American journal of cardiovascular drugs : drugs, devices, and other interventions

A critical review of the use of carvedilol in ischemic heart disease.

PMID 23061698


β-Adrenergic receptor antagonists (β-blockers) have been recognized for their cardioprotective properties, prompting use of these pharmacologic agents to become more mainstream in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and congestive heart failure (CHF). Despite their popularity as a class, the ability to protect the myocardium varies significantly between different agents. Carvedilol is a non-selective β-blocker with α₁-adrenergic receptor antagonism properties. It is unique among β-blockers because in addition to improving exercise tolerance and its anti-ischemic properties secondary to a reduction in heart rate and myocardial contractility, carvedilol exerts other beneficial effects including: antioxidant effects; reduction in neutrophil infiltration; apoptosis inhibition; reduction of vascular smooth muscle migration; and improvement of myocardial remodeling post-AMI. These properties, documented in animal models and subsequent clinical trials, are consistent with established evidence demonstrating decreased morbidity and mortality in patients with CHF and post-AMI. This article reviews the role of carvedilol compared with other β-blockers in the treatment of CHF and post-AMI management.