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Carvedilol

Brand names of carvedilol

  • Coreg
  • Dilatrend
  • Eucardic
  • Proreg

Carvedilol is prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as congestive heart failure. This medication has a relation with labetalol and works to obstruct the adrenergic nervous system receptors. It may be noted that the adrenergic nervous system is the arrangement of nerves where the epinephrine or adrenalin is active. The nerves belonging to this nervous system go into the heart and discharge an adrenergic substance called norepinephrine, which binds to the receptors on the muscles of the heart and invigorates them to beat faster and more vigorously. As carvedilol obstructs the receptors, it lowers the pace of the heart as well as the force with which it contracts and, in this way, lessens the burden on the heart. In addition, carvedilol causes an obstruction for the adrenergic receptors atop arteries and results in the loosening up of the arteries. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in the blood pressure. The lowering of the blood pressure lessens the workload of the heart further and it becomes a lot easier for it to pump blood when the pressure is lower. Carvedilol was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale and use in the United States in 1995.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking carvedilol

Before you take carvedilol for the first time, you need to inform your physician as well as pharmacist whether you have allergic reactions to this drug, any of its ingredients or any other drug. Also let your physician and pharmacist know about all the prescription as well as over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, dietary supplements and vitamins you already take or are planning to take.

Prior to beginning treatment with carvedilol, you should tell your physician about your medical history, especially if you have ever suffered from or are still suffering from any breathing troubles, including asthma; any liver ailment; and/ or an abnormal or slow heartbeat. In case you have or ever had any of these ailments your physician is most likely to advise you against using carvedilol.

In addition, you also need to let your physician know if you have ever had or still have any problems related to blood circulation in your legs or feet; hyperthyroidism (a medical condition wherein there is excessive thyroid hormone in your body); diabetes or any other health problem that is responsible for your low levels of blood sugar; low blood pressure; pheochromocytoma (development of a tumor on the gland close to the kidneys resulting in a rapid heartbeat and elevated blood pressure); and/ or Prinzmetalís angina (a condition wherein a chest pain subsides with no palpable reason). You should also tell your physician if you have had any severe allergic reaction to any food or other substances in the past.

Women who want to take carvedilol should tell their physician if they are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. In case any woman becomes pregnant while undergoing treatment with carvedilol, she should immediately talk to her physician for guidance on what she needs to do in such a situation. Before starting treatment with this medication, new mothers need to inform their physician if they are breast feeding.

Before undergoing any type of surgery, which may include any dental operation, you need to tell the surgeon or dentist that you are already using this medication. In fact, you need to be aware of the fact that using carvedilol may possibly cause extreme exhaustion, dizziness or light-headedness, particularly during the initial period of treatment with this medication and whenever its dose is enhanced. Therefore, it is advised that you should never undertake any activity that may necessitate alertness, such as driving a car or operating machinery, till you are certain about the effect of this medication on your body and when you are confident that you may perform these activities safely. Here is a word of caution: you need to be particularly cautious for at least one hour after taking carvedilol.

People who are taking carvedilol extended-release tablets should not take any prescription or over-the-counter drugs containing alcohol and consume alcoholic beverages for a minimum of two hours prior to and after taking the medication. In case you are now aware if any medication that you might already be taking or plan to take contains alcohol, it is advisable you seek the help of your physician or pharmacist.

Those who are taking carvedilol ought to know that this medication may result in light-headedness, fainting and dizziness, particularly if you try to be on your feet very fast from a lying posture. These side effects occur more often when you start treatment with this medication for the first time. In order to evade this problem, you should slowly get out of your bed, first by putting your feet lightly on the floor for some minutes before you stand up.

People wearing contact lenses are likely to experience dry eyes while undergoing treatment with carvedilol. Talk to your physician in case this bothers you too much.

Usage

Carvedilol is prescribed for treating restrained congestive heart failure (also called CHF). This medication is used along with ACE inhibitors and diuretics, either with or not including digoxin.

How to use carvedilol

Prior to using carvedilol and every time you obtain a refill of this medication, it is important that you go through the Patient Information Leaflet made available by your pharmacist. Talk to your physician or pharmacist in case you do not understand any instructions in the leaflet or have any queries about the way this medication should be used. Carvedilol is taken orally either with or with no food. Generally, this medication is taken twice every day. However, you may also take it as per the instructions of your physician. The dosage of carvedilol is dependent on the patientís medical condition and his/ her receptiveness to the therapy. In order to obtain the utmost benefits of using carvedilol you should take this medication on a regular basis. Also, take this medication at the same times every day, as it will help you to remember taking it on time.

Carvedilol should not be discontinued abruptly or without taking to your physician. You should know that if you stop taking this medication all of a sudden, it may further worsen your condition. Prior to discontinuing carvedilol, you need to lessen the dosage of the medication gradually. If you are taking carvedilol to treat hypertension, you may get the complete benefits of this medication after using it for about a week or two. Even if you start feeling better after a few weeks of treatment with carvedilol you should keep taking this medication. Generally, people suffering from high blood pressure do not have any sickly feeling. However, you should contact your physician if you find any deterioration in your condition, for instance, any increase in your regular blood pressure readings.

How carvedilol works

While the manner in which carvedilol improves congestive heart failure is yet to be determined, this medication is known to relax or widen the blood vessels, thereby, lowering the blood pressure.

Side effects

Serious:
  • feelings of tightness, pain or pressure in the chest
  • mental depression
  • shortness of breath
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • swelling of the ankles, lower legs and feet
  • wheezing
Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
A number of herbal products and minerals may possibly interact with carvedilol and, therefore, it is not advisable to use them in conjunction with this medication. It has been found that using the herb ginseng has the aptitude to raise the blood pressure as well as diminish the benefits of taking carvedilol. Similarly, other herbs like goldenseal, licorice, yohimbe, ma huang, hawthorn and saw palmetto may also raise the blood pressure. On the other hand, using calcium and garlic is likely to help in lowering blood pressure. Even though Indian snakeroot possesses a German Commission E monograph indication for treating high blood pressure, it is essential that you consult your physician before you start using this herb. People who have hypertension should be careful to stay away from the herbs ma huang and Siberian ginseng root. In addition, herbs like nettle and ginger, and mineral vanadium may possibly alter the blood sugar. Hence, it is advisable that you consult your physician prior to incorporating any herbal remedy or mineral in your existing list of medications while you are being treated with carvedilol.
Alcohol:
It is important that you avoid consuming alcoholic beverages while undergoing treatment with carvedilol, as alcohol has the aptitude to amplify this medicationís ability to lower blood pressure, while augmenting the gentle tranquilizing affect caused by this medication.
Tobacco smoking:
People taking carvedilol should avoid smoking tobacco, because nicotine has the potential to diminish the benefits of this medication when used to treat hypertension. Taking large doses of this medication is likely to further deteriorate the bronchial contraction brought about owing to habitual smoking.
Exposure to heat:
You should take necessary precautions when exposed to hot environments while undergoing treatment with carvedilol. Exposure to heat may possibly result in a drop in blood pressure and, at the same time, amplify the actions of this medication on the body.
Exposure to cold:
It is advised that you be careful when exposed to cold environs while taking carvedilol. Especially, aged adults should take adequate precautionary measure while being exposed to cold with a view to put off hypothermia.
Occurrence of unrelated illness:
People taking carvedilol should know that incidences of unrelated ailments may have an adverse effect on their treatment program. For instance, their blood pressure will drop and may need reduced dosage of the medication if they have a fever. Even ailments that result in vomiting and nausea may disturb the usual dosing schedule of carvedilol. Hence, it is suggested that you talk to your physician for his/ her advice and help in such situations.
Heavy exercise or exertion:
While taking carvedilol you need to be careful to keep away from hard work that leads to extreme exhaustion, muscle cramps and/ or dizziness.

Discontinuation

Discontinuing carvedilol abruptly is not advisable. It is preferable that you reduce the dosage of this medication gradually over a period of two to three weeks before you stop taking it.

Storage instructions

Carvedilol should always be stored at room temperature and in a place free from light and humidity. This medication is available in different brands as well as strength and, therefore, they may be stored differently. It is important to go through the label on the product package or seek the help of your pharmacist regarding the storage conditions needed for the brand you are using. Never store this medication in your bathroom. Also ensure that you keep this medication in a place that is beyond the reach of children as well as pets. Unless you have been told otherwise, never discard medications whose expiry date has lapsed or those that are needed no more by flushing them down your toilet or pouring them into a drain. It is important that you discard all such medications in an appropriate and safe manner. You may seek the help of your pharmacist or ask any waste disposal firm in your neighbourhood regarding the proper disposal of the product.

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