Enalapril maleate is a drug prescribed to control high blood pressure. It works by blocking the function of angiotensin, a compound that contracts blood vessels, and is classified among the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Patients on enalapril maleate will experience a reduction in blood pressure as their blood vessels will stay open and relaxed. Therapy with this drug requires periodic follow-up appointments to make sure it is still effective.
Vasotec® is one of the brand names this drug is sold under, and it can also be found in the form of enalapril maleate felodipine, a combination drug that includes a calcium channel blocker. Like other drugs used to treat high blood pressure, it can cause side effects like dizziness, nausea, and headaches, especially as the patient adjusts. If side effects persist or are severe, it may be necessary to switch to a different medication or to change the dosage.
This drug is not recommended for use in pregnant women, as it can cause fetal death or severe abnormalities. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant will need to discuss alternate methods of managing high blood pressure, and women on this medication should discontinue it if they become pregnant. An obstetrician can provide advice on appropriate hypertension medications for use in pregnancy if a woman's blood pressure needs to be controlled with drugs.
Enalapril maleate can cause liver, kidney, or heart damage in some patients. Symptoms like a rapid heart rate, fainting, a sensation of pounding in the chest, changes to the urine, extreme swelling, and yellowing of the skin and eyes are signs of severe side effects. Rarely, the drug can cause rhabdomyolysis, where the body starts breaking down muscle tissue, overloading the kidneys with proteins. Severe muscle pain and weakness can be indicators of this dangerous side effect. People with a history of organ damage, especially from ACE inhibitors, may not be good candidates for enalapril maleate therapy.
Water and salt intake need to be watched carefully while taking enalapril maleate. If patients become dehydrated, they can experience falling blood pressure and may develop shock. Especially in hot climates or while exercising, people should make sure they get plenty of water throughout the day. Generally, salts should not be decreased while on this drug, and a doctor may have specific recommendations about dietary adjustments while taking enalapril maleate. Patients should make sure this medication is noted in their charts so potentially harmful drug interactions can be identified.