Moving on to our third most prescribed medication in 2014, lisinopril is an ace inhibitor and also known by the brand names Prinivil and Zestril

What it's used for:  Lisinopril is used in people who've had heart attacks, who have hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart failure.  It is also used (but not FDA approved) in patients with diabetic nephropathy and for migraine prophylaxis.

How it works:  Lisinopril is an ace inhibitor and prevents the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II thus causing vasodilation (increased blood flow).  Decreased angiotensin II also lowers aldosterone secretion which decreases sodium retention and lowers blood pressure.  

Side effects: hypotension, dizziness, increased blood urea nitrogen, increased serum creatinine and cough.  For an inclusive list of side effects, look at a medical reference such as Lexicomp, Micromedex or Uptodate (or call your pharmacist!).  

What should I know:  if you have an allergic reaction, signs of infection, signs of a high potassium level (heartbeat doesn't feel normal, change in thinking/logic, lightheaded), cough, or signs of liver problems (dark urine, not hungry, feeling tired, upset stomach, yellow skin or eyes) then call your doctor right away.  

EducationJoanna Simmon