Generic Name: carvedilol, Oral tablet

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SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for carvedilol

Oral tablet
1

Carvedilol is an oral drug used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, and heart function problems after a heart attack.

2

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called beta blockers. It reduces the workload on the heart and helps it beat more regularly.

3

Your dose will depend on the condition that’s being treat and the form of the drug you take.

4

Common side effects include dizziness, unusual tiredness, low blood pressure, diarrhea, high blood sugar, lack of energy, weakness, and low heart rate.

5

Don’t stop taking this medicine without talking to your doctor. Stopping it suddenly can cause changes in heart rhythm, worse chest pain, or a heart attack. Your doctor will slowly lower your dose.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Stopping carvedilol warning. Don’t stop taking this medicine without speaking to your doctor first. Stopping carvedilol suddenly can cause changes in your heart rhythm, worse chest pain, or a heart attack. Your doctor will slowly lower your dose over 1–2 weeks to help prevent these effects. If your chest pain or heart problems get worse after stopping this drug, your doctor may have you start taking it again temporarily.

Low heart rate warning

Carvedilol can decrease your heart rate. If your heart rate drops below 55 beats per minute, your doctor may decrease your dose.

Low blood pressure warning

Carvedilol can cause dangerously low blood pressure, which may cause you to lose consciousness. This risk is highest after your first doses and during dosing increases. To decrease the risk of this happening, take carvedilol with food. Your doctor may start you on a low dose and slowly increase your dose.

Diabetes warning

Carvedilol can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and delay how long it takes your blood sugar to return to normal. It may also mask the signs of low blood sugar. Use this medicine with caution if you have diabetes, especially if you take insulin or other diabetes drugs that can cause low blood sugar.

Drug Features

Carvedilol is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet and oral capsule.

Carvedilol may be available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why It's Used

Carvedilol oral tablet is used to treat high blood pressure. It can also improve how well your heart works if you’ve had a heart attack or if you have heart failure.

More Details

How It Works

Carvedilol belongs to a class of drugs called beta blockers. It isn’t fully understood how carvedilol works to treat high blood pressure or improve heart function.

More Details

Why It's Used

Carvedilol oral tablet is used to treat high blood pressure. It can also improve how well your heart works if you’ve had a heart attack or if you have heart failure.

It’s approved to treat:

  • heart function problems (left ventricular dysfunction) after a heart attack
  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure

How It Works

Carvedilol belongs to a class of drugs called beta blockers. It isn’t fully understood how carvedilol works to treat high blood pressure or improve heart function.

It improves the workload of your heart, exercise-induced high heart rate, and high heart rate upon standing. It also widens your blood vessels, which helps to decrease your blood pressure.

SECTION 2 of 4

carvedilol Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with carvedilol include:

  • dizziness

  • unusual tiredness

  • low blood pressure

  • diarrhea

  • high blood sugar

  • lack of energy or weakness

  • slower heart rate

  • weight gain

  • changes in sex drive or performance

  • dry eyes

  • dry, itchy skin

  • headache

  • nausea

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • skin rash
    • hives
    • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
  • changes in your heart rate. Symptoms may include:

    • irregular or slow heart rate
    • feeling dizzy or fainting
  • heart problems. Symptoms may include:

    • breathing problems or shortness of breath
    • weight gain
    • swollen legs, ankles, or arms
    • chest pain
  • liver problems. Symptoms may include:

    • dark-colored urine
    • vomiting
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • eye problems. Symptoms may include:

    • change in eyesight
    • changes in how contact lenses feel in your eyes
  • urinary problems. Symptoms may include:

    • being unable to pass urine
    • change in how much urine you pass
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Carvedilol can cause drowsiness. Don’t drive, operate machinery, or perform activities that require alertness until you know how it affects you.

Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

carvedilol May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Carvedilol can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interaction

Talk to your doctor before using alcohol while taking this medication. If you drink alcohol while taking carvedilol, your blood pressure may decrease to lower than normal levels. This can be dangerous.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Heart rhythm drugs
  • amiodarone
  • bretylium
  • quinidine
  • digoxin
  • disopyramide
  • encainide
  • flecainide
  • moricizine
  • propafenone
  • procainamide
  • sotalol

Taking these medicines with carvedilol can cause more severe side effects. The combination may lower your heart rate or blood pressure, or worsen a heart blockage. Your doctor may watch you closely for side effects or adjust the dosage of carvedilol or your heart rhythm drug.

Blood pressure drug
  • clonidine

Using clonidine with carvedilol can lower your blood pressure and heart rate even further. If you’re switching to carvedilol from clonidine, you will slowly be taken off clonidine. You’ll start carvedilol several days after stopping clonidine. If you need both medicines, your doctor will watch you for low blood pressure and low heart rate. If you’re on both medicines and both need to be stopped, you’ll stop carvedilol first and clonidine a few days later.

Other beta blockers

Examples are:

  • acebutolol (Sectral)
  • atenolol (Tenormin)
  • bisoprolol (Zebeta)
  • metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
  • propranolol (Inderal)

This drug shouldn’t be used with another beta blocker. It may lower your heart rate and blood pressure too much.

Diuretics

Examples are:

  • furosemide
  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • chlorthalidone

Using these medicines with carvedilol can lead to more severe side effects, such as severe low blood pressure, especially when standing.

Calcium channel blockers
  • diltiazem
  • verapamil

If you take these medicines with carvedilol, your blood pressure and heart rhythm will be monitored.

Diabetes drugs
  • insulin
  • oral diabetes drugs

Carvedilol can increase how much these drugs lower your blood sugar. If you take these drugs together, you’ll need to check your blood sugar regularly.

Anesthetic
  • lidocaine

Carvedilol might affect how lidocaine is cleared from your body. This may cause lidocaine toxicity. Your doctor will check your blood levels if you use these medicines together.

General anesthetic
  • cyclopropane

This drug combination can cause severe low blood pressure. If you’re having major surgery, you’ll be closely monitored for low blood pressure and signs of heart failure.

Malaria drug
  • mefloquine

When used together, these medicines can cause heart rhythm problems and stop your heart from working.

Sympathomimetic drugs

These include:

  • norepinephrine
  • phenylephrine

Don’t use these medicines with carvedilol. These drugs will cancel out the action of one another and neither will work.

Blood thinning drug
  • apixaban

Carvedilol can cause the level of apixiban to increase in your body. This raises your risk of bleeding.

Cancer drug
  • crizotinib

Don’t use this medicine with carvedilol, because it can cause a lower than normal heart rate.

Gout drug
  • colchicine

Don’t use this medicine with carvedilol. It can cause serious and life-threatening colchicine toxicity. If you have normal kidney and liver function and need to be on both drugs, your dose of colchicine will be changed. You’ll also be closely monitored for colchicine toxicity. People with abnormal liver or kidney function who are taking carvedilol shouldn’t take colchicine.

Docetaxel

Carvedilol increases the level of docetaxel in your body. This may cause more side effects from docetaxel.

Anti-fungal drug
  • fluconazole

Fluconazole blocks the breakdown of carvedilol in your body. This leads to more side effects, such as a lower heart rate. If you take these medicines together, you’ll be monitored for low heart rate or heart blockage.

Hepatitis C drugs
  • ledipasvir
  • sofosbuvir

Using either of these medicines with carvedilol can increase the level of carvedilol in your body. Your doctor will watch you closely if you need to use these medicines together.

Transplant rejection drug
  • cyclosporine

Carvedilol may increase the levels of cyclosporine in your body. Your doctor may lower your dose of cyclosporine and monitor you closely.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with asthma

If you have asthma or a related condition, you shouldn’t use this drug. A single dose of carvedilol can be fatal in people with asthma.

People with heart problems

Second or third degree heart block: Carvedilol can make your heart block worse.

Heart rhythm problems: If you already have a heart rhythm problem, such as sick sinus syndrome, taking carvedilol can make it worse.

Very low heart rate: This drug can slow down your heart rate even more, possibly to dangerously low levels. Don’t take carvedilol if you have a very low heart rate unless you have a permanent pacemaker.

Cardiogenic shock or decompensated heart failure: People with shock or decompensated failure that requires the use of certain medications (inotropic therapy that’s administered into your veins) shouldn’t use this drug. It can make the condition worse.

Chronic heart failure: Carvedilol can worsen heart failure or fluid retention, especially during dosage increases. Carvedilol can further decrease the force of contraction of your heart and slow down your heart rate. This may make your heart failure worse if the dose is increased too quickly. Your doctor may need to lower your dose or temporarily stop carvedilol if this happens.

People with severe liver problems

People who have severe liver disease shouldn’t take this medication. It’s broken down by your liver.  When your liver isn’t working properly, taking this medication can result in higher amounts of it in your body. This may lead to serious side effects, such as dangerously low blood pressure or slow heart rate.

People with low blood pressure

Carvedilol can cause dangerously low blood pressure that may cause you to lose consciousness.

People with chronic bronchitis or emphysema

You shouldn’t take carvedilol or other beta blockers. This drug can affect not only your heart, but also your lungs. Its effects in your lungs can lead to tightened airways, making it difficult for you to breath.

People with diabetes

Carvedilol can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and delay how long it takes for your blood sugar to return to normal. It may also mask the signs of low blood sugar. Use this drug with caution if you have diabetes, especially if you take insulin or other diabetes drugs that can cause low blood sugar. If you have diabetes and are taking this medication for heart failure, it may increase your blood sugar levels. You’ll need to monitor your blood sugar and your doctor will adjust your medications accordingly.

People with peripheral vascular disease

Use caution if you have peripheral vascular disease and take carvedilol. This drug can make your symptoms worse.

People with kidney problems

Carvedilol can worsen your kidney function if you have heart failure. You’re at a higher risk if you have low blood pressure or heart or vascular disease. Your doctor will monitor your kidney function and may lower your dose or stop treatment with carvedilol.

People with hyperactive thyroid

Carvedilol can mask the symptoms of a hyperactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). If you stop taking carvedilol suddenly and have hyperthyroidism, your symptoms can get worse or you may develop a serious condition called thyroid storm.

People with pheochromocytoma

Take this medication with caution if you have a tumor in your adrenal glands (pheochromocytoma).

People with Prinzmetal’s Variant Angina

If you have chest pain that occurs between midnight and the early morning (Prinzmetal’s Variant Angina), use caution if you take carvedilol.

People with intraoperative floppy iris syndrome

Before receiving any type of cataract surgery, tell your doctor that you’re taking this drug. You’re at an increased risk of getting small pupil syndrome during surgery.

Pregnant women

Carvedilol is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Carvedilol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are nursing

It isn’t known if carvedilol passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take carvedilol or breastfeed.

For Seniors

Seniors may be more likely to experience dizziness while taking this drug.

For Children

The safety and effectiveness of carvedilol haven’t been established in people under the age of 18 years.

Allergies

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • rash or hives
  • itching
  • blistering or peeling skin
  • fever
  • problems breathing or chest tightness
  • swelling of your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat

If you have a history of severe, life-threatening allergic reactions to different allergens, you’re at a higher risk of having the same reaction to beta blockers. Tell your doctor about all of your allergies before starting this medication.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take carvedilol (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Heart function problems after a heart attack
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 3.125 mg, 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • The recommended starting dose is 6.25 mg taken twice per day.
  • It can be increased after 3–10 days to 12.5mg taken twice per day.
  • It can be increased up to 25 mg taken twice per day.
  • You’ll be kept on a lower dose if you can't tolerate higher doses.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, your doctor will closely monitor you during treatment. They may lower your dose or stop treatment if your kidney function gets worse.

People with low blood pressure or heart rate or who are retaining fluid:

  • You may be started at a lower dose of 3.125 mg taken twice per day. Or, your dose may be increased at a slower rate.
  • You’ll be kept on a lower dose if you can’t tolerate higher doses.

Warnings

Your doctor will monitor you closely during dosage increases.

High blood pressure
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 3.125 mg, 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • The recommended starting dose is 6.25 mg taken twice per day.
  • It can be increased after 7–14 days based on your blood pressure level one hour after your dose.
  • Your dose can be first increased to 12.5 mg taken twice per day. It can be increased again to 25 mg taken twice per day.
  • The total dose shouldn’t go over 50 mg per day.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, your doctor will closely monitor you during treatment. They may lower your dose or stop treatment if your kidney function gets worse.

Warnings

Your doctor will monitor you closely during dosage increases.

Heart failure
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 3.125 mg, 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • The recommended starting dose is 3.25 mg taken twice per day for 2 weeks.
  • It can be increased to 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25 mg taken twice per day over 2 week intervals.
  • When you first start the medication and during dosage increases, you might feel dizzy and lightheaded within the first hour of taking your dose. During this time, you shouldn’t drive or do any similar activities that require alertness.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, your doctor will closely monitor you during treatment. They may lower your dose or stop treatment if your kidney function gets worse.

Warnings

Your doctor will monitor you closely during dosage increases.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Carvedilol comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Don’t Take It at All

You condition may not improve and it may get worse.

If You Skip or Miss Doses

Your blood pressure or heart condition may not be controlled if you skip or miss doses.

If You Take Too Much

If you think you’ve taken too much carvedilol, go to the emergency room or call the poison control center right away. An overdose could cause your heart to stop. Symptoms of overdose of carvedilol include:

  • low blood pressure and heart rate
  • vomiting
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it’s just a few hours before the time for your next dose, then only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell this drug is working if your blood pressure decreases or your other symptoms improve.

Carvedilol is a long-term drug.

Important Considerations for Taking Carvedilol
take with food Take carvedilol with food. Taking it with food will reduce your chance of side effects
can crush tablets You can crush carvedilol tablets
storage Store in temperatures below 86°F (30°C) See Details
refillable Prescription is refillable
travel Travel See Details
clinical monitoring Clinical Monitoring See Details
usually stocked The generic version of this drug is usually stocked at the pharmacy See Details

Store in temperatures below 86°F (30°C)

Keep this drug away from areas where it could get wet, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original pharmacy prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical Monitoring

During treatment with carvedilol, your doctor may check your:

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • weight
  • blood sugar, if you have diabetes
  • liver function
  • potassium levels
  • cholesterol levels

The generic version of this drug is usually stocked at the pharmacy

The brand name might not be stocked, so call ahead

What does the pill look like?

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Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on June 15, 2015

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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