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Monopril is one of a group of drugs that includes Vasotec and Capoten. These medications are called ACE inhibitors because they affect an enzyme (angiotensin-converting enzyme) important in regulating blood pressure.

Monopril is often used to treat high blood pressure; it may also be prescribed in combination with other drugs to treat some types of heart failure.

Side Effects and Interactions

ACE inhibitors, including Monopril, can reduce kidney function, particularly in people who already have kidney problems. Regular monitoring for both kidney and liver is essential.

People on Monopril have experienced headache, dizziness, fatigue, a dry persistent cough not relieved by cough medicine, or nausea.

Other side effects reported include diarrhea, flatulence and heartburn.

In rare cases hemoglobin levels drop slightly. Report any symptoms to the physician promptly.

Monopril, like other ACE inhibitors, is not recommended during pregnancy. Notify the doctor if you suspect you have become pregnant and avoid the drug if you are nursing.

In general, it is important to avoid potassium supplements, including low-sodium salt substitutes, when taking a drug like Monopril.

Diuretics such as Dyazide, Aldactazide and Moduretic which preserve potassium can also cause dangerous elevations in potassium when taken with Monopril.

Other diuretics may also interact with Monopril. So might the psychiatric drug lithium or the heart drug Lanoxin.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure Monopril is safe in combination with any other drugs you take.

Special Precautions

ACE inhibitors like Monopril can make people feel dizzy or faint, especially during the first few days of taking the medicine. Be cautious when sitting or standing up. If you faint, let your doctor know.

When you start taking Monopril, be alert for a rare but serious reaction.

Some people have experienced swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat which can make breathing difficult if not impossible. This requires immediate emergency treatment.

African-Americans may be somewhat more susceptible to this unusual adverse effect. They may also be less likely to get the full expected response to Monopril. If you are African-American, be sure to discuss benefits and risks with your physician.

Taking the Medicine

Monopril may be taken when convenient, with or without food.

Do not stop taking Monopril suddenly, as this could lead to complications.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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