The usual dose of fosinopril is one tablet daily. It may be increased to two tablets daily if your doctor thinks it is necessary.
The first dose may make you feel dizzy, so it is best taken at night.
Some painkillers and indigestion remedies interfere with fosinopril, so ask your pharmacist for advice before you buy any medicines.
Some people taking fosinopril develop a troublesome cough. If this happens to you, let your doctor know.
|Type of medicine||An angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor|
|Used for||High blood pressure, and heart failure|
|Also called||Fosinopril sodium|
Fosinopril is in a class of medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, or ACE inhibitors. You may have been prescribed it to reduce hypertension, or to treat heart failure alongside some other medicines. Hypertension is a condition where your blood pressure is higher than normal. Heart failure is a condition where your heart does not work as well as it should.
ACE inhibitors like fosinopril prevent your body from creating a hormone known as angiotensin II. They do this by blocking (inhibiting) a chemical called angiotensin-converting enzyme. This widens your blood vessels and helps to reduce the amount of water put back into your blood by your kidneys. These actions help to decrease blood pressure. People with high blood pressure often do not feel unwell but, if left untreated, high blood pressure can harm the heart and damage blood vessels, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
In heart failure, there may be too much circulating fluid in your blood vessels. ACE inhibitors help to reduce this. They appear to have a protective effect on the heart and slow the progression of the heart failure.
Before taking fosinopril
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking fosinopril it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with your kidneys or liver.
- If you are dehydrated - for example, if you have had diarrhoea or sickness very recently.
- If you have been told you have atherosclerosis (a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries).
- If you have peripheral vascular disease (a particular type of poor circulation).
- If you have collagen vascular disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or scleroderma.
- If you have been told you have cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), or aortic stenosis (narrowing of the main blood vessel from your heart).
- If you have ever had angio-oedema (where your face, tongue or throat swells).
- If you are having desensitisation treatment to protect against bee and wasp stings.
- If you have dialysis treatment, or treatment to remove cholesterol from your blood by a machine (LDL apheresis).
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic or unusual reaction to any other ACE inhibitor (such as ramipril, lisinopril, captopril and perindopril), or to any other medicine.
How to take fosinopril
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about fosinopril and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take fosinopril once daily, exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may advise you to take your very first dose at bedtime. This is because you may feel dizzy when you first start taking it.
- With the exception of the first dose, you can generally take fosinopril at a time of day that suits you. You should, however, try to take each of your doses at the same time of day, each day.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take fosinopril before or after meals.
- There are two strengths of fosinopril tablets - 10 mg and 20 mg. It is usual to start by taking the 10 mg strength tablets, although your doctor may increase your dose over the first few weeks. This allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition and helps to avoid any unwanted side-effects, such as dizziness. Each time you collect a new supply, check to make sure the tablets are the strength that you are expecting.
- If you forget to take a tablet at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember. However, if you do not remember until the following day, skip the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor will want you to have some blood tests from time to time to check that your kidneys are working well.
- It is very important that you follow any dietary and lifestyle advice that you have been given by your doctor. This may include advice about eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking regular exercise.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with fosinopril. This is because some medicines (such as anti-inflammatory painkillers and indigestion remedies) may interfere with these tablets.
- It is likely that your doctor will advise that you do not to use salt substitutes while you are taking fosinopril. These products have a high content of potassium which could be harmful for you.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about taking fosinopril and alcohol. Alcohol may make you feel light-headed or dizzy, and may not be recommended for you with these tablets.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as these tablets may lower the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking fosinopril. This is because if you need an anaesthetic, it may cause your blood pressure to drop.
- Treatment with fosinopril is often long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
Can fosinopril cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common fosinopril side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Dry irritating cough||If this continues, speak with your doctor, as an alternative medicine may be better for you|
|Feeling dizzy||Getting up more slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, sit or lie down for a few moments before standing. If this continues beyond the first few days, speak with your doctor. Do not drive or use tools or machines while you feel dizzy|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, indigestion||Stick to bland foods - avoid rich and spicy meals. Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Headache, aches and pains, cold and flu-like symptoms, sore throat||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable remedy|
|Blurred eyesight||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Tingling feelings, feeling tired, fast heartbeat, rash, mood changes, sleeping problems, sexual problems||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you experience any of the following rare but serious symptoms, stop taking fosinopril and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- Any difficulty breathing, or swelling of your face, mouth, tongue or throat. These are signs of an allergic reaction.
- Any yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes. These may be signs of jaundice which is a rare side-effect.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store fosinopril
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Fosinopril tablets 10 mg, 20 mg, Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2012.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson