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What is Lisinopril?

Lisinopril is a medication that is prescribed to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It is commonly prescribed after a heart attack. It is also used to treat diabetic kidney disease. Brand names for lisinopril include Qbrelis, Zestril, and Prinivil. 

Lisinopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. ACE inhibitors work by relaxing the blood vessels to lower blood pressure. 

Lisinopril treatment is usually long-term. You may take it for the rest of your life. You will have to have your blood pressure checked regularly, and your doctor may take blood tests as well.


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Side Effects of Lisinopril

Lisinopril may cause side effects. Common side effects of lisinopril include:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • A decrease in sexual ability
  • Itching or skin rash

In some patients, lisinopril may cause severe side effects. Call your doctor right away if you experience serious side effects such as:

  • Angioedema or rapid swelling under the skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Faster heart rate or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Paleness
  • Little or no urination
  • Severe dizziness
  • Severe stomach pain 
  • Sore throat
  • Stroke
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Yellowing skin or eyes

These side effects may indicate serious conditions such as an allergic reaction, blood or bone marrow disorders, kidney problems, liver problems, or stroke. Patients who experience any of these severe side effects should seek medical attention immediately.

Drug interactions may occur when lisinopril is combined with other medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen, diclofenac, and indomethacin, can negatively affect this medication. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can also interact with lisinopril. Patients should avoid salt substitutes and potassium supplements while taking lisinopril because they can cause high potassium levels, leading to complications.

Lisinopril is not recommended for pregnant women because it can have adverse effects on an unborn baby. 

Before combining alcohol with any other prescription drug, medication, or supplement, patients should always speak to a doctor to determine if it is safe for them.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Lisinopril?

It may be safe for many patients to drink alcohol while taking lisinopril. The FDA currently does not warn against combining alcohol with lisinopril. However, lisinopril has some side effects that can be dangerous for some patients when combined with alcohol. Also, because lisinopril is commonly prescribed to patients with heart conditions, it is crucial to know how alcohol affects the heart before consuming alcohol.

Before taking lisinopril, patients should always speak with their doctors about their medical history to discuss whether drinking alcohol is safe for them.


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How Does Lisinopril Interact With Alcohol?

Alcohol and lisinopril both cause low blood pressure. When alcohol and lisinopril are combined, they can cause blood pressure to drop to a dangerous point and cause dizziness. When blood pressure drops too low, there is an increased risk of fainting. If patients feel dizzy on lisinopril without alcohol, they should avoid combining it with alcohol.

In some patients, combining alcohol and lisinopril can also make blood pressure higher. Combining the two can cause heart failure to worsen in people who have this condition.

Both lisinopril and alcohol consumption can lead to increased blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels, if untreated, can lead to severe complications, including increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a potentially deadly condition called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS).

Side Effects & Risks of Mixing Lisinopril and Alcohol

Mixing lisinopril and alcohol may cause side effects. Possible side effects of mixing lisinopril and alcohol include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Heart problems such as changes in the heart’s regular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Patients should never drive or operate machinery while drinking alcohol. Alcohol and lisinopril both cause dizziness and drowsiness, and these symptoms are amplified when the two substances are combined.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause patients to neglect personal care, including a medication regimen. A missed dose of lisinopril may be okay occasionally, and the patient can take the next dose at the scheduled time. However, if the doses of the medication are consistently missed, lisinopril may not work effectively. 


Before taking lisinopril, let your doctor know if you are allergic to any other ACE inhibitors like benazepril or if you have any other allergies. Lisinopril may contain inactive ingredients, which can lead to allergic reactions or other problems.

You should also speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your medical history before taking lisinopril. This is especially important if you have a history of an allergic reaction that caused swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

If you have a family history of blood filtering procedures (like LDL apheresis or dialysis) or high potassium levels in the blood, tell your doctor.

Lisinopril can also make you feel dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana use may make you feel dizzier. Be sure not to drive, operate machinery, or do anything that requires alertness until you can do so safely. Older people may be more sensitive to the side effects of lisinopril, especially dizziness and increases in potassium level.

Too much sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting may lead to dehydration and increase your risk of lightheadedness. Be sure to report any excessive diarrhea or vomiting to your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (unless your doctor suggests otherwise).

If you are going to have surgery, tell your doctor or dentists about all the products you use, such as prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.

Lisinopril may increase your potassium levels. Before taking potassium supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not use lisinopril during pregnancy. It is unknown if lisinopril passes into breast milk. Speak with your doctor before breastfeeding.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking any blood pressure medication?

It may or may not be safe to drink alcohol while taking blood pressure medication. The effects of alcohol depend on the type of drugs the patient is taking.

Many blood pressure medications have harmful interactions with alcohol. ACE inhibitors, including lisinopril, enalapril, and captopril, can cause dizziness or lightheadedness when combined with alcohol.

Alcohol may be safe for some patients with heart conditions. Studies suggest that moderate and regular alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that patients with heart conditions may continue drinking moderate amounts of alcohol if they already did before.

Before drinking, patients should discuss with their doctor whether or not alcohol consumption is safe for them while on lisinopril.

Can I have a glass of wine while taking lisinopril?

For some patients, it may be okay to have a glass of wine while taking lisinopril. Wine does not carry any additional side effects than any other type of alcohol when combined with lisinopril. 

Because most patients prescribed lisinopril have heart conditions, it is important to note how wine affects the heart.

Many people associate drinking red wine with heart health because red wine is a part of the Mediterranean diet, which lowers blood pressure. There is limited evidence on the effects of red wine on the heart, but some studies suggest it may be safe.

In one study of healthy patients, red wine was not found to affect otherwise healthy patients' blood pressure or heart rate. In another study of patients with chronic heart failure, moderate wine consumption led to favorable outcomes such as better overall health, lower depression, and less vascular inflammation.

A glass of wine or two may be safe for patients with no hereditary risk factors, depending on their age. Patients over the age of 50 are at increased risk for complications.

Before combining lisinopril with wine, patients should always seek professional medical advice from their doctor.

Should I drink more water when taking lisinopril?

Patients should drink more water when taking lisinopril, especially if they are also drinking alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and can cause headaches, a side effect of lisinopril, to be more severe or prolonged. Water can also help to treat the other side effects of lisinopril. Lisinopril can decrease sweating and increase heat stroke risk, so patients should drink more water and avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated.


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Cosmi, Franco, et al. “Regular Wine Consumption in Chronic Heart Failure Impact on Outcomes, Quality of Life, and Circulating Biomarkers.” AHA Journals, Journal of the American Heart Association, May 2015

Droste, Dirk W et al. “A daily glass of red wine and lifestyle changes do not affect arterial blood pressure and heart rate in patients with carotid arteriosclerosis after 4 and 20 weeks.” Cerebrovascular diseases extra vol. 3,1 121-9. 5 Oct. 2013

“Harmful Interactions.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5 June 2019

“High Blood Pressure - Medicines to Help You.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 2019

“Lisinopril 20 mg tablet” Kaiser Permanente, Cerner Multum, Inc. , Oct. 2019

“Lisinopril.” NHS Choices, NHS, 13 Dec. 2018

Lisinopril: MedlinePlus Drug Information, MedlinePlus

“ZESTRIL (Lisinopril).” FDA.gov, Paddock Laboratories, Inc.

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