One of the most popular beta blockers being prescribed these days is carvedilol (Coreg). Even though this class of medication is no longer perceived by most cardiology experts as appropriate first-line treatment for high blood pressure, many prescribers still think this is good practice. We won’t dabble our toes in that debate for this post. You can read more about this beta blocker controversy in our book, Best Choices from The People’s Pharmacy.
What you will discover here, however, is that a lot of people have complained about some formulations of generic Coreg. Below are just a few stories we have received:
“I have been taking 25 mg of Coreg twice daily for nearly 4 years (for congestive heart failure and high blood pressure)
“Recently, my pharmacy mail order service substituted the generic form, carvedilol, in lieu of the brand-name medication. While initially pleased at the lower cost, after four or five days of feeling fatigued and having an elevated blood pressure (an increase of 25-35/15-25 mmHg) it dawned on me that perhaps the change was a consequence of using the generic version.
“I had a few of the brand name Coreg left and began taking those; after a day or two, my symptoms improved and the blood pressure returned to its usual level. A week later, I tried the generic again, and as before, the results were the same (an elevated BP and fatigue).”

D.D.H.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“My wife has been taking Coreg (25 mg) for 10 years and doing well. Last week she was advised that a generic version of the drug was available. At the advice of the pharmacist who insisted that the ingredients were the same since FDA approval…Yada, Yada Yada, she went for the generic.
“Within 5 days, her blood pressure went from a 10-year average of 135/80 to 155/96, she had sore throat, pains in extremities, tiredness, feelings of irritation…(several of the side effects for carvedilol, which she had never had before).
“We went to the pharmacy and insisted on Coreg. Within 24 hours of taking name brand Carvedilol-Coreg, symptoms began to subside with a major improvement in the first day.”

D.A.S.
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“I am not sure what is going on–for 2 years I took carvedilol generic from Canada, 3.125 twice a day, supposedly made in the UK. I switched over to carvedilol from a big box U.S. discount drugstore–there were blue pills and white pills in the same container, supposedly all 3.125. Turns out they were both 3.125 AND 6.2 in the same bottle .
“I am very sensitive to beta blockers and the overdose brought on symptoms of heart failure–fluid in lungs, problems climbing stairs, heaviness in chest. After about 2 weeks I called the pharmacy and asked about the colors, since I couldn’t think of any other factor, found out the mistake, and they supplied more, supposed to be the 3.125 but I still am symptomatic, though slightly less so.
“I am now wondering if others have had problems with the generic carvedilol. The price is great, but the symptoms suck.”

Jane
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Hi. I have been on Lisinipril for going on month and half -5mgs. And I take Carvedilol 25mg twice a day. I am not sure which one is the culprit, but I already had suffered from a seasonal asthma, but now it is full blown and constantly clearing my throat and have clear phlegm. And a cough that makes people afraid.! ha. The throat clearing is pretty much constant, and the cough can randomly come up. Night is worse. My “asthma” symptoms have increased 100% and I am afraid to go anywhere without my inhaler, which doesn’t work that well anymore.
“So in reference to your post, I can relate to the breathing problems. I don’t know which one to go off of as I have been a guinea pig for quite awhile now and have tried a lot of different medicines. I would watch the Diovan for swelling as it is known to cause edema. And if anyone knows something that is similar to these 2 medicines that don’t cause breathing problems —- PLEASE let me know!! I believe the Lisinipril is taking the asthma over the top, so if someone has a similar but less invasive alternative, please let me know.”

S.H.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
“My Medicare Plan D company insisted they would only fill a brand name drug with a generic. The drug I have taken for over 6 years is Coreg, for blood pressure. The generic they substituted in May this year was carvedilol, made by Dr. Reddy’s LA…after 7 days of taking this drug I did not feel well and during a routine exam my GP commented on my blood pressure being elevated very high, and upon further examination found I also had arrythmia.
“He did a quick EKG and put me on a heart monitor for 24 hours. I also got an emergency prescription for the brand drug and started taking that day…by the next day my blood pressure was back to almost normal and the arrythmia was gone…and to this day, almost 2 weeks later the insurance company, RXAmerica is still fighting to not pay for this drug. I paid 100% cost of this drug and since I cannot change Plan D companies until the end of the year, I am stuck with a very expensive drug.”

Ira K.
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“I was first given a Beta Blocker [BB] in 1987 for a new onset of HBP [high blood pressure]. Within months I developed an irritation (burning, itching, stinging, aching) in my arms that became so intense I was unable to sleep. I also experienced extreme fatigue and was switched to an ACE Inhibitor in 1990 which caused an extreme cough.
“In 1996 I was switched to a Calcium Channel Blocker and had some side effects and then a new doctor changed me back to a BB in 2010 and I began experiencing very cold hands and feet that developed into full blown Raynaud’s of the hands as well as HBP, fast & irregular pulse.
“In 2011 my next doctor tried me on several different HBP medicines but their side effects weren’t tolerable and the fast and irregular pulse persisted so in early 2012 she put me on Carvedilol. The side effects from this drug were worse than any I had experienced before . . . nausea, gas, dizziness, fatigue, increased Raynaud’s effect, insomnia, joint pain, night sweats and my legs and feet were aching, tingling, cold, going to sleep and it felt like electrical currents running up from my feet into the legs. I had several instances of my pulse and blood pressure going so high that I had to go to the emergency room and, of course, they insisted I spend the night for observation and numerous tests.
“After a catherization, ultrasounds, and several other tests, in August of 2012 my new cardiologist decided to take me off everything and see how it went. This morning my blood pressure was 118/80 with a pulse of 76. I do still have an instance of the blood pressure and pulse spiking for about 15 minutes periodically, but then it comes right back down. I no longer am experiencing the fatigue and dizziness and nausea that was always present when on the beta blockers.
“Unfortunately, the Raynaud’s in the hands and peripheral neuropathy in the legs and feet persist although they seem to be a little better. Hopefully, time will allow them to get back to normal. These are dangerous drugs that should be prescribed with great care. . . and I have not once had a doctor that would admit that any drug he/she prescribed could cause the side effects that I’ve said I was having.”

R.A.
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++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

These are just some of the stories reported on our website. Many of the side effects that have been reported above with carvedilol are indeed linked to this drug. Here is a list of common and/or serious complications associated with this beta blocker.
No one should EVER stop a beta blocker suddenly. It can cause angina or even a heart attack if it is discontinued abruptly. Please discuss any problems you might be experiencing (with a generic formulation or the brand name Coreg) with your physician and pharmacist to find the best path forward:
CARVEDILOL (COREG) SIDE EFFECTS:
• Dizziness, fatigue, unsteadiness upon standing suddenly
• Digestive upset, diarrhea, nausea,
• Slow heart rate, low blood pressure
• Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, asthma, fluid in lungs
• Elevated blood sugar, diabetes
• Elevated cholesterol levels
• Headache
• Arthritis, joint pain
• Cold hands or feet, Raynaud’s syndrome
• Weight gain, fluid retention, chest pain
• Visual changes, blurry vision
• Liver or kidney changes
• Skin rash (requires immediate medical attention!)
• Blood disorders

Please report any side effects to your doctor promptly. Share your own experience with carvedilol below. To learn more about beta blockers and other ways to control blood pressure you may find our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment of value or to drill deeper, check out our book, Best Choices from The People’s Pharmacy.

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  1. Leah V
    Reply

    I can’t believe that I have the same issues from Carvedilol
    from the last comment. I have all of them and I thought it was me.
    I developed an annoying cough, allergies got worse, body aches all over,
    nausea, get light headed, I am so miserable. Very tired no ambition.
    I am very drug sensitve and the filler or binder they are using in the generic is making me sick. I need to use the Original formula.

  2. SM
    Reply

    Was on metoprolol years ago to see if it would eliminate my headaches; it did not and I stopped. Years later, I was put back on it for hypertension and all was well with the added benefit of lowering my pulse, which had a tendency to be on the more rapid side.
    After approximately, 12 yrs I noticed hair loss. The Dr ignored my complaints and finally mid 2013 I demanded a change. I was weaned off metoprolol but remained on Norvasc. After a few weeks the rapid pulse was too much to tolerate. I strongly suspect 1 of 2 things: 1) either you have to go through a long period before the body adjusts or 2) long term use really screws up the body!
    Either way, I was then given Bystolic. Within a week I developed a cough which I attributed to a post nasal drip; wrong. It was the Bystolic. The cough became SO annoying and then my chest started bothering me. I went back to the Dr. who said “well, make up your mind” (meaning hair loss or BP and pulse control).
    He put me on Coureg (first 3.125 mg. 2x day and then 10 mg timed release). Approximately 2 weeks in, I noticed a cough. I get a tickle like feeling in my chest. I complained and was advised to wait it out and see if my body adjusts. Well it’s 2 months later and I’m miserable at times. The cough is annoying and the chest discomfort frightens me!
    What the heck causes this? Is there a beta blocker out there that doesn’t cause it and doesn’t cause hair loss? Must I be willing to be bald and go back on metoprolol?

  3. DOUG
    Reply

    It was discovered in July that I had congestive heart failure. I was born with one kidney and after 8 days in the cardiac ward my kidney functions were not correct for the op. so… I was released. after 2 days my appendix burst! I am recuperating for many weeks now and I have been given carvedilol. it has been a nightmare of side effects! I even have a purplish rash on my arms. I called my primary and they told me to go back on it or I could have a massive heart attack. I am willing to take the risk and stop the carvedilol again. I am getting married in peru next month and I am wondering if I can fly there. I have never felt so sick as with carvedilol!

  4. C.J.
    Reply

    I had quadruple heart bypass May 15, 2013. I was started on Carvedilol July 3rd, as it was supposed to be the best for bypass recovery. Nothing happened til he doubled the amount on the 9th of July (to a mere 6.25 mg twice daily). By the day after he doubled the dose the reaction began to come on with a vengeance! I was coughing nearly constantly .. dry mostly non-productive except for blood, my rib cage and healing sternum ached so bad at times, fatigue, and shortness of breath, were the worst side effects I had.
    I had a chest x-ray, thinking it was bronchitis, but it was clear. I went to the pulmonologist, who put me on Symbicort to ‘soothe my lungs’, thinking it was just post surgery stuff. It continued to get worse, so I saw my primary this past Tues. When the cough got really bad at the beginning, I’d looked up the reactions and knew I could put another drug on my list of meds I can’t take .. I’d told my doc back then, but he said no way.
    When he actually saw and heard how bad I was he started me on added treatments and said if nothing helped by today (Sun.), to stop the Carvedilol, since he couldn’t come up with anything else. He said he really didn’t see how it could be that since he’d not had anyone in 13 yrs of practice have this kind of reaction. I actually stopped the Carvedilol Fri. and at first it didn’t seem like anything was changing. I just got up from my 3rd nap today and don’t feel as wiped out as I have been. I should start feeling better a little more every day now. None of what the docs had me doing was going to make much difference as long as I was taking the Carvedilol, plus it was greatly interfering with my cardiac rehab.
    I have to be my own best advocate. I can read and learn about ‘conditions’ I’ve been diagnosed with. I can read about drugs my docs want me to take .. I can ask questions .. I have a right to say yes or no, and I have a right to ask for a second opinion, if something doesn’t ‘feel’ right. I DON’T have to blindly follow anyone through a medical maze, just because he/she says that’s what I should do.

  5. Betty F.
    Reply

    A symptom above is COLD HANDS AND FEET. I went through the ice ICE cold feet, and absolutely nothing would stop the pain from the ICE cold feet. Then I realized that my ice cold feet were warm to the touch. WARM to the touch! That is not ‘cold feet!’ and yet the doctors kept saying things like wear socks to bed, use a heating pad, hot water bottle, etc. I had tried all that, sometimes all at the same time!
    Doctors are not listening when they suggest those things. I see in the list above ‘cold hands and feet’ and I would bet my socks that those same feet and hands are warm to the touch. A specialist did not hear what I said about warm to the touch, nor did my family doctor. As I bet is the case in the reported symptom of cold feet and hands.

  6. FKB
    Reply

    In response to S.H. about cough and other symptoms while on Lisinopril and Coreg. I was taking Lisinopril for several years for heart failure. I noticed that I had a dry cough which was worse at night, waking me up. Upon mentioning it to mu doctor he informed me the cough is a side effect of Lisinoppril. He took me off the drug and the cough disappeared.

  7. MNS
    Reply

    I’ve started the raisin/gin routine. I’ve been taking it in the morning. So far the aches and pains in hands/fingers are much less especially when I wake up. My question is in the storing of the raisin/gin mixture. I’ve been keeping it in the refrigerator to keep it cool but is this necessary? If no, it would make it a lot easier to take the mixture with me when traveling, etc. Thank you.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: It should be kept in a closed container, but it does not need refrigeration.

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