This drug belongs to a group of medications called ACE inhibitors. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It works by relaxing blood vessels, causing them to widen. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems. This medication is also used to prevent heart problems (such as heart attacks) and/or strokes in certain high risk patients, and with other drugs (e.g., "water pills"/diuretics, digoxin) to treat congestive heart failure.
Take ramipril exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you have difficulty swallowing the capsule, you can sprinkle the contents on a small amount (about 4 ounces) of applesauce, or mix the contents with 4 ounces of water or apple juice. Be sure to eat or drink the entire mixture so that you get the full dose of the drug.
Ramipril generally is well tolerated, and side effects are usually mild and transient. A dry, persistent cough has been reported with the use of ramipril and other ACE inhibitors. Coughing resolves after discontinuing the drug.
Other side effects include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, rash, dizziness, fatigue, headache, loss of taste, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fainting and numbness or tingling in the hands or feet. Ramipril and other ACE inhibitors also may cause kidney failure and increased levels of potassium in the blood.
The most serious but, fortunately, very rare side effects are liver failure and angioedema (swelling of lips and throat that can obstruct breathing).
Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have history of an allergic reaction, which included swelling of the face/lips/tongue/throat (angioedema).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, high blood levels of potassium, heart problems, severe dehydration (and loss of electrolytes such as sodium), diabetes (poorly controlled), strokes, blood vessel disease (e.g., collagen vascular diseases such as lupus, scleroderma). This drug may make you dizzy; use caution engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery. Limit alcoholic beverages.
To minimize dizziness and light-headedness due to lowering of your blood pressure, get up slowly when rising from a seated or lying position. Serious loss of body fluids can also lower your blood pressure and worsen dizziness. Drink adequate fluids to prevent from becoming dehydrated.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication. Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive its effects, especially dizziness.
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during the first 3 months of pregnancy. It is not recommended for use during the last 6 months of pregnancy due to the risk for fetal harm. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. See also Warning section. It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Breast-feeding is not recommended due to the potential harm to the nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Before taking ramipril, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other ACE inhibitors (e.g., benazepril, captopril); or if you have any other allergies (including allergies to bee or wasp stings, or exposure to certain membranes used for blood filtering). This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions.
If you miss a dose, take as soon as remembered; do not take if it is almost time for the next dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (between 15 and 30 degrees C) away from moisture and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep away from children and pets.