Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Benazepril is prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure. It can safely be used in children over the age of 7.


Benazepril is the active ingredient of Cibace.

General information

Benazepril is prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure. It can safely be used in children over the age of 7.

This medication is not a cure for high blood pressure, but keeps it under control. For it to be effective, you must take it regularly – high blood pressure declines slowly and it may take a few weeks to reach full effect. Keep taking this medicine during this period, even if you are feeling better or fail to notice any improvement.

Benazepril can be used on its own, or in combination with certain other medication for high blood pressure. It is often combined with diuretics. In black patients, benazepril is significantly less effective if not prescribed together with a diuretic.

It is also indicated for the treatment of congestive heart failure, a condition where the heart battles to cope with its workload.

The first couple of doses of this medication may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure which may cause dizziness or blackouts when you suddenly get up. It is therefore advised to be resting when starting treatment and to lie down for two hours afterwards.

The use of benazepril is often associated with a dry and persistent cough. Should this occur, it is advised to contact you doctor.

Benazepril should be avoided during pregnancy, especially the second and third trimester. Speak to your doctor about the use of this drug if you are planning to get pregnant as it may cause harm to the unborn baby.

How does benazepril work?

Benazepril works by preventing the conversion of angiotensin I, a chemical in your blood, to a more powerful version, angiotensin II. Angiotensin II has a narrowing effect on blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. Angiotensin II furthermore stimulates the production of aldosterone, a hormone which promotes salt (sodium) retention in the body, an action which increases blood pressure.

By inhibiting the forming of angiotensin II, benazepril lowers blood pressure and thereby decreases the workload on the heart.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Lowers blood pressure

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? No

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Dietary advice: Benazepril can be taken with or without food. Its blood pressure lowering effect is enhanced by taking a low-salt diet.

Stopping: Suddenly stopping this drug may cause your blood pressure to increase dangerously. Use as prescribed, and do not discontinue treatment without discussing it with your prescriber. Dosage should be deceased gradually as directed by your doctor.

Prolonged use: No problems are expected. Your doctor may perform periodic tests of blood and urine should the need arise.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if you:

  • Have a kidney disease,
  • Have a heart condition of which your doctor is not aware of,
  • Are allergic to ACE-inhibitor drugs,
  • Are taking other medication, or
  • Are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 7. Dosage needs to be adjusted.

Elderly: Dosage may need to be adjusted according to kidney function and other medical conditions.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how it affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may worsen the possibility of dizziness.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases







Dry cough









Rash/ itch



Muscle cramps



Swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat



Swelling of arms and legs



Difficulty swallowing



Abdominal pain with/without nausea/vomiting




Drug interactions


Possible allergic reactions


Enhanced blood pressure lowering effect

Other medication for high blood pressure

Enhanced blood pressure lowering effect


Increased risk of potassium toxicity


Increased risk of lithium toxicity

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Effect on blood pressure is impaired

Potassium supplements

Increased risk of potassium toxicity


May increase blood pressure

Food interactions

A diet high in salt may increase blood pressure.

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a kidney disease, a heart condition of which your doctor is not aware, or if you are allergic to ACE-inhibitor drugs.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms of an overdose may include dizziness and/or fainting.

Recommended dosage

High blood pressure: 2.5-40mg/day as a single dose or in divided doses.

Congestive heart failure: 2.5-20mg/day as a single dose or in divided doses.

Children: 0.2mg/kg/day

Interesting fact

Benazepril when taken by mouth is in an inactive form. It has to be converted by the liver to the active form to be effective.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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