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Cough Is Reaction to Blood Pressure Medicine

ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications can cause a persistent cough in susceptible people, but this side effect is not always communicated to patients.
Cough Is Reaction to Blood Pressure Medicine
Cough, woman with glasses coughing

Q. I developed a dry cough soon after my doctor diagnosed me with hypertension and put me on Altace. I would cough and cough until I would gag and throw up at work into my trashcan because the coughing would just come on so suddenly I didn’t have time to make it to the ladies room. I even had to carry a small trash bag in my car because I was afraid that I would throw up during my commute to and from work.

I asked my doctor for another medicine. He prescribed lisinopril, and I am still having the same problem. What’s going on?

A. Both of your blood pressure medicines are ACE inhibitors and can cause a persistent cough in susceptible people. We are surprised that your doctor didn’t mention this side effect.

A survey of participants on the iGuard.org Web site revealed that only one patient in four on lisinopril had been told that the drug could cause cough. More than a third of the respondents had a chronic cough.
The iGuard.org Web site offers personalized estimates of drug risk and interaction concerns. To give you more information about other hypertension drugs, including non-drug approaches, we are sending you our newly revised Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

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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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