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Carvedilol

Carvedilol is the generic form of a drug known as coreg for the treatment of heart failure and high blood pressure. When used for heart failure, Carvedilol is intended to help the heart pump blood around the body more efficiently. It can also be given to people who have poor heart performance as a result of a heart attack. Carvedilol is a beta-blocker, i.e. a medication that relaxes the blood vessels and slows the heart rate, so that blood flow can begin to improve and blood pressure goes down. Carvedilol was officially approved by the US Federal Drug Administration in 1995 and has been sold under various brand names since then. Carvedilol is available in multiple forms, and though it will not cure heart and high blood pressure conditions, it can help to control the symptoms. Carvedilol is a medication known as a beta-blocker, used to treat issues of hypertension and heart failure when the heart can no longer pump blood adequately to all parts of the body. It is also used to help people recover from heart attacks, often in combination with other forms of medication. Heart conditions are severe and require careful medical attention from a doctor, along with treatment catering to the individual patient. High blood pressure is also a very serious condition that can cause various issues when left untreated, including damage to the heart, brain, blood vessels and kidneys. Carvedilol is frequently combined with lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of further high blood pressure and heart issues.

What is Carvedilol?

Carvedilol is the generic form of a drug known as coreg for the treatment of heart failure and high blood pressure. When used for heart failure, Carvedilol is intended to help the heart pump blood around the body more efficiently. It can also be given to people who have poor heart performance as a result of a heart attack. Carvedilol is a beta-blocker, i.e. a medication that relaxes the blood vessels and slows the heart rate, so that blood flow can begin to improve and blood pressure goes down. Carvedilol was officially approved by the US Federal Drug Administration in 1995 and has been sold under various brand names since then.

Carvedilol is available in multiple forms, and though it will not cure heart and high blood pressure conditions, it can help to control the symptoms.

When is Carvedilol used?

Carvedilol is not intended to cure problems with heart function after heart attacks or heart failure, but it can help to pump blood around the body more efficiently. In many cases, Carvedilol is given after a heart attack or heart failure to improve chances of survival and ensure a faster recovery.

However, Carvedilol is more commonly used as a treatment and ongoing symptom management solution for hypertension – the medical term given to high blood pressure, a condition that increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other serious problems. By blocking the action of various natural substances within the body, Carvedilol can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and other strains on the heart. Carvedilol can be used alongside lifestyle changes and other medications to address the problem of high blood pressure on a more permanent basis.

How do you use Carvedilol?

Carvedilol is available in both extended-release capsule and tablet form. The type of Carvedilol that you are given will affect how you need to take it. Carvedilol tablets are often taken twice a day with food – at lunch and dinner for example. The Carvedilol extended-release capsule meanwhile is more likely to be taken only once a day and in the mornings. Both forms of Carvedilol are best taken with food to reduce the impact on your stomach and minimise the chances of side effects.

It is recommended that patients taking Carvedilol do so at the same time each day. However, if you forget to take your pill on time, you should take it as soon as you remember. Do not double up on doses of Carvedilol to make up for a missed dose, and do not take more of this substance than recommended. Make sure that you swallow the Carvedilol tablets or capsules whole – do not crush or chew the tablets or divide the beads inside a capsule into multiple doses. If you are unable to swallow Carvedilol in pill form, you can carefully open a capsule and sprinkle it onto some cool apple sauce, for example. Do not chew the mixture.

You will be required to continue taking Carvedilol even if you do not feel better immediately. If you find that you start to feel better when taking Carvedilol, do not stop the medication without your doctor’s guidance.

What dosages are available?

Your doctor will usually start you on lower doses of Carvedilol to make sure that your body responds well to the medication. The dose can gradually be increased if your doctor deems it necessary. Tablet versions of Carvedilol come in doses ranging from 3.125 mg to 25 mg. You will also be able to get Carvedilol in an extended-release capsule, and again your doctor will determine what dosage is right for you in this form.

What are the side effects of Carvedilol?

As with all medications, it is possible that you may experience some unwanted side effects when taking Carvedilol tablets. Make sure that you tell your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or your side effects worsen or persist. Seek emergency medical attention if you see signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling of the tongue, lips or throat, or difficulty breathing.

Common side effects of Carvedilol tablets generally include feelings of dizziness and weakness, diarrhoea, weight gain, dry eyes, feeling overly tired or exhaustion. More serious side effects will require the attention of a doctor, and include:

  • Coldness or numbness in your toes or fingers for no reason;
  • Feeling lightheaded or blacking out;
  • Uneven or slow heartbeat;
  • Chest pain, wheezing, chest tightness, dry cough, or trouble breathing;
  • Rapid weight gain or swelling;
  • Feeling short of breath even without much exertion;
  • High blood sugar: often appears in the form of increased thirst, hunger or urination, or dry mouth. You may also notice drowsiness, blurred vision and weight loss.

When should you not use Carvedilol?

It will not be suitable for all people to take Carvedilol tablets. Your doctor will conduct a complete medical assessment with you when determining what treatment to give for high blood pressure. Before you begin taking Carvedilol, you will need to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or medications in Carvedilol tablets. Make sure that you speak to your doctor about your full medical history, including that of your close family. If you have ever had breathing issues, including asthma or a slow, irregular heartbeat, Carvedilol will not be suitable for you. You will also need to tell your doctor if you have ever had any problems with blood flow to your legs or feet. Diabetes and other conditions may also harm your ability to take Carvedilol safely.

Carvedilol is generally not recommended for people who are pregnant. Speak to your doctor if you are planning on getting pregnant when taking Carvedilol or breast feeding. If you are having surgery when taking Carvedilol, then you will need to tell your doctor that you are using this medication. You should also be aware that this medication can make you feel dizzy, tired and lightheaded, and as such, you should not operate machinery or drive if you feel unable to do so. Additionally, you should not drink any alcohol or take medications containing alcohol within two hours before or after using this medication. If you use contact lenses, your eyes might become dry when using Carvedilol.

Does Carvedilol interact with any other medications?

Carvedilol can interact with other medications, including various over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications. It is important not to begin using Carvedilol without first ensuring that you are not taking anything that may interact negatively with this medication. Talk to your doctor if you are taking herbal supplements or anything that might affect your treatment.

Some of the medications that interact with Carvedilol, include:

  • Epinephrine;
  • Diltiazem;
  • Digoxin;
  • Cyclosporine;
  • Clonidine;
  • Cimetidine;
  • Verapamil;
  • Paroxetine;
  • Fluconazole;
  • Clomipramine;
  • Desipramine;
  • Fluoxetine;
  • Sertraline;
  • Imipramine;
  • Duloxetine.

Carvedilol may also interact adversely with any HIV or AIDS medications that you are taking, such as ritonavir, or medications that help with psychiatric disorders. Carvedilol tablets might impact your reaction or thinking time, so any medications that make you more drowsy may also seem to have a greater effect when you are using this medication.

Avoid starting any new medications or changing the dose of any medicines that you are taking when you are using Carvedilol tablets.

Where can you buy Carvedilol?

Carvedilol is a prescription-only medication. As with many treatments used for high blood pressure, Carvedilol tablets should not be taken without the full approval of your doctor, and once you have had a complete assessment from your doctor, you will be able to order this medication online or offline from a registered pharmacy. Do not try to buy this drug from anywhere that does not ask for a prescription or approval from your doctor first, as they may not be a certified pharmacy.

Can you obtain Carvedilol tablets without a prescription?

It is not possible to get Carvedilol tablets without a prescription from your doctor. You will need a full medical assessment to ensure that this treatment is appropriate for your condition, and that it will not cause any dangerous interactions.

References:

BNF Nice, Carvedilol Patient Leaflet, Indications and Dose, [Accessed on 27 June 2019] Available at: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/carvedilol.html

IBM Micromedex, 2019, online, Mayo Clinic, Carvedilol Oral Route, [Accessed on 27 June 2019] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/carvedilol-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067565

RXList, online, 2019, Coreg Carvedilol Side Effects Drug Center, [Accessed on 27 June 2019] Available at: https://www.rxlist.com/coreg-side-effects-drug-center.htm

WebMD, 2019, Carvedilol oral, [Accessed on 27 June 2019] Available at:https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5574/carvedilol-oral/details

Patient Leaflet(s)
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