Generic Name: enalapril (en-AL-a-pril MAL-ee-ate)
Discontinue enalapril maleate as soon as possible when pregnancy is detected, since fetal toxicity, including injury and death to the developing fetus, can be caused by drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on July 5, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antihypertensive
Pharmacologic Class: Enalapril
Uses for enalapril
Enalapril is used alone or together with other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. If it continues for a long time, the heart and arteries may not function properly. This can damage the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys, resulting in a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. Lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Enalapril is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. It works by blocking a substance in the body that causes the blood vessels to tighten. As a result, enalapril relaxes the blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Enalapril is also used in combination with other medicines to treat congestive heart failure and cut down on the number of hospital visits for heart problems.
Enalapril is available only with your doctor's prescription. .
Before using enalapril
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For enalapril, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to enalapril or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of enalapril to treat hypertension in children 1 month to 16 years of age. However, use is not recommended in children younger than 1 month of age and in children with severe kidney disease.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of enalapril in geriatric patients. Elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving enalapril.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking enalapril, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using enalapril with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using enalapril with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Alteplase, Recombinant
- Azilsartan Medoxomil
- Candesartan Cilexetil
- Interferon Alfa-2a
- Olmesartan Medoxomil
- Potassium Phosphate
Using enalapril with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Bupivacaine Liposome
- Choline Salicylate
- Ethacrynic Acid
- Flufenamic Acid
- Gold Sodium Thiomalate
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Propionic Acid
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of enalapril. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, or legs), history of—May increase the risk of this condition occurring again.
- Collagen vascular disease (an autoimmune disease) together with kidney disease—Increased risk of blood problems.
- Diabetes or
- Kidney problems—Increased risk of potassium levels in the body becoming too high.
- Diabetic patients who are also taking aliskiren (Tekturna®) or
- Hereditary or idiopathic angioedema—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Electrolyte imbalance (eg, low sodium in the blood) or
- Fluid imbalances (caused by dehydration, vomiting, or diarrhea) or
- Heart or blood vessel problems (eg, aortic stenosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) or
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of enalapril
In addition to the use of enalapril, treatment for your high blood pressure may include weight control and changes in the types of foods you eat, especially foods high in sodium (salt). Your doctor will tell you which of these are most important for you. You should check with your doctor before changing your diet.
Many patients who have high blood pressure will not notice any signs of the problem. In fact, many may feel normal. It is very important that you take your medicine exactly as directed and that you keep your appointments with your doctor even if you feel well.
Remember that enalapril will not cure your high blood pressure but it does help control it. Therefore, you must continue to take it as directed if you expect to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. You may have to take high blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. If high blood pressure is not treated, it can cause serious problems such as heart failure, blood vessel disease, stroke, or kidney disease.
Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
If your child cannot swallow the tablets, an oral liquid may be given. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about this.
The dose of enalapril will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of enalapril. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage forms (oral solution or tablets):
- For high blood pressure:
- Adults—At first, 5 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 40 mg per day.
- Children 1 month of age and older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is usually 0.08 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 0.58 mg per kg of body weight or 40 mg per day.
- Children younger than 1 month of age—Use is not recommended.
- For heart failure:
- Adults—At first, 2.5 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 40 mg per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For abnormal heart ventricle:
- Adults—At first, 2.5 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 20 mg per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For high blood pressure:
If you miss a dose of enalapril, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Store the Epaned® mixed oral liquid in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 60 days. Keep the Vasotec® mixed oral liquid in the refrigerator and store it for up to 30 days. Do not freeze.
Precautions while using enalapril
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure enalapril is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using enalapril 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.
You should not use enalapril together with sacubitril. Do not use enalapril and sacubitril/valsartan (Entresto®) within 36 hours of each other.
Enalapril may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using enalapril.
Call your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain (with or without nausea or vomiting). This could be a symptom of a condition called intestinal angioedema.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may also occur, especially when you get up from a lying or sitting position or if you have been taking a diuretic (water pill). Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you or your child know how enalapril affects you. If you feel dizzy, lie down so you do not faint. Then sit for a few moments before standing to prevent the dizziness from returning.
Check with your doctor right away if you become sick while taking enalapril, especially with severe or continuing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These conditions may cause you to lose too much water or salt and may lead to low blood pressure. You can also lose water by sweating, so drink plenty of water during exercise or in hot weather.
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 cells.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using enalapril. Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: abdominal or stomach pain, confusion, difficulty with breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips, shortness of breath, or weakness or heaviness of the legs. Do not use supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium without first checking with your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if you have bloody urine, a decrease in frequency or amount of urine, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, troubled breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain. These could be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using enalapril. You may need to stop using enalapril several days before having surgery.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Enalapril side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Chest pain
- cough producing mucus
- difficult or labored breathing
- fever or chills
- sore throat
- tightness in the chest
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Lack or loss of strength
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
More about enalapril
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 22 Reviews
- Drug class: Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
- FDA Alerts (1)
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