BACKGROUND: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are often associated with an increased incidence of cough and bronchial responsiveness that may cause further deterioration of patients with impaired pulmonary function. OBJECTIVE: To review the available literature on the incidence of cough and bronchial responsiveness associated with ACE-inhibitor therapy in patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure (CHF). DATA SOURCES: Literature was accessed through MEDLINE (1985-September 2001). Key search terms included cough, bronchospasm, asthma, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers. DATA SYNTHESIS: The literature reports several cases of increased bronchial responsiveness associated with ACE inhibitors. Larger, controlled studies evaluating the increased risk in patients with pulmonary dysfunction are limited. Data from these trials are summarized in this article. CONCLUSIONS: The literature shows that patients with primary airway disease such as asthma and COPD are not at an increased risk of developing cough or bronchoconstriction as a result of ACE-inhibitor therapy. Despite the ability of ACE inhibitors to improve exercise tolerance, perfusion, and gas transfer, patients with CHF may be at higher risk of developing cough than the general population. Whether this cough is attributed to ACE inhibition or increased left-ventricular dysfunction remains uncertain. If increased bronchial responsiveness does occur, angiotensin II receptor antagonists are another reasonable option.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)