the most part.. Just a stressful time in my life.. What a lesson learned though that I do not want to be on BP medications for the rest of my life!!

My sister just died because of a reaction to this drug. Her throat closed so fast she didn’t even have a chance. She also went into full cardiac arrest and it took them 27 minutes to get her back. She was brain dead after that. 49 years old and has been on this medicine for 2 years. Somebody needs to do something about this and allow people to carry an epi pen just in case of the reaction to counteract it.
She would be alive if she were able to have that. She went into the hospital April 18th 2014 and they took her breathing tube out and she passed away April 24th 2014. It’s so sad to know that it could have been prevented. I am so sorry for anybody that lost someone because of this. Such a shame. Sherry was my big sister. Miss her sooooo much. We buried her today :'(

I started taking Zestril for HBP after the birth of my second child (now 18 years ago). After a few years, the Zestril became Lisinopril. A few years ago, my doctor added HCTZ (hydrchlorathiazide) along with the Lisinopril. A couple of years after that, I seemed to always have a cough and had read some postings on the Lisinopril causing cough after a few years of use. I mentioned to my doctor and she changed my meds to Losartan (which is a combo of HBP med and hctz). I have been on that for a few years now, and while I haven’t had drastic symptoms, I have noticed that my tongue seems larger than it was in the past. I guess it was kind of gradual and so I thought for a while that I was just imagining things, but it’s a bit distracting and now worrisome.

I have been on Lisinopril 20mg for 10 years, I started biting my tongue after year 9 years. I have always had allergies, so I was not sure why I felt as if my tongue did not fit in my mouth. I mentioned it to my doctor after testing my thyroid, she sent me to an allergist who believes my tongue biting and swelling may be due to lisinopril. I will know in 2 weeks and repost.
Funny how we are so afraid of heart disease we forget some people do not tolerate drugs well. Or can develop a severe allergic reaction to meds after many years. Our bodies do change. But do not disregard heart problems, take your meds, talk to your doctor and figure out what works for you. Heart disease kills so many, so do what you can to prevent it and educate yourself. Find a good doctor. Figure it out together!

Hi D. R.,
Dr. Stephen Sinatra wrote a great book on cardiomyopathy titled: “The Sinatra Solution”. See if your local library has it.
Beyond that, you might find it of benefit to explore: omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin K-2, statins, and fructose.
High fructose diets cause ATP to become depleted, leading directly to energy problems with muscles, the heart being particularly at risk as the cardiac muscles have such a high need for energy (the cardiac muscles have the highest number of mitochondria of any muscle tissue).
And don’t forget that statins inhibit the production of ATP. Perhaps the first thing to look at.
Hope this helps.
Russ

I am sorry to read about your brother. I had a similar situation this morning. I have been taking Lisinopril for about 3 years with no side effects. A few nights ago I notice my bottom lip feeling like I was having a reaction to something but thought it was from watermelon that I had before bed. The symptoms were not bad enough for me to get up to check it out. This morning I woke up having severe tightness in my face and difficulty swallowing. I started taking Benadryl immediately with no relief. I received 2 Epi-pen injections and a Benadryl injection also. I am a nurse but had never heard of symptoms like these to Lisinopril. I am sure that my nursing career saved my life. I pray that patients will be made aware of these symptoms even though they are rare. So that we will not have to read about someone else losing their love to the severe reaction to Lisinopril.

I moved into a new area and had to get new doctors. The first thing she did was change my bp meds.. just before we were to make a trip 6hrs away on vacation. She prescribed Lisinopril… we got to our destination and a day or so later I became puffy and my feet and ankles started to swell. I called the doc and the nurse told me to stop taking it and just use the Atenolol that I was already using and double the dose until I got back from vacation. Went to the doc when I got home and she wanted to know why I quit taking it and I told her. She was pissed and asked what I did with the meds and I told her that I threw them out because I can’t take them. She said she is going to re prescribe them and I should just take them and deal with it!!
What doc does that! That was the last time I went to her and I did not take that med again! I am now having other problems with pressure on the face, pain swelling of the lip and I am on Losartin, now my new doc took me off that med because she thinks I may have a reaction to it after a yr. So now what? I have had high bp since age 23, runs in the family, have done everything to stay off meds but just isn’t happening. Isn’t there something I can take that won’t give me bad reactions?

My wife Nicole suffered from cardiomyopathy and mitral valve prolapse. In June of this year after feeling short of breath we went to 3 different cardiologists and from a heart standpoint she was doing well (for her). Her heart was operating at 35 percent. After 7 yrs of not being on an ACE her usual cardio prescribed lisinopril. After taking the medication 1 time I woke to her the next morning laboring to communicate and breath. She was rushed to the hospital where she fell into a coma. The doctors could not figure out a diagnosis after ruling out everything under the sun and thus didn’t treat. She passed away a week later.

thank God for this article started Lisinopril Tuesday 6/18/13. smallest dose possible. Went down hill from there. 2:00 this morning had severe reaction. My throat was swelling when I found this article. bout time we got to ER I could talk but with lisp the staff had been called and immediately started IVs of solumedrol sitting in observation now.

One night after taking lisinopril my lips began to swell as if I had a fever blister. Within two hours my face was extremely swollen and my throat began to feel like it was closing off my air passage. I went to the hospital and spent the night in the emergency room with an IV and other meds.
The doctors identified that I had a reaction from the lisinopril. I still had some swelling a full 24 hours after the incident. I was told that I was lucky & that they were close to doing a tracheotomy.
I had taken lisinopril for four years before the reaction. I would strongly advise alternative medications other than lisinopril, and recommend anyone that has been taking this for any length of time, have a discussion with their physician.
The final advice I have is that if you have a reaction seek medical attention immediately.

Last year in Jan. I had a very severe reaction to lisinopril. I have severe swelling of the face, throat, tongue and after medications not working I ended up having to have a tracheotomy as they couldn’t get a breathing tube in. I was rushed to a larger facility where I ended up in intensive care for 11 days and was very close to dying. I was on dialysis for over 3 months and took me about 6 months to recover only to end up with a seizure that was caused by the lack of oxygen from the angioedema. Now have right-sided brain damage. I wasn’t aware after being on lisinopril for 10 years that this sort of thing could happen.

I had been taking both Lisinopril and Metoprolol for cardiomyopathy and had been on these meds for about a year. One morning I woke up and it felt like my throat was ‘sore’ (swollen). I tried to swallow some water and nearly choked on it. I got up and walked around for a bit thinking it would get better. Finally, my husband came out to the living room and asked if I was OK. I croaked out “hospital”.
At the ER, I was rushed back because at this point I was having trouble breathing. I had trouble speaking. An ENT put a camera tube up my nose and down through to my throat and visualized the swelling and the paralysis of my vocal chords. This is the first time I heard the word Angioedema.
I was placed in the ICU for a day and taken off Lisinopril (and ALL ACE inhibitors).
The cardiologist wants to put me in the ICU for a few days some time in the future. He says that my cardiomyopathy needs the benefits I can get with ARBs since I can’t take ACEIs. My special issue is that I do NOT have HBP. My ‘normal’ BP ranged around 90/60. Taking ARBs at too high a dose could kill me. Nice, huh. In fact, my BP overnight while I was in the ICU that day hit a low of 70/36 with a pulse rate of 38!

Yesterday, October 20, 2012 I had a severe reaction to the lisinopril. I took my meds as I always do in the morning. I participated in the Susan Kormen walk and returned home around 12:30-1:00p.m. I completed several errands out of the house and began to feeling a swelling, thinking I hit my mouth on something or picked up a germ from the race.
After icing for awhile and taking a benadryl, the swelling became more intense. I went to ER and after talking about my meds with the doctor, he diagnosed that I had a reaction to the lisinopril. I let him know I had been on it for about 9 months and never had a problem. But, he shared much of what I read in some of the other comments, it doesn’t matter about the time frame.
He said stop the lisonopril, see your Dr. and he gave me prednisone, more benadryl, and a med for the stomach that works with the other meds for 3 days. This morning my lip is still very swollen. However, I feel fine.
I exercise regularly, and try to follow a decent food plan, however, issues still arrive. Let’s continue to pray one for another and stay before the Lord earnestly for he can heal and deliver us from all these issues of life. Be Blessed. P.S. My 84 mom says, “Getting old is not for sissys'”.lol

A few months ago, I upped my exercise regime and lost about 8 pounds (I didn’t need to lose much more than that). About 10 days ago, I stopped taking Lisinopril – 10mg. So far my BP has stayed in the good range. I take my blood pressure several times a day to monitor it. How long before I might see some sort of effect from going off the medication i.e. spike in BP?
Thanks so much!!!

I have been on Lisinopril for a little more than a year. I have been plagued by a “not feeling good feeling” almost every single afternoon almost from the time I started taking the meds. I am on 10mg twice daily. I have been diagnosed with labile hypertension. I have had every test known to man from my toes to my nose………has anyone else had a daily issue of just not feeling well for a few hours a day? It seems like a gastric type situation……….none of my doctors can diagnose the issue.

I found out that I had inherited my high blood pressure from my grandmother right after I had a large bump removed from my back in 2000 and when I was first prescribed some high blood pressure medicine one of the medications were lisinopril and right after I took the medicine my throat swelled up a little then I broke out in hives all over so when that happened I was taken off lisinopril & prescribed other high blood pressure medicine and that medicine has been working fine since then but it’s so sad to read about the young man who passed away from having an allergic reaction from lisinopril that he had been taking for 4 years… so if anybody knows I would love to know how a high blood pressure medicine works for you for years then one day you have an allergic reaction from the medicine you’ve been taking for years???? What makes your body react different to the medicine after years of taking????

I had been taking lisinopril for several years when my tongue and lips began to swell in the middle of the night. My wife wisely insisted that we go to the ER. They gave me an IV (don’t remember what) but it controlled it quickly and my Doc switched me to amlodipine (Norvasc) and I have had no further reactions. It was a frightening experience.

How accurate are the electronic blood pressure machines? My BP at my primary care physician is generally in the 134/96 range. They want me on BP medication. I refused it because at my gynecologist, the blood bank, and the rheumatologist my BP is generally in the 107/78 range. Those are all taken manually with my arm supported, feet on the floor, sitting in a straight back chair. At the primary care, I am seated on the exam table with feet dangling (because there is no plug on the wall where the chair is) and rarely does the PA support my arm as she is also taking my temperature at the same time. When I questioned my doctor about this, the answer was that this machine is the same type used in surgical theaters and is top of the line. I was advised to buy my own machine and keep track of my BP at home. I had similar results – the highest I had in 2 weeks was 123/80.
Am I wrong to refuse the medication?

This was very timely. My 44 year old husband has had these wierd reactions for years. Over 10 years ago, in Las Vegas, he ate a crab cake for the first time and the next AM woke up, mouth all swollen. It went on for a year or so, never determining anything. Then it stopped as suddenly as it started. Since then, he’s had one reaction from penicillin and his entire face swelled.
Fast forward to summer 2011, on our way to the beach and he felt swelling happen in his mouth again. Its slow onset and he always feels it. He’s since been to the allergist who felt it was his Enalapril causing this. His nephrologist changed him to Norvasc, all the while saying it was not the meds causing it. Its been 3 mos since his last reaction and today, of all days, he had it again.
Ironic that I read this in today’s Atlanta Journal and Constitution. I am concerned even though he has slow onset and hasn’t had to go to the ER since it started again because he can feel it coming on but I worry about it happening while he’s asleep. He has since called his nephrologist to come in for an appt to discuss. I am so sorry for the family who shared this letter but thankful they did as it put the fire under my husband to do something.

On February 10, 2012, I experienced an allergic reaction that made my tongue and throat swell. I had just returned home from having dinner with my daughter and within the hour I was in distress. I noticed a tingling in the left side of my tongue. Within 10 minutes, one-half of my tongue had swollen up. My saving grace was that I got up quickly and drove myself to the ER.
They took me in and began treatment. It was not working. The swelling continued. Meds were not on the list for me. I thought that it was something that I ate. It was the same salad that I eat all of the time. Within an hour after I arrived at the hospital, the doctors had to put in a breathing tube. I did not remember anything until two days later. It took another two days to determine that the culprit was the ASE inhibitor in my blood pressure med.
I had been taking Amlodipine-Benazepril 10mg-20mg since last Spring 2011. The Benazepril was added to protect my kidneys because a little too much protein was detected in my urine. Never once did I have any reactions until that night. It was just like a volcano erupting. I am now back to taking just the Amlodipine 10 mg once per day.
Believe me, until I read this article, I had been trying to figure out what happened. I felt like I should have had a reaction early after the meds change. But I see from the article that for some of us this takes time to build up in our bodies and then ‘boom’. I have also been referred to an allergist. I am now waiting on the results to determine if there is anything else that I need to be aware of. My primary physician is concerned because this was such a violent attack to my body, at my age (60 yrs), and that I never had any allergic symptoms before.
I send my sympathy and prayers to the family of the gentleman who did not survive. This also could have happened to me had I not moved quickly and not wait. I thank God everyday for protecting me. I shall never forget what happened. I am still recovering and am thankful to be back at work…I am a middle school counselor. But I know that it is going to take a while to regain all of my strength back.

I would like to know if anyone has also had the side effects from Lisinopril as dry cough, hoarseness in voice by afternoon and the worst of it extreme itching. I have taken this med for several years but, recently I have had extreme itching. Little bumps come up all over my body as well as scalp and ears as well. I was on Bactrim DS and Bactroban cream by my internist, then I was on Prednisone for 2 weeks with fluocinanide cream, prescribed by a dermatologist. I am still using the cream but, I still have the bumps and itching even after my cardiologist took me off of Lisinopril and niacin supplement over a week ago.

This lisinopril is horrible. My liver enzymes are high and my liver hurts, yet if I dont take lisinopril my heart beats too fast. I want off of this medication Asap. So sorry to those who lost loved ones from this drug. I have itching, red spots on my legs and arm, and I feel horrible . My doctor swears by this drug, but I want off.

I just read the article in our local paper today about lisinopril. I also have been taking this drug for about 3 years and now I am afraid to take it. Their must be other medicines that are not ace inhibitors (whatever they are), haven’t researched that yet, but I will be talking to my pharmacist and doctor about changing. This really upsets and makes me nervous. How about you guys?

to me there several questions that remain unanswered. what dose this man on? how long was he on this medicine? was he taking other drugs also and what doses? what other medical issues did he have?

I take 5mg per day; do you know the dosage this person was taking?

I was interested in MLKB’s story above and have a question–why is it that we are more sensitive to medications as we age? Even with well functioning organs I don’t usually react as expected.

I’ve been taking Lisinopril for five+ years and have noticed few side effects. However, I’ve never felt good about taking it, and fought having to do so for a long time. My mother had major complications from untreated high blood pressure (she lost her kidneys and was on dialysis for ten years), so the HBP is a concern. I am in good health otherwise, exercise regularly, eat very well, am nearly vegan, etc., but can’t seem to get my blood pressure down without the medication. HOWEVER, I too have found that as I’m aging, I do not react well to antibiotics and other medications either. I want to get off the Lisinopril. How long after the medication is discontinued am I still at risk of reactions? I won’t stop taking it without first consulting my physician, however, I will be calling him today! Thank you.

I have been taking Lisinopril for approx 2years. I haven’t had any side effects from it yet. I talked my wife into changing to Lisinopril from Diovan. So far so good. This scares me about the swelling and throat, etc. especially the time lapse before any symptoms. Should we or should we not? My wife has had trouble taking medicines, especially the statins.

In about 1987, I also had an allergic reaction to lisinopril. I woke up in the middle of the night and my hands and feet felt like they were on fire. I was in so much pain, I could not even move because touching the sheets was so painful. This subsided enough after a few hours that I was able to get up and call my doctor. She recognized the allergic reaction and took me off the medication. For several days, I had to have help dressing and preparing food because of the pain. Since that time, my hands and feet have always felt very sore. My doctor ran a number of tests and never found anything to explain this reaction. She said is was an idiopathic response to the medication. Has anyone else ever had this type of reaction to lisinopril?

I had been using lisinopril and it had worked pretty well for me for about 4-6 months, when my lip became swollen one afternoon, so went to the local urgent care. They gave me some allergy meds and was taken off the lisinopril. I had no other side effects or reactions during that time and it had worked better for me than verapamil for blood pressure (that I had taken before that made my legs swell).
Now I use diet, exercise and hydroclorothiazide, and am pleased to report that the blood pressure is consistantly below 120/80. Have found as I age, that I do not react well to prescriptions from antibiotics to the BP meds. Several times have reacted with swollen lip, eyes or the hives.
Thank you for your many home remedies and for a place for others to share experiences with others.

Is Lisinopril perscribed under any other names, as in a generic; and what are the names of any other blood pressure medications that can have the same affects?

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