Side Effects of Ace Inhibitors & Beta Blockers

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Both angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and beta blockers are used in the treatment of high blood pressure, also called hypertension. ACE inhibitors work by easing the constriction of blood vessels in the body so your heart can pump at a regular rate rather than an accelerated rate. Beta blockers lessen the effects of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which also relaxes blood vessels to make it easier for your heart to work properly.

ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are sold as such drugs as Prinivil and Zestril (generically, lisinopril), Vasotec (generically, enalapril), Aceon (generically, perindopril), Capoten (generically, captopril) and Altace (generically, ramipril).

These medicines can induce some serious side effects that may require medical attention, so consult your doctor if you get any of them. These include chills, breathing difficulties, headaches, sneezing, pain in the abdomen, pain in the chest, congestion of the ear or nose, changes in the way you speak, urine that is cloudy or contains blood and vomiting. Other serious side effects, although rare, are vision blurring, mental confusion, an irregular heartbeat, trembling, muscle pain or cramps, seizures and tingling, pain, numbing or weakness in the feet and hands.

ACE inhibitors also may produce some side effects that aren’t serious and will go away with continued use. These include weakness, unusual ejaculation, belching, discouragement, lowered libido, indigestion, nausea, nervousness, irritability and insomnia. Consult your doctor if they persist.

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are marketed under such names as Tenormin (generically, atenolol), Bystolic (generically, nebivolol) and Lopressor (generically, metoprolol) and others. Serious side effects from beta blockers—those for which you should call your doctor—include mental confusion, blurry vision, chills, rapid heartbeat also known as tachycardia, anxiety, vomiting, decreased appetite, night blindness, tunnel vision, auditory, visual or sensory hallucinations, fever, double vision also called diplopia, throat soreness and mental or mood changes that are severe. Less serious and generally temporary side effects may include erection pain, diarrhea, irritability, drowsiness, decreased libido, temporary hair loss, spinning sensations and concentration difficulties.

Overdose Side Effects

Taking too much of any drug can cause some side effects. With ACE inhibitors, these include tachycardia, lightheadedness, seizures, confusion, bodily weakness and reduced urination. An overdose may require emergency medical treatment. For beta blockers, overdose side effects may include abnormal dullness or weakness, speech slurring, nightmares, depression, anxiety, headaches, irregular breathing and even coma.