Do not take captopril if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking captopril, call your doctor immediately. Captopril may harm the fetus.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Captopril is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It is also used to improve survival and reduce the risk of heart failure after a heart attack in patients a heart condition called left ventricular hypertrophy (enlargement of the walls of the left side of the heart). Captopril is also used to treat kidney disease (nephropathy) caused by diabetes in patients with type 1 diabetes and retinopathy (eye disease). Captopril is in a class of medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. It decreases certain chemicals that tighten the blood vessels, so blood flows more smoothly and the heart can pump blood more efficiently.
High blood pressure is a common condition, and when not treated it can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
How should this medicine be used?
Captopril comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken two or three times a day on an empty stomach, 1 hour before a meal. To help you remember to take captopril, take it around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take captopril exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Captopril controls high blood pressure and heart failure but does not cure them. Continue to take captopril even if you feel well. Do not stop taking captopril without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking captopril,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to captopril; other ACE inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin, in Lotrel), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec, in Vaseretic), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (in Prinzide, in Zestoretic), moexipril (Univasc, in Uniretic), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril, in Accuretic, in Quinaretic), and trandolapril (Mavik, in Tarka); any other medications; or any of the ingredients in captopril tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor if you have diabetes and you are taking aliskiren (Tekturna, in Amturnide, Tekamlo, Tekturna HCT). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take captopril if you have diabetes and you are also taking aliskiren.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex); diuretics ('water pills'); lithium (Lithobid); nitrates such as isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil, in Bidil), isosorbide mononitrate (Monoket), and nitroglycerin (Nitro-Dur, Nitrostat, others); other medications for high blood pressure; or potassium supplements.
- tell your doctor if you have diabetes, or heart or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking captopril.
- you should know that diarrhea, vomiting, not drinking enough fluids, and sweating a lot can cause a drop in blood pressure, which may cause lightheadedness and fainting.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these instructions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Captopril may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- salty or metallic taste, or decreased ability to taste
- fast heartbeat
- excessive tiredness
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- chest pain
- swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- stomach pain
- mouth sores
- fever, sore throat, chills, and other signs of infection
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to captopril.
Captopril tablets may have a slight sulfur odor (like rotten eggs).
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.