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Medication prescribed:Carvedilol is used in combination with other medications to treat heart failure. It also is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Carvedilol is a combination of two classes of drugs called beta-blockers and alpha-blockers. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so your heart does not have to pump as hard. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used:Carvedilol comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with food. You will start out taking a low dose of carvedilol, and your doctor will increase your dose every 1 to 2 weeks until you are taking a dose that works well for you. When you start carvedilol and whenever your doctor increases your dose you will be closely watched to make sure the dose is not too high for you. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take carvedilol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Carvedilol controls high blood pressure and heart failure but does not cure them. Your blood pressure should lower within 30 minutes and your symptoms of heart failure should begin to improve within the first hour of beginning carvedilol. Continue taking carvedilol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking carvedilol without talking to your doctor. Abruptly stopping carvedilol can worsen your symptoms. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually over 1 to 2 weeks.
Other uses for this medicine:Carvedilol also is used occasionally to treat angina (chest pain) and heart muscle disease. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
Special precautions:Before taking carvedilol, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you have a history of allergic reactions to any substance (for example, food products or bee stings) or are allergic to carvedilol or any other drugs. tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cimetidine (Tagamet), clonidine (Catapres), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin), diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem C, Dilacor XR), fluoxetine (Prozac), insulin, oral medications for diabetes, paroxetine (Paxil), phenelzine (Nardil), propafenone (Rythmol), quinidine (Quinaglute, Dura-Tabs, others), reserpine (Serpalan, Serpasil), rifampin (Rifadin, Rifamate, Rifater, Rimactane), tranylcypromine (Parnate), verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS, Verelan), and vitamins and herbal products. tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or another lung disease; blood vessel disease; heart, kidney, or liver disease; diabetes; pheochromocytoma; or an overactive thyroid gland. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking carvedilol, call your doctor. if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking carvedilol. you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you. you should know that this drug may make you dizzy and lightheaded when you are standing. You should sit or lie down when these symptoms occur and then stand up slowly.
If I forget a dose:Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects:Side effects from carvedilol can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: tiredness lightheadedness dizziness body or leg swelling headache diarrhea vision changes joint pain difficulty falling or staying asleep If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fainting difficulty breathing weight gain chest pain slow, irregular heartbeat abdominal pain dark urine yellowing of the skin or eyes loss of consciousness vomiting loss of appetite seizures changes in blood sugar level frequent urination thirst dry mouth flushing dry skin sore throat, fever, cough, or other signs of infection
What storage conditions:Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose:In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Other information:If you wear contact lenses, you may have dry eyes while taking carvedilol. If this happens, you can use eyedrops that are safe for contact lenses. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will need to determine your response to carvedilol. Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate). Ask your pharmacist or doctor to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is faster or slower than it should be, call your doctor. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
More information: Carvedilol