Lisinopril Contraindications – Who Shouldn’t Use Lisinopril

Lisinopril Contraindications – When Is Lisinopril Contraindicated For Use

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. (1) The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend antihypertensive medication to most people with systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg in several blood pressure readings and those with hypertension and at high risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. (2)

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are frequently prescribed medications for blood pressure regulation; lisinopril is one of them.

Aside from the different clinical effects of medications, one of the factors that doctors consider when prescribing medication is the possible side effects and contraindications. Despite the proven positive effects in treatment, patients allergic to lisinopril or with a history of angioedema cannot use lisinopril. (3)

This article explains lisinopril contraindications and when and why lisinopril should not be used. Also, learn about the symptoms of adverse reactions and when to call your doctor and ask for medical help.

When To Use Lisinopril

Lisinopril decreases the production of angiotensin II in the body. Angiotensin II is a potent vasoconstrictor that tightens the blood vessels. When angiotensin II production is decreased, it helps lower blood volume and pressure. (3-4)

By this mechanism, lisinopril regulates blood pressure and can help prevent the damage that hypertension can cause to the different parts of the body, such as the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and others. When given with other medications, lisinopril is also approved for heart failure treatment and to improve survival after a heart attack. (3-4)

Who Shouldn’t Use Lisinopril

Although lisinopril has been a well-established ACE inhibitor in doctors’ practice for over 30 years, not all patients can get the clinical benefit from it. Lisinopril is contraindicated in patients who are allergic to it, those with a history of angioedema, or those receiving aliskiren therapy. If you are one of them, keep reading to find out why.

Hypersensitivity (Type I Allergy)

As with any other medication, some people might be allergic to lisinopril or other ingredients that the drug has. Those who used other ACE inhibitors before, such as enalapril, benazepril, captopril, ramipril, or others, or any other medication they were allergic to, might be allergic to lisinopril, as well. (4)

A drug may cause allergic reactions by any of the four types of hypersensitivity, but ACE inhibitors typically cause Type I (IgE-mediated) hypersensitivity reactions. Rash, cough, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, headache, diarrhea, weakness, and dizziness, are some symptoms that could develop if you are allergic to any of the medication ingredients. (5)

You can consult the pharmacist about the ingredients that lisinopril contains.

Angioedema Or A History Of Hereditary Or Idiopathic Angioedema

Angioedema is a body reaction to a specific trigger that results in swelling. In angioedema, body fluids build up in the deeper layers of the skin and mucous membranes (the inner layer of cavities, including oral, gastrointestinal, and respiratory tracts). (6)

Different body parts can be affected, such as the arms, legs, or head. Face, lips, or neck can be affected too. However, when the larynx is involved, you may have breathing problems; in that case, angioedema becomes life-threatening. (6)

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an inherited condition producing a deficiency in the C1 esterase inhibitor, a protein found in the blood. People with HAE usually inherit the deficiency from their parents. The cause of idiopathic angioedema is not known. (6-7)

Bradykinin’s increased level is the possible medical explanation of why some people who take ACE inhibitors experience angioedema. Bradykinin is a substance that our body produces and relaxes the arteriolar muscles, lowers blood pressure, and improves blood flow. The effect of the increased blood flow is warmth, redness, and swelling. Bradykinin has a short half-life and is metabolized by ACE, and as such, if ACE is inhibited, bradykinin levels rise. (8)

During the inflammation process, there is an increase in blood vessel width, permeability, and pain due to bradykinin’s role. Lisinopril inhibits the inactivation of bradykinin; the bradykinin levels elevate and build up fluids that, in the end, cause angioedema. About 0.5% of the patients on ACE inhibitors may experience angioedema. (8-9)

Due to possible life-threatening reactions, lisinopril is contraindicated in people with angioedema or a history of hereditary or idiopathic angioedema.

Lisinopril Co-administration With Aliskiren Is Contraindicated

When lisinopril is co-administered with Aliskiren, there is an increased risk of hypotension, hyperkalemia, and changes in renal function (including acute renal failure). (3)

Aliskiren is a direct renin inhibitor medication prescribed for high blood pressure treatment. It works similarly to lisinopril by affecting the chemicals that tighten blood vessels. (10)

When used together, lisinopril and aliskiren block the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Thus, the risk-benefit ratio does not support this dual RAS inhibition. A recent systematic review concluded that the dual RAS inhibition involving aliskiren had been reported in large trials to increase the risk of adverse effects with no clinical benefits. (11)

Lisinopril Recommended Dosage In Adults And Children

In those who are not contraindicated to take lisinopril, the doctor can prescribe it to adults and children over six years of age as approved:


The recommended initial dose to decrease blood pressure is 10 mg daily. The doctor will adjust the dose depending on individual responses to the therapy and might increase it to 80 mg daily as the maximal daily dose. In many patients, 20 to 40 mg once daily is usually the effective dose. (3)

Antihypertensive treatment may include more than one medication. Your doctor may prescribe antidiuretics if lisinopril cannot control the blood pressure as monotherapy. In the case of combo treatment for hypertension or heart failure, your doctor may decrease the lisinopril dose to achieve the optimal therapeutic effect. When initial hypertension treatment is along with a diuretic, starting with 5 mg of lisinopril is recommended. (3)

When used to reduce mortality in acute myocardial infarction, lisinopril’s initial dose is 5 mg daily for the first two days. As of the third day, the dose will increase to 10 mg and continue for at least six weeks. The initial therapy will be 2.5 mg in those with low blood pressure. Your doctor will decide how to continue the treatment depending on your blood pressure. (3)

Children Over Six Years Old

The daily dose depends on the weight and glomerular filtration rate (> 30 mL/min/1.73m²). The starting dose in the pediatric population with hypertension is 0.07 mg per kg once daily. The dose should be adjusted and can be increased up to 0.61 mg per kg or up to 40 mg once daily as maximum. (3)

Lisinopril is not recommended:

  • In children younger than six years;
  • In children with glomerular filtration rate < 30 mL/min/1.73m²;
  • In adults, in doses over 80 mg daily due to the lack of benefit. (3)

Major Side Effects Of Lisinopril And Warnings When Using

If your doctor prescribes lisinopril, you should be aware of the possible side effects that this medication may cause. Treatment with drugs that inhibit the renin-angiotensin system, such as lisinopril, may cause the following side effects, described in the lisinopril Patient information (3):

Fetal toxicity – Drugs that act on the renin-angiotensin system reduce the renal function of the fetus, particularly during the second and third trimesters, which may cause fetal death. It also can negatively affect lung development, produce skeletal deformations, including the face, and/or hypotension. Therefore, if you use lisinopril and get pregnant, you should tell your doctor immediately and stop using the medication.

Angioedema – ACE inhibitors, including lisinopril, may cause keeping the fluids and swelling of the deeper layers of the skin on the arms, legs, and face, as explained above, but also in the intestinal mucosa, followed by abdominal pain, with or without nausea and vomiting. Although challenging to diagnose, tell your doctor if you take lisinopril and have such symptoms.

Anaphylactoid Reactions – Life-threatening anaphylactoid reactions were reported in patients undergoing desensitizing treatment with Hymenoptera venom and in some patients dialyzed with high-flux membranes using PAN dialyzers.

Hypotension – Lisinopril may cause hypotension, and patients with heart or renal diseases have increased risk. Hypotension and chest pain can occur in case of heart failure or acute myocardial infarction.

Renal impairment – Lisinopril may change renal function and cause renal failure.

Liver failure – It may begin with cholestatic jaundice or hepatitis and progress to fulminant hepatic necrosis and sometimes death.

Hyperkalemia – Lisinopril may increase the blood levels of potassium.

Pancreatitis – ACE inhibitors can cause acute pancreatitis. Severe stomach pain, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, mild fever, and decreased appetite, are common symptoms of acute pancreatitis. (12)

Blood problems – In rare cases, lisinopril has been linked to blood problems, including anemia. The common symptoms of anemia include pallor of the skin and mucous membranes (e.g., the inner layer of the mouth or the eyelids), fatigue, and shortness of breath. (13)

Read the Medication Guide carefully and ask your doctor for additional information. Report any adverse reactions to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( or by phone (1-800-332-1088). (3-4)


Lisinopril has been used for many years in patients with hypertension, heart failure or to improve survival after a heart attack. While most patients can use it safely, lisinopril is contraindicated in hypersensitive patients, those who have a history of angioedema, or are already on aliskiren therapy.

Read the Medication Guide and tell your doctor if you experience an allergic reaction to another ACE inhibitor or other medication. Don’t underestimate the symptoms and adverse reactions that might occur. Tell your doctor if you have any adverse events. Then, you or your doctor can report it to the FDA and adjust the therapy.

Other antihypertensive medications can be used safely in those patients who cannot use lisinopril. Keep your doctor informed to find the best treatment option for your condition.

See Also

Acetaminophen Contraindications

Aspirin Contraindications

Acetaminophen Side Effects

Ibuprofen Contraindications

Paxlovid Contraindications

Bupropion Side Effects

Trazodone Side Effects

Current Version
March 16, 2023
Written By
Biljana Srbinovska, MPharm
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