Lotensin (Benazepril) - Oral

Warning:

Benazepril should be discontinued as soon as pregnancy is detected. The use of this medication while pregnant can be harmful to the fetus.

What Is Lotensin?

Lotensin, also known as benazepril, is an oral prescription medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure. It is a part of a drug class called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

Lotensin works by blocking the production of a hormone called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II narrows the blood vessels and increases blood pressure. With the use of Lotensin, your blood vessels will remain relaxed so that your blood pressure can go down.

Lotensin is available for oral administration as a tablet.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Benazepril

Brand Name(s): Lotensin

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Antihypertensive agent

Available Generically: Yes 

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Oral 

Active Ingredient: Benazepril hydrochloride 

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Lotensin Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lotensin to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in people 6 years and older.

Hypertension is often diagnosed when one’s blood pressure is consistently elevated. High blood pressure is a blood pressure measurement where the top number (systolic) is higher than 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or the bottom number (diastolic) is higher than 80 millimeters of mercury.

High blood pressure can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels, which increases one’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage. Lotensin reduces blood pressure, thereby lowering your risk of hypertension-related complications.

How to Take Lotensin

As with all medications, Lotensin must be taken as instructed by your healthcare provider. This is usually once daily by mouth at doses ranging from 10 to 40 milligrams (mg). In some cases, you may be prescribed smaller doses to see how your body responds to the medication. Your healthcare provider may increase the daily dose if more blood pressure control is needed.

Lotensin can be taken with or without food. However, if it upsets your stomach, it is recommended to take it with a meal.

Storage

Store Lotensin at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees F) away from moisture or heat. Do not store it in your bathroom or kitchen. Keep this medication in a safe space away from children and pets.

Off-Label Uses

There are instances in which Lotensin may be prescribed for reasons other than what has been approved by the FDA.

Due to its positive effects on blood flow, benazepril has been studied for use in other conditions such as:

How Long Does Lotensin Take to Work?

Lotensin's antihypertensive effects can be seen as early as 30 minutes after taking a dose and may be sustained for up to 24 hours. It can take up to two weeks to achieve its full benefits. It is very important to monitor and track your blood pressure at home so that your healthcare provider can make any necessary changes to your dose.

What Are the Side Effects of Lotensin?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Lotensin include:

  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

There are other side effects that may not have been mentioned. Contact your healthcare provider for any further advice or concerns about side effects.

Severe Side Effects

Life-threatening side effects from Lotensin are rare. However, some symptoms are severe and should not be taken lightly. Seek medical help right away if you experience:

  • Signs of severe hypersensitivity (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome), characterized by rash, swelling, and shedding of the skin
  • Signs of kidney problems such as trouble urinating or blood in the urine
  • Signs of high levels of potassium such as abnormal heartbeat, confusion, weakness, and shortness of breath
  • Signs of low blood pressure such as sweating, nausea, fainting, and dizziness
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Swelling of the face, arms, legs, or throat (angioedema)

Although rare, call your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of these severe side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or think you are having a medical emergency.

Long-Term Side Effects

It is not uncommon to use Lotensin or any other high blood pressure medication for chronic blood pressure control. However, this should only be done under the guidance of your healthcare provider. It is recommended to establish a routine follow-up to monitor any unwanted side effects and to ensure the medication is working correctly.

Report Side Effects

Lotensin may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Lotensin Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For high blood pressure:
      • Adults—At first, 10 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 20 to 40 mg per day, taken as a single dose or divided into two doses.
      • Children 6 years of age and older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is usually 0.2 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 0.6 mg per kg of body weight or 40 mg per day.
      • Children younger than 6 years of age—Use is not recommended.

Modifications

Due to the possible effects of this medication, there may be changes to how it is used:

  • Adults 65 and older: As you get older, your body can become more sensitive to the effects of medications. Your healthcare provider may consider lower initial doses at the start of treatment. However, clinical studies have shown that there are not any major differences in effectiveness or safety between adults 65 and older and younger adults.
  • Children: Lotensin is not recommended in children younger than 6. Dosing for children is commonly based on weight.
  • Pregnancy: Evidence has shown potential harm to a fetus with benazepril use. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you must let your healthcare provider know so they can prescribe alternative blood pressure control treatments.
  • Kidney issues: Lotensin is mostly removed from the body by the kidneys. For people with impaired kidney function, smaller initial doses (e.g., 5 milligrams) may be recommended to see how the body responds.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Lotensin, take it as soon as you remember. If it is closer to the time of your next dose than the missed dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your recommended schedule. Do not take extra doses or multiple doses at the same time.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Lotensin?

Always take Lotensin as directed by your healthcare provider. If you take too much, you may experience a severe drop in blood pressure. Symptoms of low blood pressure (hypotension) can include dizziness, lightheadedness, and weakness. This can potentially be dangerous.

What Happens If I Overdose on Lotensin?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Lotensin, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Lotensin, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

You should not use this medicine together with sacubitril. Do not use this medicine and sacubitril/valsartan (Entresto®) within 36 hours of each other.

This medicine may cause serious types of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

Call your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain (with or without nausea or vomiting). This could be a symptom of a condition called intestinal angioedema.

Check with your doctor right away if you have bloody urine, a decrease in frequency or amount of urine, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, troubled breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain. These could be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.

Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may also occur, especially when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position, or if you have been taking a diuretic (water pill). Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you or your child know how this medicine affects you. If you feel dizzy, lie down so you do not faint. Then sit for a few moments before standing to prevent the dizziness from returning. If you faint, stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away.

Check with your doctor right away if you become sick while taking this medicine, especially with severe or continuing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These conditions may cause you to lose too much water or salt and may lead to low blood pressure. You can also lose water by sweating, so drink plenty of water during exercise or in hot weather.

Check with your doctor if you have a fever, chills, or sore throat. These may be symptoms of an infection caused by low white blood cells.

Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: abdominal or stomach pain, confusion, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips, shortness of breath, or weakness or heaviness of the legs. Do not use medicines, supplements, or salt substitutes containing potassium without first checking with your doctor.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach pain, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests.

This medicine may be less effective in black patients. Black patients also have an increased risk of swelling of the hands, arms, face, mouth, or throat. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, and herbal or vitamin supplements, since they may tend to increase your blood pressure.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Be Taking Lotensin?

Lotensin may not be the right medication for you. Do not use Lotensin if:

  • You have hypersensitivity to its ingredients (allergic reaction). Some examples of signs of an allergic reaction include hives, fever, and swelling.
  • You have a history of swelling (angioedema) with or without the use of ACE inhibitors. Angioedema is a rare but potential side effect of this class.
  • You have had an allergic reaction to other ACE inhibitors. It is important to tell your healthcare provider about your medication allergies so that they can find the best options for you.

What Other Medications Interact With Lotensin?

Taking certain medications with Lotensin can negatively affect treatment outcomes due to drug-drug interactions. Medications that may interact with Lotensin include:

  • Aliskiren: Aliskiren may increase the potential for high blood potassium, low blood pressure, and kidney toxicity.
  • Amphetamines (e.g., Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate)): The use of Lotensin with amphetamines may reduce its blood pressure-lowering effects. 
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs (e.g., Cozaar (losartan), Benicar (olmesartan)): ARBs are another class of blood-pressure-lowering medications. They may increase the concentration of Lotensin, resulting in a greater risk of side effects. 
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics (e.g., Inspra (eplerenone), Aldactone (spironolactone)): Potassium-sparing diuretics and ACE inhibitors may result in hyperkalemia, also known as high blood potassium. This can increase the risk of abnormal heartbeat and shortness of breath.
  • Entresto (sacubitril and valsartan): Use of this medication with Lotensin can increase its side effects. This combination should be avoided. 

Please be aware that this does not list all interactions with Lotensin. Always let your healthcare provider or pharmacist know what medications you are currently taking so that they can ensure your treatment regimen is appropriate.

What Other Medications Are Similar?

Other commonly used ACE inhibitors are listed below:

This is a list of other ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure. It is NOT a list of medicines recommended to take with Lotensin. You should not take these drugs together. Talk to your pharmacist or a healthcare provider if you have questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I stop taking Lotensin if my blood pressure has improved?

    Blood pressure-lowering medications should be taken as prescribed even if your blood pressure has improved. To prevent your blood pressure from rising again, it is not uncommon to take this medication for the rest of your life. Discontinuation should only be under the decision of your healthcare provider.

  • Can I drive after taking Lotensin?

    Lotensin has the potential to cause dizziness or blurred vision when you first start taking it. It is important to be aware of how your body reacts before driving or using any heavy machinery.

  • Can I drink alcohol while taking Lotensin?

    Drinking alcohol can lower your blood pressure even lower while taking Lotensin. Wait to see how your body reacts to this medication first. Watch out for signs such as dizziness or lightheadedness. If you experience this, it is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking Lotensin.

  • Why should I avoid salt-substitutes while taking Lotensin?

    Many salt substitutes have high levels of potassium. Taking any potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium with Lotensin can make your blood potassium levels too high.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Lotensin?

If you have hypertension, there are steps you can take in addition to your prescribed medications to help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is often symptomless, making it particularly dangerous as it can lead to serious complications such as heart disease or stroke if left untreated.

First, understanding your blood pressure numbers and how to get your own readings at home can be helpful for identifying if your blood pressure is uncontrolled. Keep up with your regular medical appointments and share these numbers with a healthcare provider.

Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Stay away from foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and salts; red meat; and sweets. It may be helpful to consult a registered dietitian nutritionist to devise an eating plan that works for you. Regular exercise can also be beneficial in helping to lower your blood pressure.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for high blood pressure, but lifestyle changes and medications can be effective tools for improving your health.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some drug content, as indicated on the page.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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