What Are ACE Inhibitors?

“ACE” is short for angiotensin-converting enzyme. ACE inhibitors are medications that help prevent your body from producing too much of a natural chemical called angiotensin II. Some common generic and brand names include:

  • Benazepril (Lotensin)
  • Captopril (Capoten)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)

What Are They Used for?

ACE inhibitors are used to:

  • treat high blood pressure;
  • treat heart failure and related conditions such as a low ejection fraction (EF);
  • reduce the damage from a heart attack; and
  • prevent kidney damage (for example, from diabetes).

How Do They Work?

ACE inhibitors block an enzyme that is needed for angiotensin I to be converted into angiotensin II. Angiotensin II can have harmful long-term effects on your heart and blood vessels. It can cause blood vessels to narrow and can also raise blood pressure.

Taking ACE inhibitors can relax the arteries; lower blood pressure; and lessen work for the heart.