Catapres Review

By Dr. Emily Kensington

Catapres (Catapres tts, Clonidine) is a medication that is primarily used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and anxiety.

It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body which decreases the heart rate.

It also has other uses such as being utilized in conjunction with stimulant based medications such as Ritalin in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD).

It's relaxing agents may help reduce anxiety, hyperactivity, and promote sleep in ADHD sufferers.


This medication is available in tablet and as a skin patch. The tablets are taken by mouth and available in dosage strengths including 0.1 mg, 0.2 mg and 0.3 mg.

For children with ADD/ADHD, the starting dose is typically smaller such as .05 mg at bedtime for sleep. See this helpful guide to help you find the best dosage.

Side Effects

Side effects of this medication may include dry mouth, fatigue, headache, and nausea. More severe side effects may include skin rash, hives, voice hoarseness, or swelling in different body parts such as the face, tongue, lips, hands, ankles, or feet.

Medications affect everyone differently. Many medications are a matter of trial and error in order to find the best balance for each individual. It is useful to remember that what works for your neighbor may not work for you. Report any negative side effects to your treating doctor.


If you experience dry mouth, try chewing gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy. If you miss or forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose take your next dose at the prescribed time. Do not take a double dose, and always take this medication as prescribed.

Catapres Warnings


Call or report to your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following signs of overdose: pounding heartbeat, a heart rate of less than 60 per minute, shortness of breath, swelling, weight gain, confusion, hallucinations, fever, seizure, and coma.

You may need to visit the hospital emergency room in order to stabilize your symptoms. 

Your doctor may require you to check your pulse every day to get a baseline heart rate for comparison once you begin taking this medication. Check your blood pressure regularly.

Abruptly stopping this medication may result in potentially dangerous withdrawal. When discontinuing this medication it is important to work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dosage. Do not discontinue this medication on your own without working with your doctor.

Remember to attend all of your follow-up medication monitoring appointments with your doctor so the doctor can monitor your progress. This is also your opportunity to report any negative side effects or report any questions or concerns to your treating physician.

Become a proactive healthcare consumer by asking questions and learning as much as you can about what you put into your body.

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