Lisinopril and Alcohol: Interactions and Side Effects

By Latifa deGraft-Johnson, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
July 8, 2022

Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor that is used for treating high blood pressure. Mixing lisinopril and alcohol together can be dangerous and cause drug interactions.

Alcohol interacts with many prescription medications, changing the way the body breaks down drugs.

Because of this, drinking alcohol alongside prescriptions can lead to lower or higher concentrations of the medication than expected, which can change the way it works. 

This can lead to problems when your body does not have access to enough medication, or if it leads to signs of having too much.

In this article, we’ll discuss common interactions, side effects, and how to know when you should see a medical provider.

What Is Lisinopril?

Lisinopril is a common drug used to treat high blood pressure. It is an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor). 

It works by blocking the conversion of angiotensin I into angiotensin II. Angiotensin II works to constrict blood vessels, so when this hormone is active, it increases blood pressure.

Lisinopril helps to relax blood vessel walls, which leads to a decrease in blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to pump blood. 

It also reduces blood pressure by decreasing how much water and salt the body retains.

Lisinopril starts to lower blood pressure within one hour of taking, but the maximum effects are typically felt around six hours after taking.

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Lisinopril and Alcohol Interactions

When you drink alcohol, the body starts to metabolize it quickly.

If there are medications in your system, like lisinopril, consuming alcohol changes the way that your body metabolizes and breaks down drugs.

Common Interactions

If you drink alcohol while you take lisinopril, interactions may occur. While some may be mild, some can be more serious. It is not advised to drink alcohol while taking lisinopril.

Common interactions that may occur are typically linked with alcohol increasing the effects of lisinopril, which can make it seem like you took a higher dose.

Regular consumption of alcohol while taking high blood pressure can also decrease the effectiveness of the treatment since alcohol intake itself can be a cause of hypertension.

  • Dizziness: Pairing alcohol with lisinopril can lead to feelings of dizziness. Alcohol can increase the effects of lisinopril, which can lead to low blood pressure.
  • Fainting: If low blood pressure increases, it’s possible to faint or pass out if you pair lisinopril and alcohol. Fainting is dangerous, and if you feel lightheaded or dizzy from consuming alcohol and lisinopril, stay in a seated position and let your healthcare provider know.
  • Drowsiness: Alcohol alone can lead to feelings of drowsiness, but if it causes a drop in blood pressure by increasing how lisinopril works, it may especially lead to feelings of sleepiness.
  • Severe fatigue: More extreme than feeling tired, pairing lisinopril with alcohol can lead to severe fatigue that can result in having a hard time functioning until the effects have worn off.
  • Muscle cramps: Changes to blood pressure and hydration levels can lead to uncomfortable muscle cramping, which can be worsened when alcohol is consumed.

More Serious Interactions

Taking lisinopril with alcohol can cause some serious complications for which you should seek medical care, such as:

  • Changes to the heart’s rhythm (arrhythmia) because of a severe drop in blood pressure.
  • Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting because of combined effects of alcohol and low blood pressure on the gastrointestinal system.
  • Chest pains because of low blood pressure. Seek emergency medical care if you have chest pains after consuming alcohol with lisinopril.
  • Yellow-tinged skin or eyes (jaundice) from liver complications of lisinopril and alcohol. 

Precautions and Risks

Consuming alcohol with lisinopril can worsen side effects or cause serious interactions.

Lisinopril should not be taken by people who are sensitive or allergic to ingredients in the medication.

Lisinopril should not be consumed by people who have certain health conditions, such as:

  • Pregnancy (FDA black box warning; can cause severe harm in the fetus)
  • Breastfeeding
  • Angioedema
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperkalemia
  • History of stroke

Alcohol Interactions with ACE Inhibitors

Lisinopril and other ACE inhibitors all have similar interactions with alcohol. 

Because ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and can cause dizziness or low blood pressure on their own, pairing them with alcohol can lead to potentially serious side effects.

Other ACE inhibitors include:

  • Fosinopril
  • Benazepril (Lotensin)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Quinapril (Accupril)
  • Trandolapril (Mavik)

Symptoms to Look Out For

If you take lisinopril or other ACE inhibitors, the most common side effects are headache, dizziness, and nausea

Alcohol can independently cause these symptoms.

If you do take them at overlapping times, let your healthcare provider know if you notice any negative effects.

Side Effects

Lisinopril has some common side effects. They include:

Less commonly, lisinopril may cause more severe side effects, such as:

  • Allergic reactions or anaphylaxis
  • Jaundice or liver damage
  • Problems breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Infection
  • Low blood pressure

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When to See a Medical Provider

If you take lisinopril or other blood pressure medication, see a healthcare provider if you have questions about the safety about consuming alcohol.

If you want to stop taking your medication, change medications, or need help addressing symptoms or side effects, a healthcare provider can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drink alcohol while taking lisinopril?
Alcohol can cause serious interactions with lisinopril. It is not recommended to drink alcohol while you take lisinopril or other ACE inhibitors.
Can you drink alcohol while taking blood pressure medicine?
Alcohol can cause or worsen high blood pressure. It also interacts with most hypertension medications. Alcohol can cause a serious drop in blood pressure if it interacts with blood pressure medicine, or it can make the overall treatment less effective.
What should I avoid while taking lisinopril?
If you take lisinopril, avoid alcohol, probenecid, allopurinol, aspirin, cycloSPORINE, indomethacin, lithium, high-potassium foods (bananas, avocados, orange juice, broccoli, nuts, spinach), potassium supplements, NSAIDs, diuretics, and other types of blood pressure medication.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Latifa deGraft-Johnson, MD

Dr. Latifa deGraft-Johnson is a board-certified family medicine physician with 20 years of experience. She received her bachelor's degree from St. Louis University, her medical degree from Ross University, and completed her family medicine residency at the University of Florida. Her passion is in preventative medicine and empowering her patients with knowledge.

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