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The Dangers of ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are a class of medication used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure, and renal disease by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the heart. They have been on the market for more than 25 years and are one of the most widely prescribed drugs classes in the United States.

ACE INHIBITORS AND BIRTH DEFECTS

ACE inhibitors have long been associated with increased risks to the fetus during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, as the fetal kidneys are developing. Taking ACE inhibitors in the late stages of pregnancy can cause:

In 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article stating that taking ACE inhibitors during pregnancy, even during the first trimester, can cause birth defects. The study found that infants whose mothers had taken ACE inhibitors during their first trimester were twice as likely to be born with congenital malformations affecting the heart, brain, and nervous system.

FDA BLACK BOX WARNING

ACE inhibitors currently bear a black box warning about their dangers in the later stages of pregnancy, and the FDA warns women to stop taking ACE inhibitors as soon as pregnancy is detected.

ACE INHIBITOR BRANDS
  • Accupril (Quinapril)
  • Aceon (Perindopril)
  • Altace (Ramipril)
  • Capoten (Catopril)
  • Lotensin (Benazepril)
  • Mavik (Trandolapril)
  • Monopril (Fosinopril)
  • Prinivil, Zestril (Lisinopril)
  • Univasc (Moexipril)
  • Vasotec (Enalapril)

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