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Carvedilol dosage, forms, and strengths

Carvedilol is a generic beta blocker prescription medication used to treat congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, and it can also help reduce the risk of death after a heart attack.

Carvedilol forms and strengths | For adults | For children | Carvedilol dosage restrictions | Carvedilol for pets | How to take carvedilol | FAQs

Carvedilol is a generic prescription medication that’s sold under the brand names Coreg and Coreg CR. It’s a beta-blocker that’s used to treat congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, and it can also help reduce the risk of death after a heart attack. Carvedilol is typically taken by mouth as a tablet twice per day in dosage strengths that range from 3.125 to 25 mg. It can also be taken as an extended-release capsule once per day in dosage strengths ranging from 10 to 80 mg.    

Related: What is Carvedilol?

Carvedilol forms and strengths

  • Tablets: 3.125 mg, 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, 25 mg
  • Extended-release capsules: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg

Carvedilol dosage for adults

The exact amount of carvedilol that someone will need to take will vary based on their medical condition. Carvedilol should be taken by mouth with food. The immediate-release (IR) tablets should be divided into two doses per day and the extended-release (ER) tablets should be taken once daily. The following table lists the recommended doses of carvedilol for adults.  

Carvedilol dosage chart
Indication Starting dosage Standard dosage Maximum dosage
Hypertension (high blood pressure)  IR: 3.125 mg twice per day 

ER: 10 mg once per day

IR: 12.5 mg twice per day 

ER: 40 mg once per day

IR: 25 mg twice per day or 50 mg total per day

ER: 80 mg once per day

Heart failure IR: 3.125 mg divided and taken twice per day 

10 mg taken once per day 

IR: 12.5 mg twice per day 

ER: 40 mg once per day

IR: 25 mg twice per day or 50 mg total per day

ER: 80 mg once per day 

Left ventricular dysfunction following a heart attack IR: 3.125 twice per day 

ER: 20 mg once per day 

IR: 6.25 mg twice per day 

ER: 40 mg once per day 

IR: 12.5 mg twice per day or 25 mg total per day

ER: 80 mg taken once per day  

Carvedilol dosage for hypertension 

Carvedilol is commonly used to treat high blood pressure because it helps lower heart rate and overall strain on the heart. It does this by blocking the action of certain chemicals in the body, like epinephrine.  

The standard dose of carvedilol for high blood pressure is 25 mg divided and taken twice per day if taking an immediate-release tablet, and 40 mg taken once per day if taking an extended-release capsule. The maximum doses of carvedilol for hypertension are 50 mg for the immediate-release tablets and 80 mg for the extended-release capsules.  

Carvedilol dosage for heart failure

Carvedilol is used to treat heart failure because it blocks the receptors of epinephrine and norepinephrine in the nervous system. By doing this, it causes arteries and blood vessels to relax and blood pressure to lower, both of which help reduce how hard the heart has to work. 

The standard dose of carvedilol for treating heart failure is 25 mg divided and taken twice per day if taking an immediate-release tablet and 40 mg taken once per day if taking an extended-release capsule. The maximum doses of carvedilol for heart failure are 50 mg for the immediate-release tablets and 80 mg for extended-release capsules.    

Carvedilol dosage for left ventricular dysfunction 

Left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) is a condition where the left ventricle of the heart is defective or damaged, which can affect how well the heart pumps blood. Carvedilol helps slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, which is why it can be helpful for people with LVD. It’s commonly prescribed for people with LVD after they’ve had a heart attack (myocardial infarction).  

The standard dose of carvedilol for LVD is 12.5 mg divided  and taken twice per day for the immediate-release tablet and 40 mg taken once per day for the extended-release capsule. The maximum doses of carvedilol for LVD are 25 mg for the immediate-release tablets and 80 mg for the extended-release capsules.  

Carvedilol dosage for children

Carvedilol has been approved by the FDA for use among children with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. Carvedilol is only available in an immediate-release tablet form for children. Here are the dosing guidelines for pediatric patients:  

  • Standard carvedilol dosage for children ages 1-23 months: 0.05 mg/kg/day divided and given twice per day with food. 
  • Maximum carvedilol dosage for children ages 1-23 months: 3 mg/kg/day divided and given twice per day with food. 
  • Standard carvedilol dosage for children ages 2-11 years: 0.05 mg/kg/day divided and given twice per day with food.
  • Maximum carvedilol dosage for children ages 2-11 years: 2 mg/kg/day divided and given twice per day with food.
  • Standard carvedilol dosage for children 12 years and older: 0.05 mg/kg/day divided and given twice per day with food.
  • Maximum carvedilol dosage for children 12 years and older: 50 mg/kg/day divided and given twice per day with food.  

Carvedilol dosage restrictions 

Carvedilol isn’t meant to be taken by everyone with high blood pressure, heart failure, or LVD. It shouldn’t be taken by people who have the following conditions: 

  • Severe heart failure that requires hospitalization
  • Decompensated heart failure requiring IV inotropic medication 
  • Severe hepatic impairment 
  • Prinzmetal’s variant angina 
  • Pheochromocytoma 
  • Renal impairment 
  • Bronchial asthma 
  • Heart blocks 
  • Sick sinus syndrome without a permanent pacemaker 
  • Emphysema 
  • Severe bradycardia 
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Cardiogenic shock

The use of carvedilol among geriatric patients has been proven to be safe and effective. It’s also approved for pediatric patients in much smaller doses that range from 0.05 mg/kg/day to 50 mg/kg/day.  

Pregnant women are advised to take carvedilol with caution because they have an increased risk of experiencing intrauterine growth restriction, hypotension, and hypoglycemia, especially in the second and third trimesters. It’s not yet known whether or not carvedilol passes into breast milk, so it’s always a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional about whether or not it’s safe to take while breastfeeding. 

Carvedilol dosage for pets

Carvedilol is sometimes used by veterinarians to treat animals with high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Studies show that carvedilol can help decrease heart rate, renal function, and blood pressure in dogs. The amount of carvedilol that an animal needs to take will vary depending on its species and medical condition, so it’s best to speak with a veterinarian about what dosage strength is best for a pet. Dosage strengths could range from less than 1 mg to up to 12 mg or higher.   

How to take carvedilol

Learning how to take carvedilol properly is important to make sure it’s as effective as possible. Here’s how to make sure you’re taking it as safely as possible to get the best results:  

  • Take the medication as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • It’s best to take this medicine with food or milk. 
  • Extended-release capsule instructions: Take the capsule in the morning with food. Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush or chew it. If you cannot swallow the capsule, you may open it and sprinkle the medicine over a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the applesauce right away.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.

Carvedilol dosage FAQs

How long does it take carvedilol to work?

It can take up to seven to 14 days to see the blood pressure lowering effects of carvedilol. Some external factors may affect how well carvedilol works, such as a patient’s weight, age, level of physical activity, diet, and use of other medications. Everyone will react to the medication differently, so it’s important to keep that in mind when starting carvedilol. 

How long does carvedilol stay in your system?

The half-life of carvedilol is six to 10 hours, which is how long it takes for half of the medication to leave the body. It would take about 30-50 hours for a dose of carvedilol to be completely eliminated from the body. 

What happens if I miss a dose of carvedilol?

If you miss a dose of carvedilol, take your missed dose as soon as you can. If it’s almost time to take your next dose by the time you remember, then wait until your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. Overdosing on carvedilol can cause shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, low blood sugar levels, fainting, and even seizures. 

How do I stop taking carvedilol?

Abrupt discontinuation of carvedilol may cause serious side effects like chest pain (angina) and heart attacks, especially for people with heart disease. Carvedilol also masks some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and can cause a resurgence or worsening of these symptoms (thyroid storm) if it’s abruptly discontinued. 

If experiencing adverse reactions like fluid retention, edema, dry eyes, weight gain, or other side effects after taking carvedilol, it’s best to talk with a healthcare provider and ask to be tapered off of it. This will help avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor can give you recommendations for other beta-adrenergic blocking agents that might be able to treat your hypertension or chronic heart failure, such as bisoprolol, metoprolol succinate, or clonidine.        

What is the maximum dosage for carvedilol?

The maximum dosage of carvedilol will vary depending on the medical condition it’s being prescribed to treat: 

  • Hypertension: 50 mg (IR tablet); 80 mg (ER capsule) 
  • Heart failure: 50 mg (IR tablet); 80 mg (ER capsule) 
  • Left ventricular dysfunction following a heart attack: 25 mg (IR tablet); 80 mg (ER capsule) 

What interacts with carvedilol?

Food interacts with carvedilol by slowing down its absorption in the body. It’s absorbed in the bloodstream by about one to two hours slower if taken with food compared to when taken without food. Taking carvedilol with food will also help prevent orthostatic hypotension, which is the occurrence of low blood pressure when rising from a sitting or sleeping position.

There are some medications that also affect how carvedilol is absorbed in the body. Hypotensive agents, cyclosporine, digoxin, calcium channel blockers, insulin or oral hypoglycemics, verapamil, diltiazem, amiodarone, and CYP2D6 inhibitors and poor metabolizers can all interfere with carvedilol and shouldn’t be taken with it because of the potential for drug interactions.   

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