Q. I think I have worn out several remote controls hitting the mute button on many loud drug commercials. But I have to say I am alive today because of hearing them.
I was given a new blood pressure medicine. Within an hour of taking the pill, it was affecting my speech. I called the pharmacy to see if it could be the drug and was told to call 911 immediately. I could not finish talking to the 911 operator since I was gasping for air as my throat was closing down.
If it had not been for continually hearing long lists of side effects recited on the commercials, I might have waited too long to make that call.
A. Thank you for sharing your scary experience. We can all use the reminder that drugs may have serious side effects that need emergency action.
Certain blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitors such as captopril, lisinopril or ramipril for example) can cause a sudden serious swelling of lips, tongue and throat. This angioedema requires immediate medical attention.
KF relates this experience: “I have taken Diovan for almost ten years with no side effects. Six months ago I was diagnosed with angioedema (face and lips swelling plus shortness of breath). I stopped taking all meds and vitamins, still had the problem. I took HCTZ for a few weeks, but my feet and ankles swelled and BP went to 140/90. I stopped all meds again and went to an allergist. I was diagnosed with hives along with angioedema. Per allergist having angioedema and hives, better to have both. Maybe I’ll never really know what causes this. I’m back on Diovan and still have the problem. I keep Benadryl lotion and pills close by.”