Long-Term Side Effects of Lisinopril

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Lisinopril is a popular medication used by millions of people to keep their blood pressure under control. Available under many brand names, such as Qbrelis, Prinivil, and Zestril, it belongs to a category of drugs called Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE-i) and can help boost life expectancy in people with recent cardiac events.

Despite its high therapeutic value, lisinopril can sometimes lead to side effects. The most common ones of these side effects are acute and mild, like dizziness and coughing. However, some people may develop long-term side effects from lisinopril, risking their health. So if you or someone you love has been using this medication for some time, experts strongly advise familiarizing yourself with its adverse effects to avoid unnecessary risks.

An Overview of Lisinopril Long-Term Side Effects

While lisinopril is generally safe, it can sometimes lead to certain side effects. Most people know how lisinopril can commonly lead to acute side effects, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Headaches
  • Coughing
  • Nausea, vomiting, or digestive problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing
  • Weakness
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness

Many people, however, develop long-term side effects from using this medication which may include:

Low Blood Sugar

Lisinopril can cause changes in blood sugar levels, making diabetes worse for users.

Impaired Renal Function

Because lisinopril mainly acts on the kidneys, consuming it for a long time may alter the renal function, leading to damage and even impairment of normal functions.


Lisinopril has been designed to lower blood pressure and keep it under a healthy limit. However, in some people, especially those taking it in higher doses, the blood pressure reduction may happen more significantly, leading to dizziness and even fainting. This effect may become more pronounced in people combining lisinopril with other sedatives, such as benzodiazepines and opioids.

High Potassium Levels

Lisinopril can mess with the potassium levels in the blood, leading to hyperkalemia. This is why many healthcare experts closely monitor potassium levels in people prescribed this medication. Some symptoms of high potassium levels include weakness, nausea, tingling and numbness in different body parts, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and muscle cramps.  Individuals with kidney issues and diabetes or those already taking certain medications are more likely to experience hyperkalemia with lisinopril.

Addiction and Abuse

If a person already struggling with substance abuse or addiction starts taking a new medication, they are very likely to abuse it along with others. The same holds for lisinopril, as many people continue to overdose on it despite having no addiction potential. Hence, it is imperative to let a healthcare provider know if you have a history of substance abuse so they can monitor you for any signs of compulsive drug abuse. Mentioned below are some common signs that may indicate underlying prescription drug abuse:

  • Forging prescriptions to get more drug
  • Stealing drug
  • Changing doctors to get more prescriptions
  • Losing prescriptions more frequently
  • Taking medication in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed
  • Poor decision making
  • Experiencing sleep disruptions, mood swings, or eating issues
  • Lying about how much of a drug you consume
  • Requiring refills more often than necessary
  • Becoming aggressive or defensive when someone asks about drug abuse

Such people may experience lisinopril withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit the drug.

Possible Drug Interactions: The Danger of Mixing Lisinopril with Other Drugs

Because lisinopril primarily treats high blood pressure and heart disease, it can interact with many other medications, reducing efficacy. These interactions can also stop lisinopril from working or exacerbate heart damage instead of controlling it. Some examples of these drugs include Ritalin, Adderall, bath salts, and cocaine which can all increase blood pressure while reducing the efficacy of lisinopril at the same time. Certain sedative drugs reduce blood pressure and, when taken with lisinopril, can lead to dangerous BP drops.

Alcohol is one of the most common substances to mix with lisinopril, which can easily bring harmful consequences. Even though alcohol is legal in the United States for adults, this sedative substance can reduce blood pressure and increase the risk of lisinopril side effects. Following are some other drugs that may interact with lisinopril to trigger long-term side effects:

  • Diuretics
  • Lithium
  • Other drugs belonging to ACE inhibitors
  • Potassium supplements
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin
  • Diabetes medications, for example, insulin

Contraindications & Warnings of Using Lisinopril

As effective as possible, lisinopril may be unsafe for many people. Others may require more vigilant monitoring while taking it.


Lisinopril overdose is uncommon and not expected to be toxic. However, it can cause a significant drop in blood pressure which may lead to fatal consequences. Hence, if you suspect someone has overdosed on it, contact emergency medical help immediately.


A contraindication may include any condition or situation that may make lisinopril use too hazardous. Some of the contraindications associated with this drug include the following:

  • Pregnancy: Because of the potential risk of congenital fetal disabilities and death, pregnant ladies must be careful while using lisinopril.
  • Allergies: Anyone allergic to lisinopril or any other drug in the ACE inhibitors category must never use it.
  • Associated angioedema: Angioedema describes the swelling of the neck, head, and digestive system. It normally occurs as an allergic reaction to medications, such as lisinopril. Anyone who has previously experienced angioedema due to lisinopril or another similar drug must avoid it at all costs, as it may quickly become fatal.
  • Hereditary/Idiopathic angioedema: Some people are born with a problem known as hereditary angioedema. Such people are naturally deficient in a certain protein that controls the fluid that passes out of their blood vessels and collects in tissue spaces. Such people will likely experience angioedema triggered by various factors, such as injuries, food, stress, infections, and even sunlight. Such people must never use lisinopril or other ACE inhibitors as they may also act as a trigger.

Many people can use lisinopril to keep their blood pressure under control but require close monitoring to avoid potential side effects. These people normally include those who are at risk of developing:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Low blood sodium
  • High potassium levels in the blood
  • Dehydration

Considering the risk of angioedema, experts also take exceptional care while prescribing lisinopril to people with certain types of blood vessel issues, autoimmune diseases, or heart issues. In general, any contraindications that apply to any type of ACE inhibitor apply to all people. A person who has had problems with one type of ACE inhibitor is never given another drug of a similar category.


Most ACE inhibitors, including lisinopril, tend to work less effectively in people of African American descent. Moreover, these populations are at a higher risk of acquiring angioedema secondary to lisinopril and other similar drugs.

Pregnancy and Nursing

As mentioned before, lisinopril is not safe for consumption during pregnancy as it may lead to birth defects or even fetal death. Notify a doctor immediately if you have been taking lisinopril and find out you are pregnant. Even though the safety of lisinopril has been well-studied in nursing women and infants, healthcare providers usually choose a different drug for such females until they stop breastfeeding.

Use in Children and Seniors

As per the United States Food and Drug Administration, lisinopril is safe for use in children as young as six years old to control blood pressure. While some experts may prescribe it for younger children, its safety has yet to be officially established. Older people, such as those around 65, can also take lisinopril. However, most require close monitoring and screening for potential side effects.


Why do doctors prescribe lisinopril?

Lisinopril and other similar medications in the ACE inhibitors category are primarily prescribed to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attack and damage to the blood vessels. Many doctors also prescribe it to people with a recent heart attack, as the medication significantly reduces the likelihood of another attack in the future when combined with healthy lifestyle changes.

Can lisinopril cause sexual side effects in users?

Lisinopril has been found to cause sexual side effects, particularly in males. Research confirms that it can induce erectile dysfunction in some men; however, it can also occur as an independent symptom of high blood pressure for which a person uses lisinopril. These sexual side effects are not common to hit women.

What are the dangers of taking lisinopril in the long run?

Even though long-term side effects of lisinopril are rare, it is possible to develop them. Most of these long-term side effects are mild and get better quickly, regardless of whether a person stops or continues treatment. Serious side effects, on the other hand, often require withdrawing from the drug to get better. For instance, people who secure kidney damage after taking lisinopril may recover as soon as they stop taking the medication. On the other hand, liver damage due to this drug may sometimes lead to long-term complications. There is not enough evidence to suggest that taking lisinopril for longer periods increases the risk of these side effects. However, doctors advise those on its long-term use to keep having blood tests to monitor the drug’s effects on the body.  

Will my risk of lisinopril fatal side effects depend on the dose I am taking?

Yes, the long-term side effects of lisinopril are dose-dependent, just like. Many other medications. For instance, if you take 40 milligrams of this medication, your likelihood of dizziness and fainting is higher than that of a person using 5 milligrams. However, the dose is not the only factor determining the risk of side effects. Other conditions, such as a preexisting renal disease or combining lisinopril with other medications, may also alter the likelihood of acquiring adverse effects.

Can I gain weight with lisinopril?

As per recent studies investigating its side effects, Lisinopril is not known to cause any weight gain. However, some people may experience sudden weight gain secondary to angioedema caused by this medication. Angioedema describes a serious allergic reaction where swelling occurs under the skin, eventually leading to belly pain and labored breathing. Weight gain in people taking this medication with a history of heart failure may indicate a worsening of their underlying condition. This is because heart failure often causes fluid to accumulate in the body, increasing the number on the weight scale.

Can lisinopril get you high?

According to experts, lisinopril has no soothing properties that can lead to euphoria or a high feeling. However, remember that many people may start abusing it despite a very low addiction potential.

How long do lisinopril side effects last?

Most common side effects of lisinopril, such as dry cough, headaches, low blood pressure, and high potassium levels, are temporary and go away as soon as you discontinue the medication. These side effects gradually become less noticeable in some people as you continue treatment. In rare cases, some side effects may stick even after discontinuing the drug, causing permanent damage. This is particularly true for people who have been using lisinopril in very high doses for a long time or in combination with other drugs.

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