What is Perindopril?

Michele Wyan

Perindopril is a medication that is prescribed for high blood pressure. It can be used alone or in combination with other drugs. Perindopril is also used for treatment of coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. In addition, physicians might prescribe this medication to treat kidney disease caused by diabetes or high blood pressure.

A man has his blood pressure checked. Perindopril may help lower high blood pressure.
A man has his blood pressure checked. Perindopril may help lower high blood pressure.

This drug belongs to a group of drugs known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Angiotensin-converting enzyme helps produce a chemical in the blood that causes blood vessels to narrow, creating high blood pressure. ACE inhibitors such as perindopril help dilate blood vessels, thereby decreasing blood pressure.

Perindopril comes in tablet form. It’s taken orally once or twice a day. Physicians might start patients out on a low dose of the medication and increase the dosage as needed to control a patient’s symptoms. A common initial dosage is 4 milligrams taken per day. This might be increased to as much as 16 milligrams per day.

Patients who are using this blood pressure treatment should not take potassium supplements without talking to a healthcare professional first. People on this drug should also talk to a physician before using salt substitutes that contain potassium. Perindopril can elevate potassium levels.

Like all medications, perindopril has potential side effects. Some common reactions to the drug include cough, headache, weakness, dizziness, diarrhea, stomach pain or an upset stomach. More serious side effects such as fainting, an increase or decrease in the heartbeat, problems swallowing or breathing, jaundice or swelling can also occur. Anyone experiencing these complications while taking perindopril should contact a doctor immediately.

Pregnant women should consult their physicians prior to taking this medication. Studies have demonstrated that it can cause serious harm to the fetus. In addition, while it’s not known whether this drug can be passed through breast milk, women who are breastfeeding should discuss the use of this blood pressure treatment with their doctors.

Perindopril also can have negative interactions with a number of other drugs. For this reason, patients should notify their doctors of any other medications they are taking, as well as any herbs or other dietary supplements they use. Drugs with which this blood pressure medication might be contraindicated or with which a doctor might need to adjust a patient's medication dosages include lithium, diuretics, cyclosporine, heparin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and indometacin.

Although perindopril helps control high blood pressure, it doesn’t cure the condition. Patients might need blood pressure medication for the rest of their lives. Failure to treat high blood pressure, though, can result in heart attacks, strokes or death. It’s important for patients to take their prescribed medication even if they don't feel ill, and high blood pressure medicines should not be discontinued without a doctor’s guidance.

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