Vasotec® is the product name for enalapril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor drug. This class of drugs helps to ease the flow of blood by lowering the levels of chemicals which constrict blood vessels. Vasotec® is used in the treatment of diabetes-related kidney problems, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and to bolster the chances of survival following a heart attack. It can be taking alone or in combination with other drugs.
The drug is an oral medication that is taken one or two times a day, depending on the needs of the patient. It contains a combination of extended- and immediate-release ingredients and must be administered at approximately the same time daily. Doctors usually begin Vasotec® therapy with a low dose which is slowly increased, depending on the patient’s reaction to the drug.
Proper absorption of Vasotec® can be affected by some elements of the patient’s diet. The potassium in some salt substitutes may have an adverse affect on the drug. A doctor may also prescribe a low-sodium and low-salt diet in order to avoid these effects.
Previous conditions such as kidney, liver, or heart disease, diabetes, or connective tissue diseases such as lupus should be reported to a doctor before taking Vasotec®. Patients who have had these illnesses are usually tested in order to ensure that it is safe for them to take the drug. If it is determined the drug does not pose a risk, the doctor will typically prescribe a specially adjusted dosage.
As there is a risk of birth defects from taking Vasotec®, pregnant women cannot take the drug. Women on the drug are also usually advised to be particularly vigilant in the regular use of birth control. If a female patient does get pregnant, she must stop taking the drug immediately.
The most common side effects from taking Vasotec® are minor and only need to be reported to a doctor if they don’t eventually disappear or if they become more severe. Some patients may experience a rash or cough. Dizziness and weakness have also been reported as side effects from taking the drug.
There are also several more severe, but uncommon, possible side effects from taking Vasotec®. These reactions should receive immediate medical attention. Signs of allergies, such as breathing or swallowing problems or swelling in the extremities, face, throat, or tongue must be reported as soon as possible. Any signs of infection, including chills, fever, and sore throat are considered to be serious. Some patients also experience hoarseness, fainting or light-headedness, and yellowing of the eyes or skin.