Side effects of ACE inhibitors


The ACE inhibitors are a group of drugs that belong to the antihypertensive drugs (blood pressure lowering agents).

What are the exact side effects?

When taking one ACE inhibitor it can be the following Side effects come:

  • a headache
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • Drowsiness
  • nervousness
  • depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation (constipation)
  • bronchitis
  • excessive drop in blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Taste discomfort
  • Liver damage

Important side effects

I.e. Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath

These are constant or occasional or even increasing noises in the ear.
Read everything about tinnitus in our topic: Tinnitus

Increased hair loss leads to bald spots on the head.

Compulsive scratching caused by very itchy skin.
Read everything about our topic: Skin itches

Agina pectoris
Excessive tightness in the chest also often associated with tightness of the heart and chest pain.
You can also find out more about angina pectoris under our topic: Angina pectoris

Tachycardia (racing heart)
Spontaneous and self-ending palpitations
You can find more about racing heart under our topic: Racing heart

Widespread, inflammatory rash

Too high a level of potassium in the blood

A decrease in the number of white blood cells (leukocytes) in the blood

Increased excretion of proteins in the urine

Dry cough
In 5-15% of the treated patients, a dry cough occurs, which occurs as a result of the inhibition of the breakdown of kinins.
Kinins are hormones in tissue that can promote the formation of edema. The inhibited degradation of the kinins in the bronchial mucous membrane leads to a dry cough, which, however, is only classified as clinically relevant in 5% of cases.
Read more about this topic at: to cough

Cough / dry cough

Dry cough and dry cough are the most common side effects that can occur from taking ACE inhibitors. About five to ten percent have very pronounced symptoms. However, up to 30 percent complain of at least a lighter cough while taking it.
The side effect comes from the fact that the breakdown of the tissue messenger substance bradykinin is inhibited. This conveys the urge to cough in the lungs and also constricts the bronchi. If the dry cough causes excessive discomfort, the ACE inhibitor must be discontinued in consultation with the doctor who prescribed the drug. Another preparation with a different active ingredient must then be taken to lower blood pressure. The so-called angiotensin-1 antagonists (sartans) are often an alternative. The mechanism of action with regard to lowering blood pressure is very similar to that of the ACE inhibitors, but there is no reduced breakdown of bradykinin and thus no irritable cough.

For more information, see: Bradykinin or cough


Tinnitus is a rare but possible side effect that can occur when taking ACE inhibitors. If ringing in the ears occurs after starting treatment with the antihypertensive agent, the doctor who prescribed the drug should be consulted. If necessary, it should be discontinued or replaced by another. However, tinnitus can have many different causes and it can also be a coincidence if the symptom occurs while taking ACE inhibitors.


Impotence is not expected as a side effect when taking ACE inhibitors. It is a typical side effect of other antihypertensive drugs known as beta blockers. ACE inhibitors have a different mechanism of action and there is no influence on potency or erectile function. If impotence occurs again, ACE inhibitors should therefore not be discontinued. The symptom must have another cause. If necessary, the family doctor or a urologist can be visited.

Read more on the subject at: Cause of erectile dysfunction

Weight gain

Weight gain is a side effect that can be triggered or promoted by various drugs. The ACE inhibitors are not included. If you gain weight while taking ACE inhibitors, this cannot be attributed to the drug. In such a case, the antihypertensive drug should never be discontinued.


ACE inhibitors do not cause or promote depression. Overall, the disease is very common and can arise from an interplay of various factors and influences. Among other things, some drugs can also promote the development of depression as a side effect. The ACE inhibitors are not included. If depression develops during use, the drug should therefore continue to be taken. In order to treat depression, for example, your family doctor can be a first point of contact.

Therapy of side effects

Despite the numerous products in the group of ACE inhibitors, if one or multiple side effects advised to discontinue the drug and do not switch to another ACE inhibitor.
The side effects are group-specific phenomena, so further therapy will lead to the evasion Angiotensin II antagonists devices.