Carvedilol

About carvedilol

Carvedilol is a beta blocker.

It’s used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and helps prevent:

It can also be given with other medicines to treat heart failure and to prevent chest pain caused by angina.

Carvedilol is only available on prescription. It comes as tablets.

Key facts

Who can and cannot take carvedilol

Carvedilol can be taken by most adults. It can sometimes be prescribed by a specialist for children aged 2 years and over.

Carvedilol is not suitable for some people. Tell your doctor before starting the medicine if you have:

How and when to take carvedilol

Dosage

When you start taking carvedilol, your doctor may advise you to take your first dose just before you go to bed. This is because it can make you feel dizzy.

After the first dose, if you do not feel dizzy, you can take your medicine in the morning. If you do feel dizzy, it’s best to keep taking your medicine at bedtime.

It’s best to take carvedilol at the same time each day.

If you take it twice a day, you’ll usually have 1 dose in the morning and 1 dose in the evening. Leave 10 to 12 hours between doses if you can.

Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. Do not chew or crush them.

Carvedilol does not usually upset your stomach, so you can take it with or without food. However, if you are taking carvedilol for heart failure, it’s best to take the tablets with food. This will help reduce the risk of you feeling dizzy or faint when you stand up.

If you find tablets difficult to swallow, some strengths have a score line to help you break the tablet in half. Check the information leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if you can do this.

Carvedilol tablets come in 4 different strengths – 3.125mg, 6.25mg, 12.5mg and 25mg.

How much you take depends on why you need carvedilol.

The usual starting dose to treat:

If your child is prescribed carvedilol, the doctor will use their weight to work out the right dose.

What if I forget to take it?

If you miss a dose of carvedilol, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

What if I take too much?

The amount of carvedilol that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.

Taking too much carvedilol can lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and make it difficult to breathe.

Contact 111 for advice now if:

  • you take too much carvedilol

Call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk

If you need advice for a child under the age of 5 years, call 111.

Side effects

Common side effects

Like all medicines, carvedilol can cause side effects in some people, but many people have no side effects or only minor ones.

Side effects usually improve as your body gets used to the medicine.

These common side effects may happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They’re usually mild and last a few days after starting the medicine or increasing your dose.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or do not go away:

Serious side effects

It happens rarely, but some people have serious side effects when taking carvedilol.

Tell a doctor straight away if you have:

Serious allergic reaction

In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to carvedilol.

These are not all the side effects of carvedilol. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.

How to cope with side effects of carvedilol

What to do about:

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Carvedilol and pregnancy

Carvedilol is not usually recommended if you’re pregnant.

If you're trying to get pregnant or you're already pregnant, talk to your doctor about taking carvedilol. It may be possible to change to other medicines that are more suitable when you’re pregnant, such as labetalol or nifedipine.

Carvedilol and breastfeeding

If your doctor or health visitor says that your baby is healthy, it's OK to take carvedilol while breastfeeding.

There is no information about whether carvedilol passes into breast milk, but it would only be expected to pass through in small amounts. It’s unlikely to cause any side effects in your baby.

If you notice that your baby isn't feeding as well as usual, or seems unusually sleepy, or if you have any other concerns about your baby, then talk to your health visitor, midwife or doctor as soon as possible.

Find out more about high blood pressure and pregnancy.

Cautions with other medicines

Mixing carvedilol with herbal remedies and supplements

There are some medicines that can affect the way carvedilol works.

Tell your doctor if you’re taking:

There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements with carvedilol. However, some herbal products, such as cod liver oil, hawthorn and garlic tablets may cause low blood pressure (hypotension).

Common questions about carvedilol

How does carvedilol work? How long does it take to work? How long will I take it for? Can I take carvedilol for a long time? What will happen if I stop taking it? How does it compare with other medicines for high blood pressure? How does it compare with other medicines for chest pain and angina? How does it compare with other medicines that treat heart failure? Will I need to stop carvedilol before surgery? Can I drink alcohol? Is there any food or drink I need to avoid? Will it affect my contraception? Will it affect my fertility? Will it affect my sex life? Do I need to avoid playing sports? Can I drive or ride a bike? Can lifestyle changes help heart problems?