Lisinopril: Uses & Dosage

Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

Lisinopril is a medication prescribed by your doctor. In this lesson, you will learn about how lisinopril works. You'll also learn about the different uses and dosages for lisinopril.

What Is Lisinopril?

Sharon is seeing her doctor for her annual physical. She just turned 50 years old and she has had mildly elevated blood pressure that her doctor has been monitoring. During today's visit, her blood pressure is even more elevated since her last physical. Her doctor tells her he would like her to start taking lisinopril. Sharon has never taken medications before and she asks her doctor for more information.

He tells her that Lisinopril is a prescription medication that is classified as an ACE inhibitor. ACE inhibitor stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. It is often used for hypertension or elevated blood pressure.

How Lisinopril Works to Lower Blood Pressure

When your body is healthy, it has an amazing system to manage your blood pressure. Your blood vessels can constrict, which increases your blood pressure, or they can dilate or relax which decreases your blood pressure. The amount of blood that your heart pumps also contributes to your blood pressure. The amount of blood pumped from your heart depends on your heart rate as well as the amount of blood in your body, which together, determine your cardiac output. If you have increased cardiac output, your blood pressure is higher, and if you have decreased cardiac output, your blood pressure is lower.

So you may be wondering what makes the vessels constrict or dilate? Or why would the blood volume be higher or lower? Great questions!

Blood is made up of many cells as well as plasma. Your kidneys decide if you should keep fluid in your body or if you should excrete it through urine. If the kidneys retain fluid, your blood pressure increases ,and if they excrete fluid, your blood pressure decreases. Now let's break this down even more.

If the kidneys detect that your blood pressure is low, a substance called renin is released into your bloodstream. This, in turn, works with another chemical to form angiotensin I. The angiotensin-converting enzyme changes angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes the blood vessels to constrict and the kidneys to reabsorb fluid in order to bring up the blood pressure. It releases a hormone called aldosterone, which also results in the kidneys reabsorbing fluid.

That's all amazing if your body is healthy and working optimally. But if that was always the case, no one would ever have high blood pressure! As we mentioned earlier, lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor- this should make more sense to you now. In the process, we just described, lisinopril stops the angiotensin-converting enzyme from changing angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Stopping angiotensin II from forming results in relaxed blood vessels and less water reabsorbed by the kidney. This gives the desired result of decreased blood pressure.

Suggested dosing of lisinopril for hypertension is 10-40 mg daily. Your doctor will likely start with the lowest dose and increase as needed to obtain the desired blood pressure.

Other Uses for Lisinopril

Lisinopril is also used for heart failure. In heart failure, your heart isn't pumping as well as it used to, and there is too much fluid that it's trying to pump. In the same ways we just described, lisinopril results in decreased blood volume through blocking angiotensin-converting enzyme so fluid is not reabsorbed by the kidneys but is excreted in urine. Lisinopril has also been shown to have a protective benefit for the heart and has shown to slow the progression of heart failure. Suggested dosage for heart failure is 5-40 mg daily.

Lisinopril is also used after a heart attack or myocardial infarction. After a heart attack, the heart muscle is damaged. So just like in heart failure, we want to decrease the workload of the heart and provide the protective benefits of lisinopril to the heart. Lisinopril dosing for a myocardial infarction is 10 mg daily.

Lisinopril has also been used to help slow the progression of kidney disease in chronic kidney disease. It is also used in diabetic kidney disease to help maintain good kidney function.

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