Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are in a class of medications used to treat conditions such as scleroderma, blood pressure irregularities and migraines, as Mayo Clinic explains. They help relax blood vessels by preventing the production of angiotensin II, a substance that narrows the blood vessels. Narrow blood vessels result in hypertension, which makes the heart to work harder.
There are different types and brands of ACE inhibitors, including benazepril, captopril, fosinopril, moexipril, quinapril and ramipril, as listed by Mayo Clinic, and others include trandolapril, enalapril, lisinopril and perindopril. Doctors prescribe these medications for various heart conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and heart attack, as noted by WebMD.
Patients usually take ACE inhibitors on an empty stomach one hour before having a meal, according to WebMD. The dosage, the interval between doses and the time required to take the drugs depends on the type of inhibitor a patient is using and the condition under treatment. It is necessary to have regular tests for kidney function and blood pressure while using these drugs.
ACE inhibitors rarely cause side effects, but patients can experience a dry cough that may clear up after a while, as MedlinePlus indicates. Patients may experience lightheadedness or dizziness when using these drugs initially. Other possible side effects include diarrhea, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite and fever.