Carvedilol is a medication prescribed to manage high blood pressure, heart failure, and enhance survival chances following a heart attack, especially in cases where the heart is not effectively pumping. Its primary mechanism of action involves blocking the activity of natural substances like epinephrine in the body, which affect the heart and blood vessels. This action results in a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac strain.
Carvedilol is classified as an alpha and beta blocker medication, which works by inhibiting the activity of alpha and beta receptors. This drug’s use is beneficial in preventing kidney problems, heart attacks, and strokes by lowering high blood pressure.
Uses and Dosage
Carvedilol is available as a tablet and an extended-release capsule that can be taken orally. The tablet is typically taken twice daily with food, while the extended-release capsule is taken once a day in the morning with food. It’s best to take carvedilol at the same time(s) every day.
Take carvedilol precisely as directed by your doctor and avoid taking more or less of it or taking it more often than recommended.
The extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole and should not be chewed, crushed, or divided. If you’re unable to swallow the capsules, you may carefully open them and sprinkle the beads onto a spoonful of cool or room temperature applesauce. Swallow the entire mixture without chewing.
Initially, your doctor may prescribe a low dose of carvedilol and gradually increase it to enable your body to adapt to the medication. During this time, communicate with your doctor about any symptoms you experience or how you feel.
While carvedilol can help manage your condition, it doesn’t cure it. Continue taking carvedilol even if you feel better. Do not stop taking carvedilol without consulting your doctor. If you abruptly stop taking carvedilol, it may lead to serious heart problems, such as severe chest pain, a heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat. Your doctor may gradually reduce your dose over one to two weeks and advise you to avoid physical activity during this time. Your doctor will monitor you closely.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- vision changes
- joint pain
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- dry eyes
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- 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
Before taking carvedilol, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or if you have any other allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other complications.
Prior to using carvedilol, inform your doctor or pharmacist about your medical history, particularly if you have certain types of heart rhythm problems, breathing problems, severe heart failure requiring hospitalization, liver disease, kidney disease, blood circulation problems, serious allergic reactions including those needing treatment with epinephrine, overactive thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism), a certain type of tumor (pheochromocytoma), other heart problems, a certain muscle disease (myasthenia gravis), or certain eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma).
This medication may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting. This is most likely to occur within one hour after taking your dose, especially when you first start taking carvedilol or when your doctor increases your dose. During these periods, avoid driving and engaging in hazardous tasks. Do not operate machinery, drive, or engage in any activity that requires alertness until you can do so safely. The use of alcohol or marijuana may increase dizziness or drowsiness.
If you have diabetes, this medication may mask the fast or pounding heartbeat that typically occurs when your blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness and sweating, are not affected by this drug.
This medication may make it more difficult to manage your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Notify your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as increased thirst or urination. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
Children may be at greater risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), especially if they are vomiting or not eating regularly. To prevent low blood sugar, feed children on a regular schedule.
Older adults may be more susceptible to the side effects of this drug, particularly dizziness and lightheadedness.
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. You should not conceive while taking carvedilol, as it may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, speak with your doctor immediately about the benefits and risks of this medication.
It is unclear whether carvedilol passes into breast milk. There is a low risk that it may have negative effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Coreg is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is Coreg safe for elderly?
Older patients tolerate carvedilol as frequently and to the same doses as patients under 70 years. Carvedilol seems not to have adverse effects on cognitive function or functional capacity in elderly patients.
Is Coreg a blood thinner?
No, carvedilol isn’t a blood thinner, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, or diuretic. Carvedilol belongs to a group of medications called beta-blockers.