ACE inhibitors are a group of drugs designed to combat hypertension and congestive heart failure. ACE stands for Angiotensin Converting Enzymes and the inhibitor blocks the affects of angiotensin which constricts blood vessels and causes the heart to work overtime to pump blood throughout the body. Blood vessels are able to relax and dilate which in turn lowers blood pressure. ACE inhibitors are common prescribed to those suffering from diabetes and kidney disease.
In general, ACE inhibitors are well-tolerated by those undergoing treatment for high blood pressure. However, adverse side effects are not uncommon and many patients have been forced to ease taking the medication. Multiple different companies market and manufacture a type of ACE inhibitor.
ACE inhibitors carry the most severe FDA warning- the Black Box warning. The warning label informs patients that ACE inhibitors should not be taken during the second and third trimester as the drug has a strong correlation to severe birth defects and fetal death. Exposure to ACE inhibitors during pregnancy can lead to skull deformities, kidney failure and lung problems. While the FDA has only prohibited ACE inhibitors for the last two-third of pregnancy, many other countries have banned the drug all together for pregnant women.
Side effects in non-pregnant patients can range from a simple cough to vomiting, skin rashes and swelling. In severe cases, ACE inhibitor patients have experienced heart attacks and other heart-related maladies as a result of intolerance to the drug.
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