This study investigated the protective effects of carvedilol, a potent antioxidant, in a rat model of tourniquet-induced ischaemia-reperfusion injury of the hind limb. Thirty rats were divided equally into three groups: the control group (group 1) was only anaesthetized, without creating an ischaemia-reperfusion injury; group 2 was submitted to ischaemia (4 h), followed by a 2-h reperfusion period; and group 3 was pre-treated with carvedilol (2 mg/kg per day) for 10 days prior to ischaemia-reperfusion. Ischaemia-reperfusion produced a significant decrease in superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities in the liver, lungs, muscle and serum compared with control treatment, and pre-treatment with carvedilol prevented these changes. Ischaemia-reperfusion caused a significant increase in malondialdehyde and nitric oxide (NO) levels in liver, lungs, muscle (except NO) and serum compared with control treatment, and carvedilol prevented these changes. In conclusion, it might be inferred that carvedilol could be used safely to prevent oxidative injury during reperfusion following ischaemia in humans.