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How Does Carvedilol Work

how does carvedilol work

How it works

Carvedilol belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

It isn’t fully understood how carvedilol works to treat high blood pressure or improve heart function. However, it is known that carvedilol 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.

What is carvedilol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Carvedilol is used for treating high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. It is related to labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate). Carvedilol blocks receptors of the adrenergic nervous system, the system of nerves in which adrenalin (epinephrine) is active. Nerves from the adrenergic system enter the heart and release an adrenergic chemical (norepinephrine) that attaches to receptors on the heart's muscle and stimulates the muscle to beat more rapidly and forcefully. By blocking the receptors, carvedilol reduces the heart's rate and force of contraction and thereby reduces the work of the heart. Carvedilol also blocks adrenergic receptors on arteries and causes the arteries to relax and the blood pressure to fall. The drop in blood pressure further reduces the work of the heart since it is easier to pump blood against a lower pressure. The FDA first approved carvedilol in 1995.

What are the uses for carvedilol?

Carvedilol is a diuretic or "water pill" used to control high blood pressure (hypertension). In addition to treating high blood pressure, carvedolil is prescribed to treat:

Carvedilol may be used in combination with other drugs to manage mild or moderate congestive heart failure. When it is combined with other treatments for heart disease among patients with recent heart attacks, carvedilol can reduce the risk of a second heart attack by 40% and increase survival among patients with congestive heart failure.

Carvedilol is also used for treating angina (chest pain from heart disease).

What are the side effects of carvedilol?

  • Dizziness
  • Edema (fluid accumulation)
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • increased blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia)
  • Diarrhea

What is the dosage for carvedilol?

Carvedilol tablets are usually given twice daily. For high blood pressure, the dose is 6.25 mg twice daily to a maximum of 25 mg twice daily.

For congestive heart failure, the dose is 3.25 mg twice daily to a maximum of 25 mg twice daily. A maximum dose of 50 mg twice daily has been used in persons weighing more than 85 kg (187 pounds).

Carvedilol should be taken with food to slow its absorption and reduce the occurrence of low blood pressure when rising from a sitting or sleeping position (orthostatic hypotension). Stopping and changing doses of carvedilol should be done under the direction of a doctor because sudden changes in dose can result in serious cardiac complications such as arrhythmias.

The dose range for treating heart failure or high blood pressure with extended release capsules is 10 to 80 mg once daily.

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