Carvedilol - a beta-blocker

Carvedilol belongs to the group of medicines known as beta-blockers. It is used to treat a number of different conditions.

Treatment is usually long-term. Continue to take the tablets regularly.

If you buy any cough or cold remedies, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take alongside carvedilol.

About carvedilol

Type of medicine A beta-adrenoceptor blocking medicine (often referred to as a beta-blocker)
Used for High blood pressure, heart failure, and angina
Also called Eucardic®
Available as Tablets

Carvedilol slows down the activity of your heart by stopping messages sent by some nerves to your heart. It does this by blocking tiny areas (called beta-adrenergic receptors) where the messages are received by your heart. As a result, your heart beats more slowly and with less force. The pressure of blood within your blood vessels is reduced and it is easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. This is of benefit if you have hypertension where your blood pressure is too high, or if you have heart failure which is a condition where your heart is not working as well as it should. Because your heart is using less energy, it also helps to reduce chest pain if you have angina.

Before taking carvedilol

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking carvedilol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have low blood pressure or poor circulation.
  • If you have asthma or breathing difficulties.
  • If you have sugar diabetes.
  • If you have psoriasis (a skin problem).
  • If you have myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness).
  • If you have been told you have a slow heartbeat or heart block (a slow and irregular heartbeat).
  • If you have been told you have Prinzmetal's angina (chest pain caused by spasms of the heart's blood vessels).
  • If you have phaeochromocytoma (a tumour on your adrenal gland).
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or if you have ever had any other severe allergic reaction.

How to take carvedilol

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about carvedilol and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. Depending on the reason you are taking carvedilol, they are taken once- or twice-daily. Your doctor will tell you which is right for you, and your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
  • Carvedilol tablets are available in several different strengths. When starting your treatment your doctor may give you a small dose and then gradually increase the strength of the tablets. Each time you collect a fresh supply of tablets, it's a good idea to check the strength on the packet to make sure they are what you are expecting.
  • Try to take carvedilol at the same time(s) each day as this will help you to remember to take them. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take your next dose when you remember, skip the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • It is very important to follow any dietary and lifestyle advice that you may have been given by your doctor, such as eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking regular exercise.
  • If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about taking carvedilol and alcohol. Alcohol will add to the blood pressure lowering effect of carvedilol and so may not be recommended for you.
  • If you have diabetes, carvedilol may block the symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
  • These tablets can reduce the amount of tears your eyes make. If you wear contact lenses and this causes your eyes to feel drier than usual, speak with your doctor or optician for advice.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking a beta-blocker.
  • Treatment with carvedilol is usually long-term so continue to take these tablets unless your doctor tells you to stop. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause problems in some people, so your doctor will probably want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for someone with high blood pressure to take. Some medicines (including some cough, cold and flu remedies) may not be.

Can carvedilol cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Very common carvedilol side-effects (these effect more than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine): What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired or light-headed Getting up and moving more slowly may help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few moments before standing. This often improves after the first week or two, but if it continues, speak with your doctor
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor
Common carvedilol side-effects (these effect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine): What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling or being sick, indigestion, diarrhoea Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water
Cold fingers or toes, disturbed sleep, pain, slow heartbeat, impotence, reduced sexual desire, abnormal dreams, infection, anaemia, feeling depressed, increased weight, eyesight problems, and swollen feet and ankles Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store carvedilol

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.