Generic Name: captopril (KAP toe pril)
Brand Names: Capoten
Medically reviewed on March 8, 2017
What is captopril?
Captopril is an ACE inhibitor. ACE stands for angiotensin converting enzyme.
Captopril is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure, kidney problems caused by diabetes, and to improve survival after a heart attack.
Captopril may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use captopril if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor right away.
If you have diabetes, do not use captopril together with any medication that contains aliskiren (Amturnide, Tekturna, Tekamlo).
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to captopril or to any other ACE inhibitor, such as benazepril, fosinopril, enalapril, lisinopril, moexipril, perindopril, quinapril, ramipril, or trandolapril.
You may also need to avoid taking captopril with aliskiren if you have kidney disease.
To make sure captopril is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
a connective tissue disease such as Marfan syndrome, Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis; or
if you have had an organ transplant.
Do not use if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor right away. Captopril can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester.
Captopril can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using captopril.
How should I take captopril?
Take captopril exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Captopril is usually taken 1 hour before meals. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Call your doctor if you have ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking captopril. This can lead to very low blood pressure, electrolyte disorders, or kidney failure.
Drink plenty of water each day while you are taking captopril.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often, and you may need frequent blood tests.
This medication can cause false results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using captopril.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using captopril. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medicine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking captopril?
Drinking alcohol can further lower your blood pressure and may increase certain side effects of captopril.
Do not use salt substitutes or potassium supplements while taking captopril, unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.
Avoid strenuous exercise without your doctor's approval if you are being treated for heart failure.
Captopril side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to captopril: hives; severe stomach pain; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
little or no urination, or urinating more than usual;
shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
chest pain or pressure, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
high potassium - nausea, slow or unusual heart rate, weakness, loss of movement; or
sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms.
Common captopril side effects may include:
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands or feet;
loss of taste sensation; or
mild skin itching or rash.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Captopril dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:
Initial dose: 25 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day one hour before meals
Maintenance dose: May increase every 1 to 2 weeks up to 50 mg orally three times a day. If blood pressure remains uncontrolled after 1 to 2 weeks at this dose, add a thiazide diuretic (loop diuretic if severe renal impairment exists) and titrate to its highest usual antihypertensive dose before further increases of captopril.
Maximum dose: 450 mg/day
Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:
Initial dose: 25 mg orally three times a day (6.25 to 12.5 mg orally three times a day if hypotensive, hyponatremic, or hypovolemic)
Target maintenance dose: 50 mg orally three times a day for at least two weeks to ensure a satisfactory response
Maximum dose: 450 mg/day
-Most patients experience satisfactory clinical improvement at 50 or 100 mg orally three times a day.
-Should generally be used in conjunction with a diuretic and digitalis.
Usual Adult Dose for Left Ventricular Dysfunction:
Initial dose: 6.25 mg orally once as early as three days post-myocardial infarction, followed by 12.5 mg orally three times a day; increase to 25 mg orally three times a day over the next several days, and then increase to target dose over the next several weeks as tolerated.
Target maintenance dose: 50 mg orally three times a day
Use: To improve survival following myocardial infarction in clinically stable patients with left ventricular dysfunction manifested as an ejection fraction of 40% or less and to reduce the incidence of overt heart failure and subsequent hospitalizations for congestive heart failure in these patients.
Usual Adult Dose for Diabetic Nephropathy:
25 mg orally three times a day
Comments: Other antihypertensives may be used in conjunction with this drug if additional blood pressure reduction is required.
Use: Treatment of diabetic nephropathy (proteinuria greater than 500 mg/day) in patients with type I insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and retinopathy.
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertensive Emergency:
25 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day; continue diuretic therapy and stop other antihypertensives upon initiation of this drug; may increase dose every 24 hours or less until satisfactory blood pressure or maximum dose is reached.
What other drugs will affect captopril?
Other drugs may interact with captopril, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use captopril only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 12.01.
More about captopril
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- Drug class: Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
Other brands: Capoten