Carvedilol

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Generic Name: Carvedilol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is carvedilol used for?

Carvedilol is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It is also used after a heart attack to improve the chance of survival if your heart is not pumping well. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.

This drug works by blocking the action of certain natural substances in your body, such as epinephrine, on the heart and blood vessels. This effect lowers your heart rate, blood pressure, and strain on your heart. Carvedilol belongs to a class of drugs known as alpha and beta blockers.

This medication may also be used to treat a certain type of irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation).

How should I take carvedilol?

Take this medication by mouth with food as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.

For the treatment of high blood pressure, it may take 1 to 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (for example, your blood pressure readings remain high or increase, or you have worsening symptoms of heart failure like increased shortness of breath).

How do I store carvedilol?

Carvedilol is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store carvedilol in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of carvedilol that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush carvedilol down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using carvedilol?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of carvedilol or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not take this medication if you have:

  • Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema
  • Severe liver disease
  • A serious heart condition such as heart block, sick sinus syndrome, or slow heart rate (unless you have a pacemaker)

To make sure you can safely take carvedilol, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • Diabetes (taking carvedilol can make it harder for you to tell when you have low blood sugar)
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • A thyroid disorder
  • Pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland)
  • Circulation problems (such as Raynaud’s syndrome)
  • A history of allergies

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using carvedilol during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking carvedilol. Carvedilol is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from carvedilol?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Slow or uneven heartbeats
  • Chest pain, dry cough, wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion
  • Swelling, rapid weight gain
  • Numbness or cold feeling in your hands and feet
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Pale skin, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating
  • High blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss)
  • Severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Dry eyes
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Joint pain
  • Cough
  • Decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with carvedilol?

Carvedilol may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with carvedilol?

Carvedilol may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with carvedilol?

Carvedilol may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Angina (severe chest pain)
  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Breathing or other lung problems (e.g., bronchitis or emphysema)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Edema (fluid retention or body swelling)
  • Heart or blood vessel disease
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Major surgery, scheduled
  • Peripheral vascular disease (blood circulation problem)
  • Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor)
  • Asthma
  • AV block, second or third-degree
  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat), severe (without a pacemaker)
  • Cardiogenic shock (shock caused by heart attack)
  • Heart failure, decompensated
  • Hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis, angioedema, Stevens-Johnson syndrome)
  • Liver disease
  • Sick sinus syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using carvedilol.

What is the dose of carvedilol for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Angina Pectoris:

Immediate-release tablets:

  • Initial dose: 6.25 mg orally twice a day with food.
  • Maintenance dose: 6.25 mg to 25 mg orally twice a day with food.
  • Maximum dose: 50 mg per day.

Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:

Immediate-release tablets:

  • Initial dose: 3.125 mg orally twice a day for 2 weeks. If tolerated, increase dosage to 6.25 mg orally twice a day.
  • Dosage should then be doubled every 2 weeks to the highest level tolerated by the patient.
  • Maximum dose: 50 mg orally twice a day in patients weighing 85 kg or greater and 25 mg orally twice a day in patients weighing 85 kg or less.

Extended-release capsules:

  • Initial dose: 10 mg orally once a day for 2 weeks. If tolerated, increase dosage to 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg over successive intervals of at least 2 weeks.

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Immediate-release tablets:

  • Initial dose: 6.25 mg orally twice a day with food.
  • Maintenance dose: 6.25 mg to 25 mg orally twice a day with food.
  • Maximum dose: 50 mg per day.

Extended-release capsules:

  • Initial dose: 20 mg orally once a day for 7 to 14 days. If tolerated, may increase dosage to 40 mg orally once a day, then again to 80 mg orally once a day after 7 to 14 days.
  • Maximum dose: 80 mg per day

Usual Adult Dose for Left Ventricular Dysfunction:

Immediate-release tablets:

  • Initial dose: 6.25 mg orally twice a day (an initial dosage of 3.25 mg twice daily can be given to patients unable to tolerate the initial dosage).
  • Maintenance dose: If tolerated, the initial dosage may be titrated to 12.5 mg twice a day after 3 to 10 days to a target dose of 25 mg twice a day.

Extended-release capsules:

  • Initial dose: 20 mg orally once a day (an initial dosage of 10 mg once daily can be given to patients unable to tolerate the initial dosage). If tolerated, may increase dosage to 40 mg after 3 to 10 days, then again to 80 mg orally once a day.

What is the dose of carvedilol for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is carvedilol available?

Carvedilol is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet, extended release
  • Capsule

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of carvedilol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: July 18, 2017 | Last Modified: July 25, 2017

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