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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2007 Jan;98(1):57-63.

Investigation of angioedema associated with the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers.

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Division of Allergy-Immunology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.



Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-Is) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are known to cause angioedema.


To evaluate the time to onset of angioedema and the subsequent episodes of angioedema in patients initially experiencing ACE-I- or ARB-induced angioedema.


A manual medical record review was conducted on 64 patients with a diagnosis of urticaria, angioedema, or anaphylaxis as a result of taking an ACE-I or ARB. Data recorded included demographic characteristics; time to onset of symptoms; concomitant medication use; laboratory test results; recurrent episodes of angioedema, urticaria, or anaphylaxis; and morbidity and mortality.


The mean age of patients with angioedema was 60.2 years (age range, 32-92 years). Women (60%) and African Americans (69%) were affected more commonly. The primary location for angioedema was the lips and tongue. Sixty-one of 64 patients developed at least one episode of angioedema as the result of taking an ACE-I, and 3 patients had angioedema associated with an ARB. The mean time to onset of angioedema after initiation of therapy in 51 patients was 1.8 years, with 13 patients (25%) presenting within the first month and 6 patients (12%) developing angioedema in the first week. No patients required a tracheostomy or died. Also, none of the 6 patients, whose angioedema was attributed to an ACE-I who then received an ARB, developed recurrent angioedema in more than 8.1 patient-years of follow-up.


Angioedema attributable to an ACE-I or ARB resolves on discontinued use of the medication. It most commonly affects women and African Americans and did so in the first month of treatment in 25% of patients. Physicians should be aware but not deterred necessarily from recommending an ARB in patients with ACE-I-induced angioedema because of the benefits of control of hypertension or reducing albuminuria in selected patients.

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