ACE Inhibitors and ARB's



Common ACE inhibitors may include

  • Captopril - brand name Capoten
  • Lisinopril - brand name Prinivil and Zestril 
  • Quinapril - brand name Accupril

ACE stands for Angiotensin Converting Enzyme.A protein in your blood called Angiotensin II causes blood vessels to constrict and fluid to be retained in your blood.

Angiotensin II is present in everyone's blood.....however...

The concentration of Angiotensin II in the blood has been found to be significantly higher in people with certain disease processes such as hypertension.

ACE's are drugs that have been developed to specifically interfere with the action of the Angiotensin converting enzyme in people who have certain diseases where the Angiotensin II protein concentration is usually abnormally high.


Watch the video below for info on ACE's and other anti hypertensive medications

such as Beta Blockers


The Action of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme med's:

ACE's work by blocking the production of a particular enzyme that is involved in the process of converting Angiotensin I into Angiotensin II.

With the action of Angiotensin II curtailed, your blood vessels widen and blood volume is reduced. The load to the pumping chamber(S) of your heart is also reduced.

ACE Inhibitors are used to treat...

  • heart failure (CHF)
  • elevated blood pressure or hypertension
  • diabetic nerve disorders known as neuropathy

ACE's may also be used immediately following a heart attack as damage to the heart muscle could cause reduced left ventricular efficiency and encourage heart failure (CHF) to set in.

In people who have been diagnosed with heart failure (CHF)...including those outside of the acute heart attack setting...the use of ACE's has shown a strong statistical reduction in the likelihood of death due to that specific cause.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Irritating cough
  • potassium retention - this can increase the risk of cardiac arrest
  • Immune system dysfunction - in the form of granulocytopenia
  • Swelling of eyes, mouth and throat


Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonists or Blockers

  • Valsartan - brand name Diovan
  • Losartan - brand name Cozaar
  • Candesartan - brand name Atacand

These drugs are commonly known as ARB's (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers) and are very similar to ACE's...in fact they are often used as an alternative as some research suggests that they may produce fewer side effects.

As the name suggests, ARB's interfere with the action of Angiotensin II on their target cells. This produces a similar effect to that of ACE Inhibitors by relaxing blood vessels.

Possible side effects may include:

  • low blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • allergic reactions
  • visual disturbances
  • Cough
  • Joint Pain


Click here to go from ACE Inhibitors to Heart Drugs