Carvedilol

Sounds like 'KAR-ve-dil-ol'

Carvedilol is used to treat heart failure, high blood pressure and chest pain (angina). Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.

What is carvedilol?

Carvedilol has many uses. It's used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain (angina) and heart failure. Carvedilol is also used after a heart attack, to improve the chance of survival if your heart is not pumping well. It belongs to a group of medicines called beta blockers. Carvedilol works by slowing down your heart rate and making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. Read more about heart failure, high blood pressure and chest pain.

Dose

In Aotearoa New Zealand, carvedilol comes as tablets (6.25mg, 12.5mg and 25mg). 

  • The dose of carvedilol will be different for different people. Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose and increase this over a few days. This allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces side effects.
  • Always take carvedilol exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much carvedilol to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions. 

My dose is:

Date Morning Evening
     
     
     
     
     

Notes:



How to take carvedilol

  • Timing: Depending on the reason you are taking carvedilol, you will be asked to take either 1 or 2 doses a day. Take your carvedilol dose at the same time each day. Take carvedilol with food, or immediately after food. It may cause stomach upset if you take it without food. Swallow your tablets with a glass of water. 
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your tablet, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it's nearly time for your next tablet, just take the next tablet at the right time. Don't take double the number of tablets.
  • Keep taking carvedilol regularly. Treatment with carvedilol is usually long-term. Don't stop taking carvedilol suddenly; talk to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Things to consider while you are taking carvedilol

  • Avoid alcohol while you're taking carvedilol, especially when you first start treatment. Alcohol can increase your risk of some side effects, eg, dizziness.
  • Carvedilol can interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking including over the counter medicines, herbal and complementary medicines or recreational drugs.

If you have diabetes

  • If you have diabetes, carvedilol may cause changes in your blood glucose level. This effect usually settles with time.
  • Beta blockers such as carvedilol may reduce the warning signs of a low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia – often called a hypo). For example, you may not have the feeling of fast, irregular or strong heartbeats (palpitations) or tremor, which can occur when your blood glucose is going too low.
  • If you're worried about this, talk to your doctor. Don't stop taking your beta blocker without checking with your doctor first. Read more about hypoglycaemia.

If you have asthma

  • If you have asthma, taking a beta blocker such as carvedilol it may trigger your asthma symptoms or make them worse. However, not everybody with asthma is sensitive to beta blockers.
  • If you're worried about this, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different medicine or increase the dose of your asthma preventer medication.
  • Don't suddenly stop taking your beta blocker without talking to your doctor first. This can be dangerous and make you feel unwell. Read more about medicines that may trigger asthma symptoms.

What are the side effects of carvedilol?

Like all medicines, carvedilol can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • These are quite common when you first start taking carvedilol and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • This is common when you first start taking carvedilol.
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
  • Depression and low mood
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Nightmares
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Changes in your heartbeat (either too fast or irregular)
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Problems with breathing such as chest tightness, or wheezing or swelling of the ankles or feet.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a side effect from a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: Carvedilol

References

  1. Carvedilol New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 21 Dec 2022