Ramipril is a prescription ACE inhibitor that comes as a tablet, capsule, and liquid forms. It’s a medication used to:
- Treat high blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and death in patients who have a history of stroke, heart disease, poor blood circulation, and diabetes
- Improve the survival of patients who have had a heart attack or heart failure
- Treatment of kidney damage due to diabetes with proteins in the urine
ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-converting enzyme are heart medication that dilate or widens the blood vessels. It increases the amount of blood your heart pumps throughout your body as it lowers the blood pressure.
Ramipril, as an ACE inhibitor, helps your heart pump blood more efficiently by decreasing the amount of chemicals in the body known as angiotensin II. These chemical causes your blood vessels to tighten and to become narrow. When these happen, the amount of blood that flows in your blood vessels into your heart and around your body is insufficient. So your heart must work harder than before in order to supply your body’s demand for blood and oxygen. Once your blood vessels tighten and becomes narrow your blood pressure increases. If left untreated, high blood pressure or hypertension can cause damages to your heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other organs in your body.
Ramipril works by relaxing the blood vessels thus reducing also the blood pressure. It blocks the action of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) in your body so it won’t constrict and make the blood vessel narrow. Blocking the action of this chemical allows your blood vessels to relax and to widen.
Reducing the blood pressure also reduces the stress put on to the heart. When the blood pressure is reduced, the heart doesn’t have to pump blood harder throughout your body. Ramipril has an overall effect in reducing high blood pressure and the stress your heart has to undergo. It has also shown to improve survival among patients diagnosed with a heart failure after a heart attack when used along with a diuretic.
Ramipril capsule and tablet is available in four different strength; 1.23 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg. It’s sold as a generic version and as a brand name like Altace. It is usually used in combination with other diuretic medications in treating cardiovascular diseases.
How to Use It
Take this medicine orally with or without. Take it exactly as prescribed.
- The recommended dose for adults is 2.5 mg a day for a week. The n increase your dose to 5 mg a day for the next 3 weeks. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 10 mg a day as needed. If your blood pressure is too high, you may take it in two divided doses a day.
- The dose for the treatment of heart failure following a heart attack is 2.5 mg two times a day. Increase your dose up to 5 mg two times a day after a week. The maximum recommended dose is 20 mg two times a day.
- For those with kidney problems and people 65 years of age and older, your doctor will determine your dose.
Possible Side Effects of Ramipril
Ramipril may cause unwanted side effects like any other anti-hypertensive medications. Some side effects can be common and non-serious while other side effects can be rare but serious. In case of serious side effects, seek medical help as soon as possible. Common side effects are that may go away once medication is stopped are:
- Persistent cough
- Increased potassium in the blood
- Dry cough
- Dry mouths which may be improve after taking it for a few weeks.
Other side effects are that may need medical attention are:
- Los of taste
What should I know before taking Ramipril?
- Ramipril is suitable for adults but not for children.
- Ace inhibitor like this medication can be harmful to the unborn baby. Pregnant women should not use this. Do not also use this if you are breastfeeding.
- Ramipril may only control your blood pressure but does not cure them.
- Elderly people may need lower doses of Ramipril. This also includes:
- Patients with a decreased kidney and liver functions (liver cirrhosis).
- Patients with low salt level in the body due to kidney dialysis, diarrhea, low-sodium diet or dehydration
- Patients with very high blood pressure
- Patients with atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries
- Patients with a severe heart failure
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients with aortic stenosis or narrowing of the main artery of the heart
- Patients with a disease the affects the connective tissues such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma
Getting the Best Result from Ramipril
- It’s best to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages if you find Ramipril makes you dizzy because alcohol can increase the blood lowering effect of Ramipril.
- You may feel lightheadedness during the first few days of your treatment. Your risk may be higher if you are on a low salt diet, on dialysis and aren’t drinking enough water. If you feel dizzy, try lying down until the symptoms pass.
- You may experience persistent cough but it with just go away once you stop taking this medication.
- Monitor your blood pressure, the amount of potassium in your blood and your kidney function regularly while under this medication.
- Do not use salt substitute while you are taking this medication. High content of potassium while taking this drug can make the amount of potassium in your blood too high and this can be quite alarming.
- ACE inhibitor like Ramipril can cause angioedema, an allergic reaction that can be serious. In this case, stop taking Ramipril right away and consult your doctor. Serious allergic reaction symptoms may include difficulty breathing, swallowing, and swelling of the face, tongue, lips, throat, feet and neck.
- Pregnant women particularly in the second and third trimesters should avoid using Ramipril as it may harm your developing baby. It’s not also recommended for women who are breastfeeding.