What You Need to Know About Lisinopril

By Gabriel Espinoza, MD

July 27, 2021


Lisinopril (brand names include Prinivil and Zestril) is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor medication. Lisinopril works to lower pressure by preventing the action of enzymes angiotensin I and II, which work to constrict your blood vessels, ultimately leading to higher blood pressure. Lisinopril is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat high blood pressure in adults and children six years and older.

Lisinopril has been on the market for thirty years. Therefore, when prescribed, it is usually one of the lower-priced blood pressure medications. It also gets used for people who suffer from heart failure. If you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack, this medication may get prescribed within 24 hours to help improve survival.

How Fast Does Lisinopril Work?

Once you start taking lisinopril, it will take about 6 hours for it to reach peak activity in the body. It remains in the body for roughly half a day, or 12 hours, and then gets excreted in the urine. Unlike some drugs for which a patient’s age can affect absorption, lisinopril’s absorption is not affected by age. How fast it gets cleared from the body depends on how well your kidneys are working.

The effects of lowering your blood pressure after you take lisinopril will be apparent after 30 hours of taking this medication. Therefore, when you get a prescription for lisinopril, it is critical to get it filled immediately at your local pharmacy and take it as soon as possible.

How Well Does Lisinopril Work?

Individuals taking lisinopril as prescribed will notice that their blood pressure is well maintained after 1–2 years of taking the medication. In patients who have been prescribed lisinopril for congestive heart failure (CHF)—a condition in which the heart does not pump blood effectively—lisinopril was shown to help reduce the negative effects of this disease. People with CHF who take lisinopril may see an improvement in their shortness of breath and fatigue.

One of the biggest benefits of lisinopril is its use in patients who have recently had a myocardial infarction, or a heart attack If given within 24 hours after suffering a heart attack, lisinopril reduced mortality when administered with nitroglycerin, aspirin, and a beta-blocker. The reduction in mortality is significant enough that lisinopril now gets given after specific types of heart attacks.

The benefits of lisinopril do not stop there. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes and are found to have small amounts of protein in your urine, ACE inhibitors like lisinopril in conjunction with good glycemic control can help prevent chronic kidney disease. In addition, lisinopril helps control blood pressure in patients with diabetes, thereby preventing further damage to the kidneys.

How Well Is Lisinopril Tolerated?

Lisinopril is a well-tolerated medication, although it is not without side effects. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

It has been observed that the elderly are more prone to experiencing these side effects. Other side effects that are more likely to occur in elderly patients include:

  • Elevated potassium levels
  • Increased creatine levels
  • Itching


Angioedema is one of the most serious side effects of taking lisinopril or any ACE inhibitor. Angioedema is swelling of the body’s mucus membranes, most commonly affecting the tongue, lips, face, and upper airway. This puts people at a high risk of developing a compromised airway if angioedema develops. If this occurs, you must call 911 immediately to receive emergency treatment at a hospital.

Serious effects like angioedema occur infrequently when taking lisinopril. However, if angioedema occurs, you will need to stop lisinopril immediately. Your doctor will prescribe an alternative blood pressure medication.

When you pick up your prescription with your savings card at your local pharmacy, your pharmacist will explain the dosing, allergies, and reactions to this medication. Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have ever had angioedema due to lisinopril because this can also occur with other ACE inhibitors.

Lisinopril Cost Effectiveness

Lisinopril has been on the market for well over 30 years, making it a more affordable medication. Coupons for lisinopril exist, and your ScriptSave® WellRx prescription saving card can help get you this medication for less than 25 cents per day.

Lisinopril works. It has an overall good safety profile and is tolerated well by many who take it. It works on patients with high blood pressure, CHF, recent heart attacks, or diabetes with tiny amounts of protein excreted in the urine. Take Lisinopril as prescribed to experience the benefits, and live a fulfilling life.

Gabriel Espinoza, MD has experience in caring for patients in both primary care and emergency settings. Some of the topics he has focused on during his medical career include various areas in public health, pediatrics, and wellness. He has coauthored a chapter on the utility of point of care ultrasound in the diagnoses of various eye conditions. The content written by Dr. Espinoza is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.






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