Captopril for heart failure

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Captopril for heart failure

This leaflet is about the use of captopril in children with heart failure.

Information StandardThis leaflet has been  written for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information sometimes differs from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information is usually aimed at adult patients. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of drug

Common brands: Capoten®, Ecopace®, Kaplon®, Noyada®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

Captopril will help your child’s heart to work better so that they have fewer symptoms of heart failure, such as difficulty breathing, poor feeding and slow growth.

What is captopril available as?

  • Tablets: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg
  • Liquid medicine: 5 mg or 25 mg in 5 mL

Your child may also be prescribed a different liquid medicine that can be ordered specially from your pharmacist, but it may take up to 3 weeks to supply.

When should I give captopril?

Captopril is usually given three times a day. This should be first thing in the morning, early afternoon and at bedtime. Try to make sure that these times are at least 4 hours apart.

Give the medicine at about the same times each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of captopril (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

TabletsTablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the tablets. You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or jam. Make sure your child swallows it straight away, without chewing. 

Liquid-medicineLiquid medicine: Shake the medicine well. Measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or a medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

When should the medicine start working?

Captopril may make your child’s blood pressure fall for a short while after each dose and they may feel dizzy or faint. If this happens, they should sit or lie down for a while after taking a dose.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of captopril, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of captopril, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

If your child is sick again, seek advice from your GP, pharmacist or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved. 

What if I forget to give it?

If you miss a dose, wait until the next normal dose. Do not give the missed dose.

Never give a double dose of captopril.

What if I give too much?

It can be dangerous to give too much captopril because it may make your child’s blood pressure fall.

If your child feels faint or dizzy, cold and sweaty, or has a weak or rapid heart rate (they may feel as though their heart is racing or fluttering), or they begin to breathe quickly, contact your doctor or take your child to hospital straight away.

If you think you may have given your child too much captopril, contact your doctor or local NHS services (111 in England and Scotland; 0845 4647 in Wales) or take your child to hospital.

Take the medicine container or packet with you, even if it is empty. This will be useful to the doctor. Have the packet with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects). 

Side-effects you need to know about

If your child gets a rash in the first 2 weeks of taking captopril, contact your doctor straight away, as they may be allergic to captopril. Do not give any more medicine until you have spoken to your doctor. 

  • Your child may feel dizzy or light-headed when they stand up, or may even faint. Encourage them to stand up slowly, and to sit or lie down if they feel dizzy or light-headed.
  • Your child may get flushing (reddening of the face and neck).
  • Your child may feel sick or be sick (vomit). Giving the medicine with some food may help. This effect should wear off after a few days as your child’s body gets used to the medicine. If it is still a problem after a week, contact your doctor for advice.
  • Your child may develop a dry cough that doesn’t go away. If it becomes a problem, contact your doctor for advice, but continue to give captopril as normal.
  • Your child may have a dry mouth, shortness of breath, disturbed sleep or hair loss.
  • Sometimes captopril can effect the kidneys, if your child does not pass urine as normal contact your doctor
  • Sometimes facial swelling and rashes can occur.

There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side-effects to a UK safety scheme at http://www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as captopril?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Captopril should not be taken with some other medicines that affect the kidneys or blood pressure. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicines that your child is taking before starting captopril.
  • You must also tell your doctor and pharmacist that your child is taking captopril before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about captopril?

  • Treatment with captopril is usually started in hospital, so that its effects on your child can be monitored carefully and the right dose worked out.
  • Your doctor will do blood tests to make sure that your child’s kidneys are working well. They will also check your child’s blood pressure regularly.
  • When you get a new prescription of liquid medicine, check what strength medicine you have and how much to give your child, as this may be different from the previous batch.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses as you may do harm.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.

If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • Some liquid medicine does not keep for long once it has been opened. Write the date that you start it on the bottle and make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information 

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist  or nurse will be able to give you more information about captopril and about other medicines used to treat heart failure in children.

You can also get useful information from: 
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