Prevalence rates of hypertension is high in the US, with 108 million adults estimated to have the condition. This accounts for a whopping 45% of the total adult population. In a related condition heart failure is reported in around 6.2 million adults. These conditions are treated with various medications that include alpha and beta blockers. Carvedilol is one among the different medications in use, as a racemic mixture for treating heart failure, hypertension and left ventricular dysfunction. It is typically used either as monotherapy or as combination medication. Here is a detailed look at the side effects of Carvedilol to help users manage possible effects better.
Drug overview and side effects of Carvedilol
Before we look at the side effects of Carvedilol, a little information about the medical conditions that the drug is intended to treat is not out of place. High blood pressure causes additional burden on the heart and the arteries, and when this is persistent or extended, it severely impacts functioning. As a result of damage to the blood vessels, organ damage is a possibility – for instance the heart, kidneys and brain are likely to be impaired. This increases the risk of stroke or failure of the affected organs. The aim of medication is to control the blood pressure levels and by extension, the damage to other organs.
By virtue of its dual action, Carvedilol reportedly works better as part of combination therapies, as this helps to reduce the side effects associated with monotherapy. The dual action of the medication is attributed to the beta adrenoceptor blocker and beta cum alph1-1 adrenoceptor blocker. The medication is also used to mitigate the possibility of congestive heart failure. Additionally, it is used for treating patients who have suffered a heart attack – by treating left ventricular dysfunction that results in the enlargement of the heart’s pumping chamber. This stiffening and enlargement results in the filling up of the lungs with blood.
Mechanism of action of Carvedilol
Here’s a look at the mechanism of action, before we look at the side effects of Carvedilol. The primary mechanism of action of the medication is the impact of the response on nerve impulses in specific sections of the body. This brings about a reduction in the requirement for blood and oxygen levels by the heart, and consequently, brings down the workload. This also results in helping regulate the heart beat to levels that are considered as healthy. The specific mechanism of action is beta-adrenergic antagonism and alpha-adrenergic antagonism. These effects reduce blood pressure levels and brings down tachycardia (heart rhythm disorder causing very high heart beat rate).
The medication is known to have a long duration of action, and this permits users to take the medication once a day. The broad therapeutic index makes it a safe option as far as the dosage is concerned. By virtue of the inhibition of beta adrenoceptors, the medication causes tachycardia, while the alpha-1adrenergic receptors have a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle that has a role in blood pressure. Patients who are prescribed higher doses of the medication enjoy the benefits of calcium channel blocking and antioxidant properties of the medication. As a result of the antioxidant property, the medication helps prevent the oxidation of LDL, and its eventual uptake into circulation.
Side effects of Carvedilol : different intensities and effects
The side effects of Carvedilol are of different intensities with effects that last long in some cases. Here is a look at the different adverse effects of the medication that have reported by patients and observed in studies conducted over the years. The side effects that are listed here are a compilation of the possible adverse effects. This effectively means that patients may or may not experience some of these effects. It is not necessary for a patient to experience all of these effects and in some cases, patients may not even experience any kind of side effects. Whenever certain side effects manifest, it may be necessary to treat the condition with medication or suitable remedial measures. Here is a look at the commonly reported side effects of Carvedilol.
Patients are likely to experience some form allergy as a result of the medication. In some instances, patients may experience a change in heartbeat rate or pattern. For instance, the patient may have a slower heartbeat. Individuals are also likely to experience shortness of breath, or feelings of dizziness when on the medication. A lightheaded sensation or a faint feeling could also be experienced by patients, while other have reported pain in the chest. This could be accompanied by some discomfort in the chest and a tight of heavy feeling in the chest. Overall, there could be mild or moderate swelling around the feet, the ankles or the lower limbs. Some pain could also be experienced along with these conditions and in some patients weight gain has also been observed and documented.
Side effects of Carvedilol that are not frequently occurring in nature
The following side effects are not known to occur frequently or in more patients but have been reported or observed in studies. The urine of patients may appear discolored or cloudy, and in some patients this may also be observed in stools. The color of the stool could change when on the medication, appearing black or tarry or with blood. Individuals are also likely to experience pain in the arms, in the back or the jaw, while others report pain in the knees, joints and the ankles. Patients could experience chills or break out into cold sweats, while some may experience some kind of confusion. Convulsions are also a possibility, while anxiety is reported in a section of patients on the medication. Other side effects of Carvedilol include a sudden loss of appetite, a dry mouth and slight changes in the appearance of the skin. Patients are also likely to end up with bouts of coughing that could be mild or moderate in nature.
The heart beat rate or pattern could also change to an irregular pattern or a racy heartbeat. The amount of urine typically passed by an individual may reduce as a result of the medication in addition to the discoloration. Patients have reported feeling depressed, while others experience the feelings of dizziness or light-hearted feeling when arising from a resting position. Other possible side effects of Carvedilol include fever that is not attributed to other reasons, while some patients also have symptoms that are similar to flu. The skin of patients on the medication could be dry and flushed in appearance, while the odor could be distinct and abnormal with a fruit like flavor. A sudden throbbing pain in the head cannot be ruled out, which could sometimes be severe in nature. Another possible outcome of the medication is an abnormal inability to speak up, while others have reported an increase in appetite or thirst. As mentioned above, in the mechanism of action, the medication has an impact on the cholesterol uptake, and one of the possible adverse effects is an increase in cholesterol levels.
Side effects of Carvedilol that require attention include the sudden loss of consciousness in patients, and the onset of depression. While loss of appetite or an increased appetite can be handled relatively easily, some conditions require greater care. For instance, the increase in blood pressure levels, nightmares, or changes in pattern or rate of heartbeat require medical attention. Speech could be slurred in patients when on the medication, while some are known to experience seizures. Breathing could sometimes be labored and accompanied by a rattling noise. Feelings of nervousness are also observed in patients on long term medication, while the pounding in the ears or the numb sensation in the limb extremities such as hands, legs and feet are also attributed to long term medication. Stomach ache and sweating are some of the other side effects that may require some kind of care or remedy to resolve or treat.
Side effects of Carvedilol that may not require specific attention
There are side effects of Carvedilol that do not require any special treatment. For instance, commonly reported side effects are known to resolve naturally, especially when the condition is not intense. Mild moderate conditions often do not require treatment. Additionally, there are report of the medication causing side effects, which however, have not been specifically attributed to Carvedilol. These effects could be the result of other conditions and is therefore the subject of additional study to determine the exact reason. For instance, swelling of the glands, or wheezing are some of the conditions that have been reported as side effects.
Dealing with toxic overdose
There is a possibility of individuals taking a dosage that exceeds the prescribed or the safe limits. While the drug has a safe therapeutic index, there are limits to the dosage that can be taken and this could result in possible adverse effects. The commonly observed adverse side effects of carvedilol overdose include hypotension, bradycardia, and possible cardiac arrest. Patients may experience cardiogenic shock and cardiac insufficiency as a result of toxic overdose. The suggested measures to treat the condition include placing he patient in a supine position, and the administration of atropine to treat bradycardia and glucagon. This is typically followed up by measures that are aimed at symptomatically treating the condition for assisting cardiovascular function.
It is essential to practice safe methods while taking the medication. For instance, the recommended dosage and the duration of taking the medication needs to be followed diligently., Similarly, whenever the medication is used as combination therapy, the advice of the treating specialist has to be followed. Individuals who experience side effects of Carvedilol that are either serious or persistent in nature are to seek assistance at the earliest.