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Enalapril is an ACE inhibitor medication used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It can relax your blood vessels, making it easier to pump blood around your body. This can lower your blood pressure.
Enalapril is a generic medication containing the active ingredient enalapril maleate. Enalapril can be prescribed between 5mg and 40mg, with 20mg daily being the usual long term dose.
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Enalapril is a medication used to treat high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. It belongs to a group of medicines known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. It works by relaxing your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure. Enalapril is taken at the same time every day. Doses start from 5mg to 40mg, depending on your blood pressure.
You should take enalapril every day, at the same time. If you are prescribed 2 tablets a day, take 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. Swallow the tablets whole, with a glass of water. You can take it with or without food.
The starting dose is between 5mg and 20mg. You may be prescribed a lower dose which can be increased by your doctor, depending on how well it works for you. The long term dose is 20mg daily, which can be increased to 40mg if needed. Do not stop taking enalapril without speaking to a doctor first. Only take as many as you are prescribed.
You can drink alcohol with enalapril, although it is not recommended, especially when you first start taking it. Alcohol and enalapril can both cause dizziness, which will get worse if taken together. Until you get used to your medication, avoid alcohol if you can.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss your dose, wait until your next dose is due and keep taking enalapril as prescribed. Do not take 2 tablets at once to make up for your missed dose.
What if I take too much?
If you take more enalapril than prescribed, speak to your doctor, go to A&E, or call 999 straight away. Take your tablet packet with you. If you take too much, you may get side effects such as sleepiness, dizziness, and heart palpitations (pounding heartbeat).
Enalapril is a medication known as an ACE inhibitor. It prevents an enzyme in your body from producing a substance called angiotensin II, which makes your blood vessels narrow. This means enalapril widens and relaxes your blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. This will make your blood pressure lower. Enalapril needs to be taken every day to keep working.
Enalapril works best when taken every day, at the same time. Enalapril is safe to be taken for a long time and can be taken for the rest of your life. You may see a change within a few hours of taking it, but it can take up to a few weeks to get the best effect. It is important to keep taking enalapril even if you feel better.
Enalapril is effective in treating high blood pressure in 77% of patients in this study. In the 23% of other patients, another blood pressure medication was needed. Some patients need more than one medication to maintain their blood pressure.
Enalapril can cause some side effects, but not everybody will get them. Most side effects go away once your body is used to the medication. If you get any side effects that bother you or do not go away, speak to your doctor.
Very common side effects include:
- blurred vision
- dizziness or weakness
- nausea (feeling sick)
Common side effects include:
- low blood pressure, which can cause chest pain or a change in heartbeat
- diarrhoea and abdominal pain
- change in taste
- weakness or fatigue
- shortness of breath
Uncommon side effects include:
- changes in blood test levels
- kidney problems
- runny nose
- muscle cramps
- erectile dysfunction
- vertigo, which is a feeling of spinning
- changes in mood
- heart palpitations
- hair loss
There are other side effects but these are rare. You can find out more information and a full list of side effects in the patient information leaflet located in your tablet pack, or online.
You should call your doctor straight away or go to A&E, and stop taking enalapril if you get:
- signs of a stroke
- swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, which could be a sign of a serious allergic reaction
- swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
- ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
- yellowing of your skin, or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- signs of a heart attack
- an unexplained rash or red, burning, and peeling skin
Enalapril is suitable for use in adults or children who have high blood pressure.
It may not be suitable to take if you:
- have diabetes, as enalapril can lower your blood sugar levels
- are allergic to enalapril
- have liver, heart, or kidney problems
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- are on dialysis
- have a blood problem
- have low or unstable blood pressure
- are due to have an operation
- have had diarrhoea and vomiting recently
- are on a low-salt diet
Speak to your doctor before taking enalapril if you have any other conditions.
Some medications cannot be taken with enalapril.
Speak to your doctor if you take:
- any other blood pressure medication
- anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
- medicines that could lower your blood pressure, such as antidepressants or Viagra
- medication for your immune system, such as ciclosporin
- lithium, for mental health problems
- racecadotril, for diarrhoea
- diabetic medication
- procainamide, for heart problems
- allopurinol, for gout
- medication containing steroids
- diuretics (water tablets)
- medication that increases potassium levels in your body, such as potassium supplements or heparin
You should not use salt substitutes, such as Lo-Salt, whilst taking enalapril. Enalapril can change the level of potassium in your body and salt substitutes are high in potassium. This could cause your potassium levels to become too high.
If enalapril is not suitable for you or does not work, there are alternative treatments that we stock.
- beta-blockers, such as bisoprolol
- angiotensin II receptor antagonists, such as losartan or irbesartan
- other ACE inhibitors, such as lisinopril or ramipril
- diuretics, such as bendroflumethiazide
- alpha-blockers, such as doxazosin
Speak to one of our doctors about alternative treatments.
You should not stop taking enalapril, even if you feel better. Enalapril is safe to be taken for a long time and can be used for the rest of your life. When you stop taking enalapril, your blood pressure will increase. Speak to your doctor if you want to stop taking enalapril.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 26 Jun 2019
Enalapril (2018) NHS [accessed Dec 2021]
Enalapril 10mg Tablets (2020) EMC [accessed Dec 2021]
High blood pressure (hypertension) (2019) NHS [accessed Dec 2021]
Study on the effectiveness of enalapril as a monotherapy in mild to moderate hypertension (1996) PubMed [accessed Dec 2021]
Enalapril, NICE/British National Formulary [accessed Dec 2021]
In order to avoid related health risks, your blood pressure needs to be kept within the normal range. Because of this, you shouldn’t miss doses of your blood pressure treatment if possible. You reorder your treatment quickly and conveniently from ZAVA, to avoid running out.