ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors belong to the class of medicines called high blood pressure medicines (antihypertensives). High blood pressure/hypertension affects millions of people worldwide. ACE inhibitors are used for controlling blood pressure, treating heart failure, and preventing kidney damage in people with hypertension or diabetes.

ACE inhibitors are one of the most widely used drugs in treating high blood pressure. The first ACE inhibitor, captopril, came on the market 25 years ago. There is an estimated average of 42 million prescriptions written each year. Of these prescriptions, 2.7 million of them were written for women of childbearing age in 2002.

Some ACE Inhibitors include:

  • Capoten (captopril)
  • Vasotec (enalapril)
  • Prinivil, Zestril (lisinopril)
  • Lotensin (benazepril)
  • Monopril (fosinopril)
  • Altace (ramipril)
  • Accupril (quinapril)
  • Aceon (perindopril)
  • Mavik (trandolapril)
  • Univasc (moexipril)

A June 8, 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine links blood pressure medications, known as ACE inhibitors, to increased risk of major birth defects.

Previously, these medications were thought to be safe when taken early in pregnancy. But, this study shows that babies whose mothers take ACE inhibitors during their first trimester are more than twice as likely to be born with serious heart and brain problems.

Currently, ACE inhibitors carry a “black box” warning by the Food and Drug Administration, alerting users about the dangers in later stages of pregnancy. The label says that drugs should be discontinued when pregnancy is detected.

This new study raises concerns about the lack of safety data for many drugs that are prescribed to pregnant women.

If you or a loved one has used ACE inhibitors and had a child who was born with a birth defect, contact us today to see if you may have a personal injury claim.

  • Paxil (paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) type antidepressant approved for prescription use in the United States.

    Studies have indicated that SSRI antidepressants can increase the risk of suicidal thinking in young adults. These findings have also shown that that risk appears to decline in older adults.

    The drugs carry a "black-box" warning about the increased risk in suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents. Doctors and caregivers are advised to carefully watch for any changes in patient behavior after starting treatment with an antidepressant.

  • Permax (pergolide) is a drug that was formerly prescribed in the United States to treat Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's in associated with low dopamine levels in the brain and this medication has some of the same effects on the body as dopamine.

    The risk of heart valve damage attributed to Permax was shown to be much higher than was originally thought. One study showed that roughly one-fourth of Parkinson's patients taking pergolide had moderate to severe heart valve problems. Another study found that users of either drug were five to seven times more likely to have leaky heart valves than those on other types of Parkinson's medications.

  • Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is a drug formerly used and prescribed in the United States as a stimulant, decongestant, and anorectic. It was found primarily in over-the-counter cold medicines and appetite suppressants.

    However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised companies to discontinue use of this ingredient in products due to serious health concerns. It has now been deemed not generally safe and effective. Before these changes occurred, PPA was an ingredient in dozens of over-the counter cough and cold remedies, and well as the key ingredient in all major appetite suppressants on the market at that time.

  • Plavix (clopidogrel) is an anti-clotting drug that is prescribed for coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and to prevent myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke. It is sometimes known colloquially as 'superaspirin' and it works by inhibiting the formation of blood clots.

  • Pradaxa (dabigatran) is a drug used daily by patients with an abnormal heart beat to prevent stroke and blood clotting.

    Unfortunately, Pradaxa has been linked with numerous problems, including serious and potentially fatal bleeding. Pradaxa is also not recommended for patients with who suffer from active bleeding or have mechanical heart valves. Moreover, the Mayo Clinic has provided warnings about the lack of studies conducted regarding Pradaxa’s potential effect when used by children, elderly patients, or pregnant women.

  • Prempro is a hormone-replacement therapy consisting of a combination of conjugated estrogens (estrogen-progestin) that is prescribed to menopausal and premenopausal women to help treat their symptoms, including hot flashes.

    Though many women have used this medication with great success, some claim that Prempro was a major contributing factor to their development of breast cancer. One study, performed by the Women's Health Initiative, did show that woman who took this drug were at a higher risk of breast cancer, stroke, and coronary heart disease.

  • Risperdal (risperidone) is an antipsychotic drug prescribed by doctors for the treatment of certain mental and mood disorders. This powerful drug is approved for patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism.

  • Seroquel (quetiapine) is an antipsychotic drug approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. However, doctors, at the aggressive urging of AstraZeneca, have also been known to prescirbe this medication for off-label uses.

    It was thought that Seroquel would be useful in the treatment of delusions and aggression in Alzheimer's patients. However, the potential benefits do not outweigh the risks that have been seen in these populations. When prescribed to elderly patients in these circumstances, Seroquel has been shown to lead to major complications and even sudden death.

  • Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is an oral antiviral medication that can be used to prevent or treat influenza ('the flu') after exposure. It is recommended primarily for people at high risk of developing complications from the flu.

    However, some patients, especially children, have exhibited unexpected side effects while taking Tamiflu. These symptoms vary, but all fall under the category of bizarre behavior, including multiple deaths from falls. It is unclear how Tamiflu may have factored into these results, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urges that anyone taking Tamiflu should be monitored carefully.

  • Tequin (gatifloxacin) is a fourth-generation antibiotic that was formerly prescribed in the US for oral use in the treatment of respiratory tract infections. It belongs to a class of popular broad-spectrum antibiotics called fluoroquinolones.

    This drug has been used to treat many different bacterial infections, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and certain sexually transmitted diseases. Other antibiotics in the same class include ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin.