Accupril®, with the generic name quinapril, belongs to a group of medicines known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE inhibitors are generally prescribed in patients with hypertension, or high blood pressure. In some patients with heart failure, Accupril® may also be given in addition to other medications. This drug is to be taken by mouth, and comes in 5-, 10-, 20- and 40-milligram (mg) tablets. Patients are often advised to strictly follow their doctors' instructions regarding their drug dosage and not to stop without informing them.
The action of ACE inhibitors is mostly directed at stopping the conversion of angiotensin I, an inactive compound, into angiotensin II. Antiotensin II causes constriction and narrowing of blood vessels, often resulting in hypertension. ACE is the enzyme, or protein, responsible for this conversion. When the function of ACE is slowed down by Accupril®, blood vessels then dilate, thus causing the blood to flow more easily.
While using Accupril®, patients need to know the side effects of the drug and to get prompt medical attention if ever these are experienced. These include allergies to the drug that can cause rashes, shortness of breath, and swelling of the lips and face. Some serious side effects to also watch out for are bleeding, irregular heartbeat, yellowing of the skin, and rapid weight gain, among many others. Less serious reactions to Accupril® include headache, diarrhea, muscle pain, and cough.
Dizziness is one the most common complaints of patients taking Accupril®. They are often advised to refrain from driving or operating machinery in order to prevent injury. Those taking this drug with other medications for hypertension may suffer from hypotension or low blood pressure. These patients are usually monitored closely during therapy, and may have their dosage adjusted.
Like many drugs, Accupril® can also be harmful to the fetus. It is important for women to inform their doctors if pregnancy occurs so that their medications can be stopped and changed. Examples of fetal injury include kidney failure, head and face deformities, and incomplete development of the lungs. Breastfeeding is also not recommended, as the drug can be passed from mother to child through the breast milk.
Most patients with hypertension are often recommended to observe a healthy lifestyle in addition to taking their Accupril® daily. They may also need to measure and record their blood pressure regularly. Visits to the doctor are often scheduled, where some blood tests are usually performed for evaluation of their response to treatment.