Carvedilol : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Carvedilol is used to treat heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to all parts of the body) and high blood pressure. It is also used to treat people who have had a heart attack. Carvedilol is often used in combination with other medications. Carvedilol is in a class of medications called beta-blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels and slowing the heart rate to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when left untreated, it can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs can cause heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, vision loss, and other problems. In addition to taking medications, making lifestyle changes will also help control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising for at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and consuming alcohol in moderation.
How should this medicine be used?
Carvedilol comes as an extended-release (long-acting) capsule and tablet to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken twice a day with food. The extended-release capsule is usually taken once a day in the morning with food. Try to take carvedilol at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take carvedilol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release capsules whole. Do not chew or crush the capsules, and do not divide the pearls within a capsule into more than one dose. If you are unable to swallow the capsules, you can open them carefully and sprinkle all the pearls in them over a tablespoon of cold or room temperature applesauce. Swallow the entire mixture immediately without chewing.
Your doctor will likely prescribe a low dose of carvedilol and gradually increase it to allow your body to adjust to the medicine. Talk to your doctor about how you feel and about any symptoms you experience during this time.
Carvedilol can help control your condition, but it will not cure it. Keep taking carvedilol even if you feel fine. Do not stop taking carvedilol without consulting your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking carvedilol, you may experience serious heart problems, such as severe chest pain, a heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat. Your doctor will probably want to gradually decrease your dose over 1 to 2 weeks. Your doctor will watch you closely and will probably tell you to avoid physical activity during this time.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking carvedilol,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to carvedilol, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in carvedilol extended-release tablets and capsules. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, herbal products, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: cimetidine; clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay, in Clorpres), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Lanoxin); diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, Taztia, Tiazac); epinephrine (Epipen); fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra, in Symbyax); insulin; oral medications for diabetes; monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar); paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil); propafenone (Rythmol); quinidine; reserpine; rifampicin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifater, in Rifamate); and verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS, Verelan, in Tarka). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or other breathing problems, slow or irregular heartbeat, or liver disease. Your doctor may tell you not to take carvedilol.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had problems with blood flow in your feet or legs, diabetes, or any other condition that causes low blood sugar, hyperthyroidism (condition in which there is too much thyroid hormone in the body), low blood pressure, Prinzmetal’s angina (chest pain that appears at rest without an obvious cause), or pheochromocytoma (a tumor that develops in a gland near the kidneys and can cause high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat). Also tell your doctor if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a food or any other substance.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking carvedilol, call your doctor.
- If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking carvedilol.
- You should know that this medicine may make you feel tired, dizzy or lightheaded, especially when you start taking carvedilol and when your dose is increased. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you. Take special care during the first hour after taking the medicine.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages or take prescription or over-the-counter medications that contain alcohol for 2 hours before and 2 hours after taking carvedilol extended-release capsules. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don’t know if a medicine you plan to take contains alcohol.
- You should know that carvedilol can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting, especially when you get up too quickly from lying down. This is more common when you first start taking carvedilol. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
- If you wear contact lenses, your eyes may get dry during your treatment with carvedilol. Tell your doctor if this bothers you.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Carvedilol may cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of hyperglycemia:
- extreme thirst
- frequent urination
- extreme hunger
- blurred vision
Carvedilol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- vision changes
- joint pain
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- dry eyes
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs
Some side effects may be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath
- weight gain
- swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- chest pain
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- difficulty breathing and swallowing
Carvedilol may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you experience any unusual problems while taking this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- slow heartbeat
- difficulty breathing
- loss of consciousness
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to carvedilol.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.
- Coreg® CR
Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.