What Is Carvedilol Used For?
Carvedilol for Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body. It does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way that it should. This can lead to symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Rapid weight gain (see Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure).
For people with mild to severe congestive heart failure, carvedilol decreases blood pressure and makes the heart more efficient, which allows more blood to be pumped from the heart. Because of these effects, carvedilol has been shown to:
- Decrease the progression of congestive heart failure
- Improve symptoms of congestive heart failure (including exercise tolerance)
- Decrease hospitalizations and loss of life from congestive heart failure.
This data comes from clinical studies where carvedilol was combined with other congestive heart failure medications, including ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and digoxin (Digitek®, Lanoxin®, Lanoxicap®).
Carvedilol does not cure congestive heart failure, however.
Carvedilol for Improving Survival Following a Heart Attack
A heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction) is a life-threatening event in which the supply of blood and oxygen to part of the heart is blocked for a long enough period of time that heart muscle dies. One of the complications of a heart attack is congestive heart failure. A heart attack can also damage the left side of the heart and cause it to pump blood less efficiently. This is called left ventricular dysfunction. Symptoms are not always present with this condition, however, and it can oftentimes lead to heart failure.
For people who develop heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction following a heart attack, taking carvedilol on a daily basis decreases the chance of death by 23 percent. It also decreased the risk of another heart attack by 40 percent.