Captopril (By mouth)
Treats high blood pressure and heart failure. A lower blood pressure will reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Also used in the first few days after a heart attack to help reduce the risk of death and to treat kidney problems caused by diabetes. This medicine is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to captopril or another ACE inhibitor (such as enalapril, lisinopril, Accupril®, Altace®, Lotensin®, Lotrel®, Monopril®, Prinivil®, Vasotec®, Zestril®). Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, or have a history of angioedema (swelling of the hands, face, mouth, or throat) after receiving an ACE inhibitor.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Take this medicine 1 hour before meals.
- Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids if you exercise, sweat more than usual, or have diarrhea or vomiting.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using other medicine for high blood pressure (such as aliskiren, atenolol, losartan, metoprolol, olmesartan, propranolol, timolol, valsartan, Benicar®, Cozaar®, Diovan®, Hyzaar®, Tekturna®, Toprol®), nitrate medicine (such as nitroglycerin, Isordil®, Sorbitrate®), or a diuretic (water pill, such as amiloride, chlorthalidone, spironolactone, triamterene, Aldactazide®, Aldactone®, Combipres®, Dyazide®, Dyrenium®, Maxzide®, Midamor®, Tenoretic®).
- Tell your doctor if you are also using lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), injectable gold (such as sodium aurothiomalate), or an NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®).
- Ask your doctor before you use any medicine, supplement, or salt substitute that contains potassium.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney problems, liver disease, heart failure, heart or blood vessel disease, heart valve problems, low blood pressure, or a mineral imbalance (such as high potassium or low sodium in the blood). Tell your doctor if you have diabetes or an autoimmune disorder (such as a collagen vascular disease).
- Call your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain (with or without nausea or vomiting). This could be a symptom of intestinal angioedema.
- This medicine could lower your blood pressure too much and cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. Stand or sit up slowly if you are dizzy. This is more likely to happen when you begin to use the medicine. It could also happen if you become dehydrated, such as if you have diarrhea or vomiting, sweat heavily, or do not drink enough water. If you faint, stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away.
- This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
- Check with your doctor if you have a fever, chills, or sore throat. These could be symptoms of an infection resulting from low white blood cell counts.
- Check with your doctor right away if you have upper stomach pain, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
- This medicine may be less effective in black patients. Black patients also have an increased risk of angioedema (swelling of the hands, arms, face, mouth, or throat).
- Do not stop using this medicine without asking your doctor, even if you feel well. This medicine will not cure your high blood pressure, but it will help keep it in normal range. You may have to take blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
- Change in how much or how often you urinate, or cloudy urine
- Chest pain (may be related to your disease and not a side effect)
- Confusion, weakness, trouble breathing, or numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or lips
- Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- Severe stomach pain (with or without nausea or vomiting)
- Uneven heartbeat
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013