ACE inhibitors

Synonyms: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I)

Medical Specialties: Cardiology, Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

ACE Inhibitors are a class of drugs that block the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, used in the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure, and in the prevention of microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus. 

In Our Own Words

ACE inhibitors are medications that work by lowering the blood pressure and allowing your heart to do less work. ACE inhibitors are important in the approach to coronary heart disease, heart attacks and heart failure. Interestingly, they may also help slow or stop kidney disease from getting worse.

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBS) are as effective as ACE inhibitors in treating high blood pressure, and a recurring cough does not appear frequently as a side effect. ACE inhibitors have been around longer than ARBs, so more is known about them. 

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Vasotec
  • Capoten
  • Monopril
Side Effects
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Swelling of face, mouth, upper airway or intestine
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  • Banerji A, Clark S, Blanda M, et al. “Multicenter study of patients with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-induced angioedema who present to the emergency department.” Annals of Allergy, Asthma, Immunology 2008; 100:327. Accessed June 2013.
  • Matchar DB, McCrory DC, et al. Systematic review: “Comparative effectiveness of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers for treating essential hypertension.” Annals of Internal Medicine 2008; 148:16. Accessed June 2013.
  • Hollenberg, NK. “Pharmacologic interruption of the renin-angiotensin system and the kidney: differential responses to angiotensin-converting enzyme and renin inhibition.” Journal of American Society of Nephrology 1999; 10 (Supp. 11: S239-242). Accessed June 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. ACE inhibitors. Accessed June 2013.
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