Lisinopril, the lysine analogue of enalaprilat, is a long-acting angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor which is administered once daily by mouth. The efficacy of lisinopril in reducing blood pressure is well established in younger populations, and many trials now show it to be effective in lowering blood pressure in elderly patients with hypertension. In comparative and non-comparative clinical trials, 68.2 to 89.1% of elderly patients responded (diastolic pressure < or = 90 mm Hg) to > or = 8 weeks' lisinopril treatment. Age-related differences in antihypertensive efficacy do not appear to be clinically significant, and dosages effective in elderly patients tend to range from 2.5 to 40 mg/day. Dosages usually need to be lower in patients with significant renal impairment. In congestive heart failure, lisinopril 2.5 to 20 mg/day increases exercise duration, improves left ventricular ejection fraction and has no significant effect on ventricular ectopic beats. It is similar in efficacy to enalapril and digoxin and similar or superior to captopril on most end-points. Data from the GISSI-3 post-myocardial infarction trial show that lisinopril reduced mortality and left ventricular dysfunction when given for 42 days starting within 24 hours of the onset of infarction symptoms. Results at 6 weeks and 6 months were similar in elderly and younger patients. Elderly patients, however, among other subgroups, exhibited a strong reduction in risk of low ejection fraction after treatment (-25.5%). Economic studies suggest that lisinopril is cost saving compared with other ACE inhibitors in some markets. When given according to the GISSI-3 protocol, lisinopril appears to be one of the less expensive of the successful ACE inhibitor regimens for acute myocardial infarction. In other trials, patients with diabetic nephropathy and hypertension improved or did not deteriorate during lisinopril treatment. Blood pressure was controlled and reductions or trends towards reductions in albuminuria were observed. These reductions were similar to those in diltiazem, nifedipine and verapamil recipients, and greater than those in patients receiving atenolol. Lisinopril appears to reduce mortality in diabetic patients after myocardial infarction and may also improve neuropathy associated with diabetes. Lisinopril is well tolerated and the profile of adverse events seen is typical of ACE inhibitors as a class. There is a tendency for more elderly than younger patients to discontinue treatment, but this trend is not clearly related to the incidence of adverse events in these age groups. Drug interactions occur with few other agents and are usually clinically significant only between lisinopril and either diuretics or lithium. Lisinopril is, thus, an effective treatment for elderly patients with hypertension, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarction and has shown promising benefits in patients with diabetic nephropathy.