Clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of carvedilol

Clin Pharmacokinet. 1994 May;26(5):335-46. doi: 10.2165/00003088-199426050-00002.


Carvedilol is an arylethanolamine that is a racemic mixture of 2 enantiomers. The S-(-)-enantiomer has beta-adrenoceptor blocking activity, while the racemate also has alpha 1-receptor blocking activity due to the activity of the R-(+)-enantiomer. The drug is rapidly absorbed and undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver. It reaches a peak concentration 1 to 2 hours postdose and has an elimination half-life of about 4 to 7 hours. Absorption is delayed by food. The drug is highly lipophilic and is highly protein bound. The drug is metabolised by the liver, with some metabolites having biological activity. The pharmacokinetic profile is not altered in the elderly or in patients with renal disease. However, bioavailability of the oral medication is greatly increased in patients with liver disease. Carvedilol lowers blood pressure as a result of its beta-blocking and vasodilatory activity. The reduction in blood pressure is similar to that achieved with other antihypertensive drugs, and there are no adverse effects on renal or cerebral blood flow. Carvedilol has been used in small numbers of patients with cardiac failure. It reduces left ventricular hypertrophy and has no significant adverse metabolic effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacokinetics
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacokinetics
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Carbazoles / pharmacokinetics*
  • Carbazoles / pharmacology
  • Carbazoles / therapeutic use
  • Carvedilol
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Propanolamines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Propanolamines / pharmacology
  • Propanolamines / therapeutic use
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Carbazoles
  • Propanolamines
  • Carvedilol