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Fact Checked

When To Take Lisinopril

Remembering to take your medication daily for a long-term illness can seem like a burden. In fact, up to 60 percent of people have reported not taking their medication regularly. Even worse, it’s been reported that up to thirty percent of prescription medications are not even filled. There could be many reasons why people don’t take their medication regularly. Some people may not understand the reason why they are prescribed a certain drug so they don't want to take it. In other cases, a patient may have too many prescription medications so they either forget to take one drug or take it at the wrong time.  Not understanding what a drug does and how it can help their medical condition is another factor. Being afraid of unwanted side effects is also a big concern among people prescribed long-term drugs for a chronic illness. Additionally, people are often confused about how and when to take their medicine. One of the biggest reasons, according to recent research, is the cost of the drug. Treatment and medication for chronic illnesses can be expensive and cause financial strain on people who have to regularly purchase them for long-term use. 

Irregularity in taking prescription medications is a serious concern when they are prescribed for conditions like high blood pressure (hypertension) that if left untreated puts you at risk for more serious health problems like a stroke or heart attack. Taking medication regularly for such conditions could be the difference in saving your life. Hypertension is estimated to affect one in every three Americans, so the number of people given medication to treat this condition is also relatively high. Lisinopril is a long-term drug that is very commonly prescribed to treat hypertension. 

Hypertension is caused when the arteries are constricted, preventing the normal flow of blood from the heart to the different tissues and organs in our body. What is Lisinopril? Lisinopril, also known as Zestril and Prinivil,  belongs to the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors class of drugs and relaxes arterial walls by inhibiting a substance that would normally cause them to constrict. This promotes regular blood flow through the arteries and brings hypertension down. So what is lisinopril used for? Lisinopril helps patients who are recovering from a heart attack or heart failure. After a heart attack, the heart muscle is weakened or damaged so it has to work extra hard to pump out blood. How does Lisinopril work? As lisinopril keeps blood pressure down, it makes it easier for the heart to perform its function even in its weakened state. This makes the chances of survival higher in patients who are given lisinopril within 24 hours after a heart attack. Similarly, it is also prescribed for patients with heart failure. 

Regular intake of lisinopril according to the prescribed dosage is extremely important for it to work properly. One of the most commonly asked questions about lisinopril is how and when to take it. Even if lisinopril is prescribed in combination with other drugs, it should be taken properly according to schedule. 

How to take it 

Lisinopril is prescribed for both adults and children for hypertension. The dosage will vary according to factors like how severe the medical condition is, the age of the patient, the existence of other diseases like diabetes, and how the patient initially responds to the medication. Usually, the first dose is started at 10 mg in most patients and it is gradually increased to a normal range of 20-80 mg daily. In children between the ages of 6 and 17, the dosage is recommended according to body weight. The dosage for adults recovering from a heart attack and heart failure is slightly different.

Most studies say that lisinopril tablets can be taken either in the morning or at night without any difference in its efficacy. What is important is that it is taken at the same time every day. The very first dose of lisinopril can make you dizzy, so you may be recommended to take it at bedtime. After the first dose, this effect will most likely not be felt, so the drug can be taken either at morning or at night according to the convenience of the patient. Lisinopril can be taken with or without food. 

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What if you miss your dose?

If you miss your dose of Lisinopril, take it as soon as you remember. If you only remember when it is time for your next dose, do not take a double dose of the medication. Skip your missed dose and take lisinopril on time for your current dose. 

Possible Drug Interactions

A drug interaction occurs when another substance, like vitamins, herbs or other drugs, can change the way a certain drug works in the body. If you are taking other drugs for medical reasons, you may have to space out taking lisinopril along with them to avoid possible drug interactions, and this should be discussed with your doctor or trusted health care professional. 

Some possible drug interactions include:  

  • Drugs that elevate Potassium 

ACE inhibitors elevate potassium levels in the body so it is not recommended to take lisinopril tablets with other medicine that increases potassium levels. These include the ARBs, another class of medications for heart disease or congestive heart failure. Some common ARBs are losartan and valsartan. Some diuretics, like spironolactone, also increase potassium levels. 

  • Diuretics or ‘water pills’

This is another class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. Taking them with lisinopril can make your blood pressure fall too low. 

  • Other ACE inhibitors

Taking more than one ACE inhibitor (like enalapril) together can make your blood pressure too low.

  • Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

In addition to increasing potassium levels, taking a drug from this class with lisinopril could cause blood pressure to become too low. 

  • Diabetes Medication

Taking lisinopril in combination with medication for diabetes like insulin could make blood sugar levels decrease too much.  

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) Pain Medications

These drugs, (like ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac) are mostly available over the counter and are extremely common for pain relief. Caution is advised against taking the NSAIDs together with lisinopril as it can affect kidney function. 

These are just a few examples of major drugs that lisinopril is not recommended to be taken together with. Additionally, the drugs sacubitril and aliskiren are never given along with lisinopril. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list of medications that could potentially interact with lisinopril. 

Experiencing some side effects with lisinopril, Zestril, or Prinivil is normal. Some of these include a dry cough, headache, nausea, dizziness or blurred vision. Severe allergic reactions to lisinopril are rare, but possible. In particular, angioedema is a serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction in which there is swelling of the airways and lower layer of skin on the arms or facial area, like the tongue. Patients who have previously experienced angioedema may be at higher risk for this to occur when taking lisinopril, so it is usually not recommended for them. Pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant should not take lisinopril as it poses a risk to the unborn child. Lisinopril should not be taken when breastfeeding either because some amount of the drug can pass into breast milk. If you have any concerns about the side effects or possible contraindications for taking lisinopril, check with your health care professional. 

As always, taking medication by itself is no longer a standalone treatment for conditions like high blood pressure. Incorporating lifestyle changes, like getting regular exercise, implementing a diet low in sodium and fat, and managing daily stress levels along with regularly taking your medication are important for managing hypertension. Reduction in blood pressure is not always accompanied by a change in symptoms, so you may not know whether the drug is working unless you check your blood pressure regularly. Even if you do not experience any change in symptoms with taking the drug, it is critical to keep taking it according to your usual dosage schedule. Be aware of any of the common side effects that could adversely affect your health or cause symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Some tips to make taking lisinopril easier for you is to reduce the variability around it. For medications that have to be taken daily, it’s easier to forget to take the next dose if they are not taken at the same time every day. Storing your medication in the same location in your home, like on your bedside table, is also a helpful way to remind yourself to take your medication on time. If you plan to travel, make sure you have your prescription refilled so you don’t run short on tablets. 

How to save on Lisinopril

Since the high cost of long-term drugs is one of the main reasons that people don’t take their medication regularly, finding ways to save on prescription drugs is important. If you are prescribed Lisinopril for long-term use, you can pick it up from any pharmacy by taking your prescription in with you. Even with health insurance, the cost of drugs can be high. Coupons for Lisinopril may be available from USA Rx to help you save more on purchasing this drug. If you take more than one prescription medication, you can also sign up for a free pharmacy discount card that can be used on any FDA-approved drug. Signing up for this card takes only a few minutes and can be done online. The card can be presented to your pharmacist when filling a prescription to help you save more and be regular in taking your medication.   

Published February 12th, 2020 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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