For most people, taking a new medication may mean switching up your lifestyle a bit and that includes the foods you eat. A food-drug interaction means that a specific nutrient or compound within the food changes the way your body metabolizes the medication, and this can either enhance or reduce the dose your body gets, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The potential results: an increased risk of side effects, many of which can be dangerous, or the drug not working as it was intended.
Before introducing a medication, ask your pharmacist about any food interactions, including with alcohol, and any adjustments you may have to make to your diet. In this article, we will discuss Carvedilol and the foods to avoid while taking it.
What is Carvedilol?
Carvedilol is a prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure. It can also improve how well your heart works if you’ve had a heart attack or if you have heart failure.
This drug is approved to treat:
- heart failure
- left ventricular dysfunction (a heart function problem) after a heart attack
- high blood pressure
How Carvedilol works
Carvedilol belongs to a class of drugs known as beta-blockers. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
It isn’t fully understood how carvedilol works to treat high blood pressure or improve heart function. However, it is known that carvedilol improves the workload of your heart, exercise-induced high heart rate, and high heart rate upon standing. It also widens your blood vessels, which helps to decrease your blood pressure.
How should I take Carvedilol?
Carvedilol comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken twice a day with food. The extended-release capsule is usually taken once a day in the morning with food. Try to take carvedilol at around the same time(s) every day.
The typical dose of Coreg (Carvedilol) starts at 3.125-6.25 mg by mouth twice daily, slowly increasing to 25 mg by mouth twice daily. Your provider may keep you on lower doses depending on your response to the medication.
The typical dose of the extended-release capsule starts at 10-20 mg by mouth once daily, slowly increasing to 80 mg by mouth once daily.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take carvedilol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release capsules whole. Do not chew or crush the capsules, and do not divide the beads inside a capsule into more than one dose. If you are unable to swallow the capsules, you may carefully open a capsule and sprinkle all of the beads it contains over a spoonful of cool or room-temperature applesauce. Swallow the entire mixture immediately without chewing.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of carvedilol and gradually increase your dose to allow your body to adjust to the medication. Talk to your doctor about how you feel and about any symptoms you experience during this time.
Carvedilol may help to control your condition but will not cure it. Continue taking carvedilol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking carvedilol without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking carvedilol, you may experience serious heart problems such as severe chest pain, a heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually over 1 to 2 weeks. Your doctor will watch you carefully and will probably tell you to avoid physical activity during this time.
List of foods to avoid when taking Carvedilol
Taking Carvedilol with the following food can affect how the medication works or increase the risk of unwanted side effects:
- Potassium Rich Foods: Carvedilol is a beta-blocker that increases the potassium level in the blood. Potassium levels in cells are very high, and they are kept that way actively by ion pumps in the cell membranes, which push sodium out and potassium in. These pumps are partially blocked by beta-blockers like Carvedilol, so that is one reason your potassium level increases. Taking potassium-rich foods like meat, milk, and sweet potatoes while taking Carvedilol can result in high blood potassium levels. Dangerously high potassium levels affect the heart and cause a sudden onset of life-threatening problems. Hyperkalemia symptoms include Abdominal (belly) pain and diarrhea.
- High sugar foods: Beta-blockers like Carvedilol can potentially increase blood glucose concentrations and antagonize the action of oral hypoglycemic drugs. Avoid sugary food while taking Carvedilol because having too much sugar in the blood for long periods of time can cause serious health problems if it’s not treated. If you are diabetic, inform your doctor before using any antidiabetic medication.
- St. John Wort tea: Avoid taking St. John’s wort while taking Carvedilol, it is known to interact with a number of drugs, including beta-blockers, as it induces the hepatic cytochrome P450 system and causes faster drug metabolism.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is another beverage you should avoid while taking Carvedilol. Drinking alcohol while you’re taking a beta-blocker can cause your blood pressure to fall. A significant drop can cause you to faint and possibly injure yourself. In addition, alcohol alone can have negative effects on the condition you’re taking a beta-blocker for. Drinking alcohol while taking Carvedilol could increase side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness.
- Coffee and energy drinks: Avoid taking coffee and energy drinks containing caffeine because it can decrease the effectiveness of Carvedilol. It is, therefore, better to avoid the intake of caffeine-containing foods and beverages while taking Carvedilol. This includes sodas containing caffeine. According to reports, when tested under laboratory conditions, Pepsi one was found to contain a hefty 57.1mg of caffeine. That compared to just 10.3mg in the least caffeinated branded cola, Ritz Cola, and only 4.9 mg in private brand IGA Cola.
Can you eat bananas with carvedilol?
No, although Carvedilol doesn’t interact with bananas, it can affect the way the medication works. Bananas are known for their high potassium content, one banana has 451 mg of potassium.
Eating bananas while on this medication could make you end up with too much potassium in your system. These can cause the body to retain excess potassium that would otherwise be flushed out by the kidneys.
For your own safety, it is important to understand and avoid drug-food interaction. Eating bananas while taking Carvedilol can also cause other side effects and can even reduce the efficacy of the drug.