Easy-to-read medicine information about carvedilol – what it is, how to take carvedilol safely and possible side effects.
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What is carvedilol?
Carvedilol has many uses. It is used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain (angina) and with other medicines for 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. Beta-blockers work by blocking some natural chemicals in the body, to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Read more about heart failure, high blood pressure and chest pain. In New Zealand, carvedilol comes as tablets.
- 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 unwanted side effects.
- Depending on the reason you are taking carvedilol, you will be asked to take either one or two doses a day. People with high blood pressure are usually asked to take one dose a day, and people with angina or heart failure will be asked to take two doses a day. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you.
- Always take your 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:
How to take carvedilol
- Take your carvedilol dose at the same time each day.
- Swallow your tablets, with a glass of water.
- Take carvedilol with food, or immediately after food. It may cause stomach upset if you take it without food.
- Limit drinking alcohol while you are taking carvedilol.
- If you forget to take your tablet, take it as soon as you remember that day.
- But, if it is nearly time for your next tablet, just take the next tablet at the right time. Do not take double the amount of tablets.
- Do not stop taking carvedilol suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.
Precautions – before taking carvedilol
- Do you have asthma?
- Do you have diabetes?
- Do you have problems with your kidneys?
- Do you play a professional sport?
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Have you ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine?
- Are you are taking or using any other medicines? This includes any medicines you are using which are available to buy from a pharmacy, supermarket or natural health store without a prescription.
If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking carvedilol. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
Possible side effects
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.
If you have diabetes you need to take extra care to measure your blood glucose levels regularly.
- Beta-blockers can cause an increase in blood glucose levels, especially when you first start taking them. This effect usually settles with time.
- Beta-blockers 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 are worried about this, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking your beta-blocker without checking with your doctor first. Read more about hypoglycaemia.
If you have asthma, taking a beta blocker may trigger your asthma symptoms or make them worse. Not everybody with asthma is sensitive to these medicines and this is rare with carvedilol. If you are 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. Do not 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.
Other side effects
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- Check with a pharmacist before taking over the counter medicines such as:
- Cold or flu tablets containing phenylephrine (e.g. Sudafed PE), or diphenhydramine (e.g. Benadryl Original)
- Anti-inflammatories such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren Rapid), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen), mefenamic acid (e.g. Ponstan), naproxen (e.g. Naprogesic)
- Carvedilol may interact with other medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting carvedilol or before starting any new medicines.
New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: Carvedilol
- Carvedilol New Zealand Formulary