REVIEW Carvedilol is a racemic mixture in which nonselective beta-adrenoreceptor blocking activity is present in the S(-) enantiomer and alpha-adrenergic blocking activity is present in both R(+) and S(-) enantiomers at equal potency. Carvedilol's beta-adrenergic receptor blocking ability decreases the heart rate, myocardial contractility, and myocardial oxygen demand. Carvedilol also decreases systemic vascular resistance via its alpha adrenergic receptor blocking properties. Carvedilol and its metabolite BM-910228 (a less potent beta blocker, but more potent antioxidant) have been shown to restore the inotropic responsiveness to Ca2+ in OH- free radical-treated myocardium. Carvedilol and its metabolites also prevent OH- radical-induced decrease in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase activity. Therefore, carvedilol and its metabolites may be beneficial in chronic heart failure by preventing free radical damage.
Packer M, Fowler MB, Roecker EB, Coats AJ, Katus HA, Krum H, Mohacsi P, Rouleau JL, Tendera M, Staiger C, Holcslaw TL, Amann-Zalan I, DeMets DL: Effect of carvedilol on the morbidity of patients with severe chronic heart failure: results of the carvedilol prospective randomized cumulative survival (COPERNICUS) study. Circulation. 2002 Oct 22;106(17):2194-9.
Packer M, Coats AJ, Fowler MB, Katus HA, Krum H, Mohacsi P, Rouleau JL, Tendera M, Castaigne A, Roecker EB, Schultz MK, DeMets DL: Effect of carvedilol on survival in severe chronic heart failure. N Engl J Med. 2001 May 31;344(22):1651-8.
Vanderhoff BT, Ruppel HM, Amsterdam PB: Carvedilol: the new role of beta blockers in congestive heart failure. Am Fam Physician. 1998 Nov 1;58(7):1627-34, 1641-2.