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Lotensin® is the brand name for benazepril, a prescription medication primarily used for treating people with high blood pressure, or hypertension. High blood pressure is a chronic medical condition that affects other parts of the body, so Lotensin® is also used to treat kidney and heart ailments. It belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which mainly fight hypertension and congestive heart failure.
Lotensin® is produced as a tablet to be taken by mouth. Some doctors start patients on the lower end of the dosage and gradually increase it. The medication works by decreasing chemicals that tighten the blood vessels, which enables the blood to flow more smoothly. This particular ACE inhibitor is meant to control high blood pressure, not cure it. Additionally, Lotensin® is not restricted to humans, and benazepril — under the brand names Fortekor® and VetACE — is also used to treat congestive heart and renal failure in dogs and cats.
In some cases, Lotensin® can be taken in combination with other pharmaceuticals. A prime example is hydrochlorothiazide, which suppresses the kidneys' ability to retain water in order to reduce the volume of blood; that particular combination goes by the brand name Lotensin HCT®. Another drug that can be used in combination with Lotensin® is amlodipine, which uses the trade name of Lotrel®. It is used for the treatment of angina, chest pains occurring as a result of the lack of blood and consequent low oxygen supply to the heart muscles.
The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2006 regarding Lotensin®, giving the first indication of its benefits. According to the article, patients suffering from renal problems experienced improved kidney function and slowed progression of kidney disease when taking the medication. This finding was contrary to the previous belief that Lotensin® actually worsens kidney problems.
There are certain side effects possible when taking Lotensin®. Headache and cough are the most common problems. Other side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, swelling of certain parts of the body, hoarseness, breathing or swallowing difficulties, fainting, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Doctors will not prescribe Lotensin® for women who are pregnant, because of possible harm to the fetus. People taking the medication need to notify their doctors if any of the aforementioned symptoms are severe or do not go away. Lotensin® customers also are advised to reveal any allergies to medications, any recent diarrhea or vomiting episodes, or medical conditions such as heart failure or kidney disease to the prescribing doctor before taking Lotensin®.