How does lisinopril work?
Lisinopril belongs to a class of drugs known as ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, which are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. This drug is typically one of the first-line treatments for high blood pressure. Lisinopril works by widening blood vessels and increasing blood flow throughout the body. In fact, it even increases blood flow to the penis.
What are reported side effects of lisinopril?
Patients taking lisinopril may experience dry cough, dizziness, diarrhea, chest pain, and fatigue, but few report erectile dysfunction (ED) as a side effect. Since lisinopril increases blood flow, erectile dysfunction is a rare side effect and less than 1% of people taking lisinopril report that they experience ED as a side effect.
What about other ACE inhibitors?
Other ACE inhibitors like benazepril, captopril, enalapril, quinapril, ramipril, do not typically cause erectile dysfunction. Like lisinopril, these other ACE inhibitors work by widening blood vessels and increasing blood flow, so ED is not a common side effect.
So, what is going on in the less than 1% of patients who experience ED while taking lisinopril? In some cases, this could mean that lisinopril is not fully controlling blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause problems with blood flow to the penis and increase your risk for ED.
Also, patients may experience symptoms of ED if they take lisinopril in combination with other medications that cause erectile dysfunction, like antihistamines or antidepressants. Other blood pressure medications like diuretics and beta-blockers can also cause ED as a side effect, and these are often taken along with lisinopril to better control hypertension.
If you happen to fall into the small group of people who do experience ED with an ACE inhibitor, speak with your doctor about alternatives that don’t cause ED.
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