Captopril | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

captopril, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Capoten (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
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Highlights for captopril

Oral tablet
1

Captopril is an oral drug that’s used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, heart problems after a heart attack, and diabetic kidney disease. Captopril may be taken alone or with other drugs to treat your condition.

2

Your dose depends on your age, condition you’re treating, and other medical problems. Your doctor will decide a dose that’s right for you.

3

Captopril can cause a dry cough. It should go away after you stop taking captopril.

4

Before you start taking this drug, tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant or if you have any other medical conditions. Also, let your doctor know about all medications that you’re taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

5

Captopril can cause a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms include trouble breathing, swelling of your throat or tongue, and hives. Stop taking this drug and seek medical help right away if you have these symptoms.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Use during pregnancy warning. You shouldn’t take this drug during pregnancy. Captopril can harm or be fatal to your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your blood pressure if you plan to get pregnant. If you get pregnant while taking this drug, tell your doctor right away.

Swelling

Captopril can cause severe, sudden swelling of your face, arms, legs, lips, tongue, throat, and intestines. This swelling can even be fatal. Tell your doctor right away if you have swelling or have stomach pain. You may need to stop taking this drug, and you may need a medication for the swelling.

Low blood pressure

Captopril can cause low blood pressure, especially during the first few days of starting treatment. Tell your doctor if you feel lightheaded or faint. Your risk may be higher if you:

  • aren’t drinking enough fluids
  • sweat heavily
  • have diarrhea or vomiting

Infections

Captopril can cause low white blood cell counts. This can increase your risk of infections. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection, such as a fever or sore throat.

Drug features

Captopril is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Captopril is only available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Captopril may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other drugs.

Why it's used

Captopril is a prescription drug that’s used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, and heart problems after a heart attack. It is also used to treat kidney disease in people with diabetes.

How it works

Captopril belongs to a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

Captopril belongs to a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Captopril works by opening your blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more easily and decreases how hard your heart has to pump. These effects lower your blood pressure levels, improve your heart’s ability to pump blood, and improve blood flow in your kidneys.

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captopril Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with captopril include:

  • dry cough

  • dizziness

  • skin rash

  • a change in the way that foods taste

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life-threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  •  sudden swelling. Symptoms include:

    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
    • trouble breathing
    • trouble swallowing
    • stomach pain with or without nausea or vomiting
  • kidney problems. Symptoms include:

    • tiredness
    • swelling, especially in your hands, feet, or ankles
    • shortness of breath
    • weight gain
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Captopril does not cause drowsiness. It may cause low blood pressure. This can make you feel faint or dizzy.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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captopril May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Captopril can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications that might interact with this drug

High blood pressure drugs

These drugs may increase your risk for low blood pressure, high blood potassium, and kidney problems when taken with captopril.

These drugs include:

  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB), such as:
    • candesartan (Atacand, Atacand HCT)
    • eprosartan (Teveten)
    • irbesartan (Avapro, Avalide)
    • losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar)
    • olmesartan (Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, Azor)
    • telmisartan (Micardis, Micardis HCT, Twynsta)
    • valsartan (Diovan, Diovan HCT, Exforge, Exforge HCT)
    • azilsartan (Edarbi, Edarbyclor)
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • benazepril (Lotensin, Lotrel, Lotensin HCT)
    • captopril 
    • enalapril (Vasotec, Epaned)
    • fosinopril (Monopril)
    • lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, Prinzide, Zestoretic)
    • moexipril (Uniretic)
    • perindopril (Aceon)
    • quinapril (Accupril, Accuretic)
    • ramipril (Altace)
    • trandolapril (Mavik, Tarka)
  • renin inhibitor, such as:
    • aliskiren (Tekturna,Tekturna HCT)

Water pills (diuretics)

Taking water pills with captopril can make your blood pressure too low.

Potassium supplements and potassium-based salts

When taken with captopril, potassium supplements and potassium-based salts can cause high blood potassium in your body.

Potassium-sparing diuretics

When taken with captopril, these drugs can cause high blood potassium in your body.

These drugs include:

  • spironolactone
  • amiloride
  • triamterene

Mood stabilizers

Captopril can increase the effect of certain mood stabilizers. This means that you may have more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • lithium

Pain drugs

Certain pain medications can decrease your kidney function when taken with captopril.

These drugs include:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as:
    • ibuprofen
    • naproxen

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Captopril warnings
kidney disease
People with kidney disease

This drug is processed by your kidneys. If your kidneys don’t work as well as they should, this drug may build up in your body. This means that you may have more side effects. Your doctor may adjust you dose of captopril.

Tell your doctor if you have heart failure or are producing less urine than normal while you’re taking captopril. This can be a sign of kidney failure.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Captopril is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm that may be done to the fetus. This drug should be only used if the potential risk to the fetus is acceptable given the drug’s potential benefit.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Captopril may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

for seniors
For seniors

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

for children
For children

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

allergies
Allergies

Captopril can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take captopril (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

High blood pressure

Generic: captopril

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The standard starting dose is 25 mg taken by mouth 2–3 times per day.
  • After 7–14 days, your doctor may increase your dose to 50 mg taken 2–3 times per day if needed.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: Captopril is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, your doctor should start you on a lower dose or a different schedule.

Heart failure

Generic: captopril

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The standard starting dose is 25 mg taken by mouth 3 times per day.
  • After 7–14 days, your doctor may increase your dose to 50 mg taken 2–3 times per day if needed.
  • The maximum daily dose of captopril for heart failure is 450 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: Captopril is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, your doctor should start you on a lower dose or a different schedule.

Left ventricular dysfunction after a heart attack

Generic: captopril

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The standard starting dose is 12.5 mg taken by mouth 3 times per day.
  • Your doctor may increase your dose to 25 mg over the next several days. The target dose of captopril for heart failure is 50 mg taken 3 times per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: Captopril is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, your doctor should start you on a lower dose or a different schedule.

Diabetic nephropathy

Generic: captopril

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The standard dose is 25 mg taken by mouth 3 times per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: Captopril is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, your doctor should start you on a lower dose or a different schedule.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Captopril comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you don’t take it at all

Your high blood pressure and heart problems will get worse. This will increase your chance of a heart attack or stroke.

If you stop taking it suddenly

You shouldn’t stop taking captopril without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly can cause your blood pressure to get higher. This may increase your chance for a heart attack or stroke.

If you don’t take it on schedule

Your blood pressure and other heart problems may not improve and may get worse. You may have a higher chance of a heart attack or stroke.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours until the time for your next dose, then wait and only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause serious side effects.

If you take too much

If you take too much captopril, you’ll have a significant drop in blood pressure.

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local Poison Control Center, or go to the nearest emergency room.

How to tell this drug is working

You will know that captopril is working when you check your blood pressure at home. If your blood pressure is at or below the goal your doctor set for you, the drug is working.

Captopril is a long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking captopril

Store captopril at room temperature

  • Keep it below 86°F (30°C).
  • Don’t freeze captopril.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Keep it away from high temperature.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

Before starting and during treatment with captopril, your doctor may check the following to make sure the drug is safe for you: 

  • blood pressure
  • liver function
  • kidney function
  • blood potassium

Self-management

You may need to check your blood pressure at home. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this diary with you to your doctor appointments.

Also, you may need to buy your own blood pressure monitoring machine.

Clinical monitoring

You may need to buy your own blood pressure monitoring machine.

Hidden costs

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does captopril Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for captopril

Rite-Aid $9.99
CVS Pharmacy $14.66
Walgreens $25.08
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for captopril on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for captopril on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

  • Captopril [prescribing information]. (2013, August). Eatontown, New Jersey; West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corp.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 9, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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