Your doctor has decided to use Lotensin (benazepril HCl) to treat your high blood pressure. Here are some things to know about Lotensin in order to use it safely, and get the most benefit.
Patients who have high blood pressure are often unaware of any signs of this problem. In fact, many feel quite normal. Yet, if high blood pressure is not treated, it can cause serious problems such as heart disease, blood vessel disease, stroke or kidney disease. Some patients have to take medicine to control high blood pressure for the rest of their lives. It is very important that you take your medicine exactly as directed and keep regular appointments with your doctor even if you feel well.
Lotensin belongs to a class of drugs known as Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Lotensin helps to control high blood pressure by preventing your body from producing a substance (angiotensin) that increases blood pressure.
Using Lotensin safely
What does your doctor need to know about you? To decide whether you can take Lotensin safely, your doctor must know whether you have certain medical conditions. Before taking Lotensin, make sure your doctor knows if you have:
- allergic reactions to drugs
- kidney disease
- previously taken medications, especially diuretics (“water pills”)
- other medical problems.
Are you pregnant or breast-feeding? You should not take Lotensin if you are pregnant since it can cause injury or even death to a developing fetus. If you become pregnant, you should report to your doctor immediately. Also, since Lotensin can pass into breast milk, it is not recommended that you take Lotensin while breast-feeding.
What about taking other drugs at the same time? Please give your doctor precise information on any other drugs you may be taking, especially other drugs that lower blood pressure, drugs serving to remove fluids (diuretics, “water pills”) or potassium supplements (e.g., Slow K).
Salt substitute preparations: You should not take any salt substitutes containing potassium while using Lotensin. Read the label of these products to see if they contain potassium.
Along with its intended action, any medication, including Lotensin, may cause side effects. Most people do not have any problems with side effects, but if they do occur they may require medical attention.
During the first few days of Lotensin therapy, some patients may experience lightheadedness or dizziness. If this happens to you it should be reported to your doctor. If your dizziness is severe and causes fainting, stop taking Lotensin and contact your doctor. Dizziness or lightheadedness may also occur during your Lotensin therapy if you experience an extreme loss of body water due to excessive sweating, inadequate fluid intake, vomiting or diarrhea.
In rare instances, patients who have been given an ACE inhibitor drug have developed swelling of the face, lips, tongue, ankles, wrists, or difficulty swallowing or breathing. In the event that you develop any of these symptoms, you should stop taking Lotensin and contact your doctor immediately.
The following reactions may also occur at the start of treatment with Lotensin:
- difficulty sleeping
- feelings of anxiety
- stomach upset
- hot flashes
- noises in the ears
These reactions often go away within 1 to 2 weeks of treatment. However, if these or any other problems appear and do not go away during treatment, you should report them to your doctor.
Please tell your doctor if any of the following happens:
- a sign of infection (e.g., sore throat, fever)
- “viral-like” symptoms (e.g., fever, a feeling of illness, muscle pain, rash, enlargement of glands), abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of skin and/or eyes), itching or any other unexplained symptoms that occur in the first weeks to months of therapy
- coughing, sore throat, sinusitis
- sad mood (depression)
- pain in the chest.
Sometimes drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure may adversely affect your powers of concentration. Make sure you know how you react to Lotensin before you drive, use machines or do other tasks that require you to be alert.
How to take Lotensin
Always take your dose of Lotensin as directed by your doctor. Never change the dose unless told to do so. You can take your Lotensin before, during or after a meal since food will not decrease its effectiveness.
Lotensin will not cure high blood pressure, but it does help to control it. You must continue to take Lotensin as directed if you expect to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working the way it should.
To help you to remember to take your medicine, try to take it at the same time each day. If you miss a dose, try to take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is less than 10 hours until your next dose anyway, skip the missed dose and then go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at the same time.
Protect your tablets from heat (store at 15 to 30°C) and humidity.
Your doctor has prescribed Lotensin for you after a careful review of your medical condition. Use it only as directed and do not give it to anyone else. If you require more information, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Keep this and all medication out of the reach of children. If you suspect you are experiencing side effects, stop taking the tablets and notify your doctor