What is Carvedilol?

Kimberly Sharpe

The prescription drug carvedilol is used for the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Classified as a beta-adrenergic blocking agent, or beta blocker, it is also administered following a heart attack to improve the patient's odds of survival. The drug also has several off-label uses: migraine preventative, angina treatment, hyperthyroidism treatment and arrhythmia treatment. It also lessens alcohol withdrawal and helps to alleviate anxiety disorders. Carvedilol has not gained approval for administration to children, but has been used in children to slow down the widening of the aorta that occurs with Marfan's syndrome.

Carvedilol may be given to a patient after a heart attack.
Carvedilol may be given to a patient after a heart attack.

Carvedilol works by blocking beta receptors within the body so stress hormones cannot attach to them. Stress hormones attaching to beta receptors cause the heart to beat faster and harder. The joining of the beta receptors and stress hormones also raises blood pressure.

Prescription drugs like carvedilol can be used to treat congestive heart failure.
Prescription drugs like carvedilol can be used to treat congestive heart failure.

The drug successfully blocks alpha receptors within the body, which helps to relax the blood vessels in the arms and legs. The medication's function helps reduce the amount of oxygen and blood the heart requires to function properly. It also helps the heart contract less forcefully. By reducing the force of the heart's contractions, the heart does not have to work as hard, which is highly beneficial to anyone who has suffered heart damage from a heart attack.

Administering carvedilol to patients suffering from high blood pressure appears to lower both the systolic and diastolic pressures. Lowering the blood pressure by using the medication can help decrease the risks of long-term high blood pressure. The drug's benefits will only relieve the condition while being administered and is not a cure. Used in the treatment of congestive heart failure, the drug works by decreasing the sufferer's blood pressure, which enables the heart to function more efficiently. It can help to decrease the progression of the disease and improves the sufferer's ability to tolerate physical activity.

Administration of the drug following a heart attack helps treat heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction. Taking the medication on a daily basis has been shown to decrease the chance of death after a heart attack by 23 percent. The danger of another heart attack occurring was decreased by 40 percent by taking the drug. Consumers can opt to purchase carvedilol as a brand name or choose a generic form. Users should always avoid alcohol consumption when taking the medication, because alcohol causes the time-release actions of the drug to become accelerated.

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