Rarely, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can cause serious side effects such as:

  • Angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, or throat) or anaphylaxis (allergic reaction)
  • Hypotension (blood pressure getting too low)
  • Hyperkalemia (too much potassium in your blood)
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Neutropenia (too few white blood cells in your blood)

All of these side effects are very rare. For example, studies have found that angioedema occurs in about 3 out of 1,000 people taking an ACE inhibitor. That’s a 0.3% chance.

Another serious side effect of ACE inhibitors is fetal toxicity, which is the death of a developing baby. You should NOT take an ACE inhibitor if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop taking your ACE inhibitor immediately.

If you think you are having one of these side effects, stop taking your ACE inhibitor and contact your doctor right away.

Here are the things to look out for if you think you might be having one of these rare side effects:

  • Angioedema or anaphylaxis:
    • Swelling in your hands, feet, eyes, lips, tongue
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hypotension:
    • Fainting
  • Liver problems:
    • Jaundice (your skin turning yellow)
  • Neutropenia:
    • Signs of infection like fever or sore throat

For things like hyperkalemia, kidney problems, liver problems, and neutropenia, your doctor will test you as needed to make sure you avoid getting these side effects.

Most serious side effects are few and far between!