How Do ACE Inhibitors Work?

Reviewed on 4/27/2021

What Are ACE Inhibitors and How Do They Work?

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors work by primarily relaxing the blood vessels and thereby bringing down the elevated blood pressure. They are a class of medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure, heart problems, and other conditions.

ACE inhibitors act by stopping the action of an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme. This enzyme converts a signal protein in the body, angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a substance that narrows the blood vessels and contributes to salt and water retention in the body, which increases blood pressure. ACE inhibitors block the action of angiotensin II and dilate the blood vessels, which in turn lowers the blood pressure.

Other effects of ACE inhibitors include breaking down of bradykinin (responsible for dilating the blood vessels). ACE inhibitors block the action of ACE and stop the breaking down of bradykinin. An increase in bradykinin levels causes widening of blood vessels and helps in decreasing the blood pressure.

How Are ACE Inhibitors Used?

ACE inhibitors are effective for:

What Are Side Effects of ACE Inhibitors?

Common side effects of ACE inhibitors include:

Some rare but serious side effects may include:

The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.


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General Information About ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors should not be taken with an angiotensin receptor blocker or with a direct renin inhibitor. The intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium should also be limited as they decrease the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors.

ACE inhibitors work better for younger people than for older people.

It was believed that taking ACE inhibitors may pose serious illness in COVID-19 patients. However, recent observational studies did not provide any such evidence. A panel convened by the US National Institutes of Health recommends continuing ACE inhibitors if necessary for patients with COVID-19 in its treatment guidelines.

What Are Common Drug Names of ACE Inhibitors?

Drug Names of ACE Inhibitors Include:


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