What is Clonidine?
Clonidine tablets (Catapres) are used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Clonidine extended-release (long-acting) tablets (Kapvay) are used alone or in combination with other medications as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age) in children. Clonidine is in a class of medications called centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agents. Clonidine treats high blood pressure by decreasing your heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body. Clonidine extended-release tablets may treat ADHD by affecting the part of the brain that controls attention and impulsivity.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
How should this medicine be used?
Clonidine comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken two times a day at evenly spaced intervals. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. Take clonidine at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clonidine 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 tablets whole; do not split, chew or crush them.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of clonidine and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every week.
Clonidine may help to control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take clonidine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking clonidine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking clonidine, it can cause a rapid rise in your blood pressure and symptoms such as nervousness, headache, and uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually over 2 days for the regular tablet and 3 to 7 days for the extended-release tablet.