β-adrenoceptor-blocking drugs, first introduced for the treatment of symptomatic angina pectoris, have been found effective across the whole spectrum of ischaemic disease. Labetalol was the first combined-action beta-blocking drug to be described and was shown to be capable of increasing exercise tolerance in patients with angina pectoris. Carvedilol also possesses a peripheral vasodilating action mainly due to an α<sub>1</sub>- adrenoceptor blockade. Haemodynamic studies with carvedilol in patients with ischaemic heart disease have shown a reduction in peripheral vascular resistance in contrast to propranolol which increases systemic resistance and reduces cardiac output. Additionally, in ischaemic heart failure there is evidence of improved myocardial function, as shown by an increase in ejection fraction, after the administration of carvedilol. Carvedilol has been shown to improve exercise tolerance in patients with angina pectoris and reduce the occurrence of episodes of silent myocardial ischaemia. Carvedilol, unlike many beta-blocking drugs, does not adversely affect the plasma lipid profile qualitatively or quantitatively. In contrast to many non-selective beta-blocking drugs, carvedilol has a more favourable haemodynamic profile, and its lack of adverse influence on the plasma lipid profile may be important in its long-term use.