Pharmacological characteristics of the stereoisomers of carvedilol

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1990;38 Suppl 2:S104-7. doi: 10.1007/BF01409475.


The racemic compound carvedilol possesses two complementary pharmacological effects, vasodilation and beta-blockade. The R- and S-enantiomers of carvedilol and the racemate were investigated with respect to the beta-blocking, vasodilating, and hypotensive actions. In agreement with results obtained with other beta-blockers, only the S-enantiomer of carvedilol exerts beta-blocking effects. In contrast, no substantial difference between the enantiomers could be seen with respect to alpha-blockade. The greater hypotensive activity of S-carvedilol may be attributed to beta-blockade, which inhibits counter-regulatory mechanisms provoked by vasodilation. From these results it is concluded that there is a rationale for using carvedilol as the racemate. Using the S-enantiomer would lead to relatively strong beta-blockade with only a weak vasodilating effect. The R-enantiomer alone would act only as a hypotensive agent without beta-blockade.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Aorta, Thoracic / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Carbazoles / pharmacology*
  • Carvedilol
  • Decerebrate State
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoproterenol / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Methoxamine / pharmacology
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Propanolamines / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / metabolism
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / metabolism
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Carbazoles
  • Propanolamines
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Carvedilol
  • Methoxamine
  • Isoproterenol