carvedilol (Coreg, Coreg CR)

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GENERIC NAME: carvedilol

BRAND NAME: Coreg, Coreg CR

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: 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.

GENERIC AVAILABLE: yes

PRESCRIPTION: yes

PREPARATION:

  • Tablets: 3.125, 6.25, 12.5, and 25 mg.
  • Capsules (Extended Release): 10, 20, 40, 80 mg

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Carvedilol is used alone or with a diuretic ("water-pill") to control high blood pressure (hypertension). Carvedilol also may be used in combination with other drugs to manage mild or moderate congestive heart failure. When 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. It is also used for treating angina (chest pain from heart disease).

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

For congestive heart failure, the dose may range from 3.25 mg twice daily to a maximum of 25 mg twice daily in persons weighing less than 85 kg (187 pounds) or 50 mg twice daily in persons weighing more than 85 kg (187 pounds).

For treating angina the dose is 25 to 50 mg twice daily.

Carvedilol should be taken with food since this increases the amount of absorbed drug that reaches the heart and arteries. Stopping and changing doses of carvedilol should be done under the direction of a physician since 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.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Carvedilol can mask early warning symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) such as tremors and increased heart rate. (These symptoms are caused by activation of the adrenergic nervous system which is blocked by the carvedilol.) Therefore, patients with diabetes taking medications that lower blood sugar such as insulin or oral anti-diabetic medications may need to increase the frequency with which they monitor their blood sugar.

Carvedilol taken with calcium channel blockers (CCBs) such as diltiazem (Cardizem) or verapamil (Calan) may trigger an irregular heart rhythm or an increase in blood pressure.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/7/2014



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