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Captopril (Capoten) Uses, Adverse Effects & Dosage

What is captopril, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Captopril is an oral drug and a member of a class
of drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
ACE inhibitors
are used for treating

high blood pressure,
heart failure,
and for preventing
kidney failure
due to high blood pressure and
Other ACE inhibitors include
(Vasotec), quinapril
(Accupril), ramipril
fosinopril (Monopril),
lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil),
(Univasc) and
trandolapril (Mavik).

Angiotensin II is a very potent chemical that causes the muscles surrounding
blood vessels to contract, thereby narrowing the vessels. The narrowing of the
vessels increases the pressure within the vessels causing high blood pressure
(hypertension). Angiotensin II is formed from angiotensin I in the blood by the
enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE. ACE inhibitors are medications that
slow (inhibit) the activity of the enzyme ACE and decrease the production of
angiotensin II. As a result, blood vessels enlarge or dilate, and blood pressure
is reduced. The lower blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood
and can improve the function of a failing heart. In addition, progression of the
disease in the blood vessels within the kidney caused by high blood pressure or
diabetes is slowed. The FDA approved captopril in April 1981.

What brand names are available for captopril?


Is captopril available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for captopril?


What are the side effects of captopril?

Captopril generally is well tolerated, and side effects are
usually mild and transient. A
persistent cough has been reported commonly with the use of captopril and other ACE
inhibitors. Coughing resolves after discontinuing the drug. Other side effects

abdominal pain,
fatigue, headache,
loss of taste, loss of appetite,
fainting and
numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.

Captopril and other ACE inhibitors
also may cause kidney failure and increased levels of potassium in the blood.
Serious but, fortunately, very rare side effects are
liver failure and angioedema (swelling of lips and throat that can obstruct breathing).


Salt and sodium are the same.
See Answer

What is the dosage for captopril?

  • The recommended dose of captopril for treating hypertension in adults
    is 25-150 mg two or three times daily.
  • The maximum dose is 450 mg daily. The
    dose for treating heart failure is 6.25 to 12.5 mg every 8 hours.
  • The target
    dose is 50 mg every 8 hours and the maximum dose is 450 mg daily.
  • The dose for
    diabetic nephropathy is 25 mg every 8 hours.
  • It should be taken on an empty
    stomach one hour before or two hours after meals since absorption of captopril
    is reduced when it is taken with food.

Which drugs or supplements interact with captopril?

: The use of ACE inhibitors with potassium supplements, salt
substitutes or diuretics, for example,
(Aldactone), that increase potassium in the blood may lead to excessive
potassium levels (hyperkalemia).
Potassium levels should be monitored whenever ACE inhibitors are used in
combination with these drugs.

There have been reports of increased
lithium (Eskalith,
Lithobid) levels when lithium is used in combination with ACE inhibitors. The
reason for this interaction is not known, but the increased levels may lead to
toxicity from lithium.

There have been reports that aspirin and other

nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as
ibuprofen (Advil,
Children’s Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, etc.),
indomethacin (Indocin,
Indocin-SR), and
naproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve) may reduce the effects of ACE

Combining captopril or other ACE inhibitors with nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in patients who are elderly, volume-depleted
(including those on diuretic therapy), or with poor kidney function may result
in reduced kidney function, including kidney failure. These effects are usually

Nitritoid reactions (symptoms include facial flushing, nausea, vomiting and
low blood
pressure) may occur when injectable gold (sodium aurothiomalate), used in the
treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is combined with ACE inhibitors, including

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Is captopril safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Captopril is secreted in
breast milk.
Therefore it should be avoided by nursing mothers.

What else should I know about captopril?

What preparations of captopril are available?

Tablets: 12.5, 25, 50, and 100 mg

How should I keep captopril stored?

Captopril should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F
to 86 F) and away from moisture.


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