Carvedilol Side Effects in Elderly: You should know

Carvedilol is a medication that is used in the treatment of left ventricular dysfunction, hypertension, and heart failure. It is also available in its generic form. Carvedilol side effects in elderly need to be understood by caretakers to be aware of what to expect.

The most common side effects include tiredness, weakness, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, numbness, vision changes, dry eyes, cough, joint pain, and headache.

There are more severe side effects such as severe skin reaction, inability to control the bladder, difficulty in swallowing, short breath, chest pain, irregular or slow heartbeats, and feeling faint. Because of the physical condition of older people, the side effects may appear more pronounced. It is always important to alert a health provider when you notice any of the side effects.

The drug is available in different strengths. These are 3.125 mg, 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25mg tablets. This medication should be taken with food. Because of the serious side effects surrounding this drug, it should be taken with a lot of precaution.

Understanding the kind of impairments that an elderly person may have should be considered before the drug is administered. It can also interact with other drugs and so one need to tell a doctor if they are using any other medication before treatment commences.

What is Carvedilol?

Carvedilol is a drug sold under many different brand names and it is a medication used in treating of severe or mild congestive heart failure and dysfunction caused by a heart attack in people regarded to be stable.

The drug is a third generation beta-blocker. It, therefore, works by blocking beta-receptors in cells, such as the heart muscle and this, in turn, makes the cells relax and reduces the responsiveness to the stress hormones.

Alpha-receptors are also blocked. These are found within blood vessels, which causes the blood vessels to relax and dilate. This is how vascular resistance and blood pressure are lowered.

This is a drug that has been used over two decades now and it is being approved by FDA. For people who have CHF, this drug reduces hospitalizations and mortality.

Carvedilol has a positive effect when used long-term on CFC patients who are clinically stable even though this is not well understood. The effect leads to improvement and remodeling of the heart in terms of function and structure.

The drug can be indicated to treat hypertension and can reduce hospitalizations and mortality in some people after a heart attack. The drug can be used with other drugs or on its own.

What is Carvedilol used for?

As a beta-blocker, Carvedilol affects circulation and the operation of the heart. It has multi-purposes including treatment of heart failure as wells as high blood pressure.

The medication should not be used by people who are asthmatic, have bronchitis, liver disease, emphysema, heart conditions such as heart block, slow heart rate, and sick sinus syndrome. The only time the medication can be used on people with a slow heart rate is if they are using a pacemaker.

You should not use it with alcohol. You should also avoid anything that has alcohol, including medicines.

How does Carvedilol work?

Carvedilol blocks some natural substances action within the body. The substances include epinephrine. They are found on the blood vessels and heart. Because of the effect, the heart rate, strain imposed on the heart and blood pressures are lowered. It is a drug within the alpha and beta-blockers group.

Other names for Carvedilol

Carvedilol comes with different brand names and they include Coreg CR and Coreg. It is a drug that is closely related to Lenetol (Trandate, Normodyne).

Carvedilol side effects in elderly

Carvedilol side effects in elderly

There are many issues that affect the elderly and most of them are health-related. Some of the health issues that affect the elderly have to do with the normal aging process and therefore they may affect the elderly more than any other age group. These include dysfunction after a heart attack, hypertension, and heart failure.

Like any other drug, there are many side effects associated with the drug. Because of the condition of the elderly, it is important to know all the side effects that could occur to keep an eye open especially for caregivers. The side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • A headache
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Tingling sensation or numbness
  • Vision changes
  • Dry eyes
  • Cough
  • Joint pain

Some more serious side effects that could happen include:

  • Severe skin reactions
  • Inability to control the bladder, difficulty swallowing
  • Short breath
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or slow heartbeats
  • Feeling faint
  • A rapid increase in weight, swelling
  • Numbness in toes and fingers
  • Wheezing, dry cough, tightness in the chest, breathing problems
  • High blood sugar that can be presented by an increase in thirst and urination, weight loss, dry skin, Fruity breath, dry mouth, and hunger.

This drug is not recommended for people dealing with hepatic impairment. In addition, the drug can easily interact with different allergy treatments, especially in persons who are doing allergy skin testing.

The drugs that it can interact with include narcotics, psychiatric disorder medicines, drugs that treat or prevent vomiting and nausea, MAO inhibitors, medicines for the management of HIV and AIDS, heart rhythm medications, blood pressure or heart medications, antidepressants, rifampin, oral diabetes medications. Insulin, fluconazole, cyclosporine, and cimetidine.

Because of this long list, it is important to inform your doctor regarding all supplements and medications that you are currently using. Serious effects have been treated when therapy with the drugs was discontinued abruptly.

It is also important to note that everyone is different in his or her own way and therefore they may present other side effects. You need to seek immediate medical help when an elderly person presents any of the side effects above especially when they are very severe.

Carvedilol side effects reviews

Carvedilol 6.25 mg side effects

There are many undesirable effects that can occur once you use the Carvedilol 6.25 mg. It is important to note that reactions are not really dose-dependent with an exception of bradycardia, abnormal vision, and dizziness.

You should also note that the adverse reactions that are associated with the use of the drug are quite similar regardless of the indications. You could get UTI, upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia.

Allergic reactions or hypersensitivity, loss of control of the blood glucose, especially in patients who already have diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, weight increase, depression, sleep disorders and confusion, headache, dizziness, paresthesia, syncope, presyncope, eye irritation, lacrimation decrease, visual impairment, cardiac failure, fluid overload, hypervolemia, edema, bradycardia, angina pectoris, and atrioventricular block.

Some side effects can be severe while others can be mild. It all depends on the individual and the underlying issues.

Carvedilol 3.125 mg side effects

The side effects that could occur from using this drug include sleep disorders, muscular weakness, lightheadedness, feeling faint, blurred vision, fainting, especially in the elderly, numbness or tingling in feet and hands, chest pain, dermatitis, severe itching, frequent urination, skin lesions, itchy rash, thrombocytopenia, constipation, flu-like symptoms, dry mouth, urinary incontinence.

Carvedilol 12.5 mg side effects

The side effects are similar to other dosages. They include a headache, dizziness, paraesthesia, syncope, cardiac failure, edema, and angina pectoris.

Infections and infestations, hypotension, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, dry mouth, nasal congestion, asthma, skin reactions, Steven Johnson syndrome, pain, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and fatigue.

Some of the side effects occur when the treatment is initiated.

Carvedilol 25 mg side effects

The side effects include itchy skin, dry eyes, weight gain, a slow heart rate, weakness, high blood sugar, diarrhea, low blood pressure, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, and headache. Some of these effects may be visible when the dose begins but may go away as your body is accustomed to the medication.

Allergic reactions like hives, swelling of the tongue, lips, and face, hives, and skin rash are common. Vomiting, dark urine, chest pain, swollen arms, ankles, or legs, weight gain, eye issues, skin yellowing or yellowing of eye whites, and inability to pass urine.

Carvedilol interactions

It is possible for Carvedilol to interact with different herbs, medications, and herbs that one may be using. It is important to have all medications managed by a doctor very carefully. If you are taking something and you are worried that it might interact with Carvedilol, then you should discuss it with your doctor.

It is possible you eliminate the possibility of interactions by getting prescriptions from the same place. This is the only way that the pharmacist can check the possibilities of interactions.

There are many types of drugs that can interact with Carvedilol and they include:

1. Heart rhythm drugs

There are some drugs when taken with Carvedilol can cause some side effects that can be very severe. Such combination can lower the blood pressure and the heart rate. It can also make a heart blockage even worse.

The doctor needs to monitor such a patient care or he can make an adjustment of the drugs if they are both needed at the same time. Drugs in this category include disopyramide, digoxin, quinidine, bretylium, amiodarone, sotalol, procainamide, propafenone, moricizine, flecainide, and encainide.

2. Blood pressure drugs

Heart rate and blood pressure can be lowered when Carvedilol is used with clonidine. If you have to switch from one to the next, it should be done slowly and it is something that only a doctor can handle.

When this is being done, your heart rate and blood pressure need to be monitored closely. When you need to stop treatment from both drugs, Carvedilol is stopped first, followed by clonidine some days later.

3. Beta-blockers

You should not use Carvedilol with any other beta-blocker. The combination can cause a lowered heart rate as well as blood pressure. Beta-blockers include propanol, metoprolol, bisoprolol, atenolol, and acebutolol.

4. Calcium channel blockers

If you need to take these blockers while using Carvedilol, the doctor has to monitor your heart rhythm and pressure. Some of the drugs include Verapamil and Diltiazem.

5. Diabetes drugs

There are some diabetes drugs when used with Carvedilol actually end up lowering the blood sugars even further. If they have to be used at the same time, one has to keep the blood sugar monitored on a regular basis; some of the drugs include oral diabetes drugs and insulin.

6. Drugs for transplant rejection

Such drugs include cyclosporine. Using it together with Carvedilol actually increases cyclosporine levels within the body. A doctor has to keep monitoring the patient. Lowering the dosage could also be recommended.


The drug comes with a number of warnings. They include:

Allergy warnings: if you get an allergic reaction using the drug, stop immediately and seek medical help. Things could get fatal.

If you have ever had allergic reactions associated with different allergens, you should expect the same if you use beta-blockers. It is important to tell the doctor of any allergies that you may have.

Alcohol: when taking this medication, or any other medication, you should avoid alcohol. This is because alcohol can reduce blood pressure to below normal levels, which can be serious.

Considerations that the doctor needs to make


Senior Living HelpThe doctor needs to make Special considerations in an elderly person with other underlying issues. Getting old means dealing with different kinds of problems that are age-related.

If an elderly person has kidney problems, then the doctor needs to keep them monitored during the period of the treatment, it may be necessary to administer a lower dose or stop it altogether if the functioning of the kidney is affected badly.

If an elderly person is dealing with low heart rate or low blood pressure; or if they have fluid retention, then a low dose should be given at first and then increased slowly.

It is always important to maintain a low dose if at all you are not able to handle the higher dosages. The doctor needs to keep the patient closely monitored every time the dose is increased.

Symptoms associated with overdose

When taken in large quantities, this drug can actually cause the heart to stop altogether. There are overdose symptoms associated with Carvedilol and they include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Low heart rate or low blood pressure

If you suspect an overdose has occurred, you should contact a poison control center or a doctor. When the symptoms presented are severe, you should call the emergency room immediately.

Missing a dose

If you happen to miss a dose, you should take it as soon as possible. If it is just about time for the next dose, only take a single dose. Never try to take Carvedilol in two doses at the same time. This is because you could end up with some serious side effects.

If your symptoms improve as you are taking this medication, it means that it is actually working well.

Important things to note

Carvedilol should always be taken with food. This usually reduces the side effects that could occur. The tablets can also be crushed if the patient is unable to swallow them as they are.

You may also find that most of the pharmacies actually stock this drug generic version. However, the brand name version is not usually stocked and so you need to contact the pharmacists first to confirm whether it is available.

You should avoid storing the medication in damp or moist areas like the bathroom. The temperatures should also be below 30 degrees C. The prescription can be refilled without necessarily needing any new prescription. The doctor should indicate how many refills are authorized when they write the prescription.


You should never worry about traveling with this medication. It is essential that you have your medication at all times and when you have to fly, keep it in the carry on bag. The best thing is that the x-ray machines used in the airports do not really hurt the medication.

The staff may need to see the medication label to know the name of the pharmacy where it was bought. It is therefore important to have the original box as you travel.

If you have to use your car, avoid putting the medicine in the glove compartment and avoid leaving it in our car. This is especially when the weather is very cold or very hot.

Clinical monitoring

When you are using Carvedilol, the doctor is supposed to check your health. The doctor needs to check your cholesterol levels, potassium levels, liver function, blood sugar in case a person has diabetes, your weight, the heart rate, and the blood pressure.


There are different drugs that can be used in the treatment of your condition, some may be more suitable than the others. It is important to speak to a doctor regarding the alternatives that are available to you. However, it is not wise to change the medication on your own.

You should always consult a doctor if the medication that prescribed is having an adverse effect on you so that they can change it to an appropriate one. It is also important to appreciate the fact that the issues that are treated by Carvedilol are actually very serious and should not be taken lightly.


Carvedilol has serious side effects and should only be taken if prescribed. Due to the seriousness of the conditions that it handles, the medication should not be skipped. The effects on elderly persons can be a bit more pronounced than other age groups. This is usually because of the physical conditions and health issues that people in this age group have to deal with.

If you are a caregiver taking care of an elderly person, you should ensure that they are fed before they take this medication to avoid major side effects. Also, get them monitored during the time that they have to use it. Taking them to a doctor regularly can avert many dangerous things. It is essential to have different things checked from time to time.

It is important to ensure that the elderly person does not miss a dose and that it is taken at the right time every day. This can help them get better quickly so that they can resume the normal routine. Take the elderly person to the hospital if any side effects are noted. It is important to know that some of these can be fatal if they go unchecked.

Written By
Kate Mallord is a health blogger. In the year 1988, She graduated from the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. Kate is an exemplary doctor. She has always devoted herself to caring for older adult patients. Read More