Clonidine: Does It Work?

Review By Dr. Emily Kensington

Though primarily used to treat hypertension and anxiety, Clonidine is increasingly used in conjunction with stimulants to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, otherwise known as ADD or ADHD.

This prescription medication is also commonly known as Catapres, Kapvay, and Nexiclon.

It is believed to help alleviate ADHD symptoms by helping to moderate the impulsive and oppositional behaviors that are associated with ADHD.

Physiologically, it lowers blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax and the heart to beat more slowly and easily. It is available as a pill or as a patch.


The dosage to treat ADHD in children is 5 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day orally in four divided doses.

In children, the typical dose for treating ADHD is 0.05 mg given orally once daily at bedtime. It can gradually be increased to a max of up to 0.4 mg total daily as needed.

Keep in mind that the full effect of the drug may not be seen for 4-5 weeks. For more information about dosage, see this in-depth dosage guide.

Side Effects

Possible side effects may include: dizziness, drowsiness, stomach upset, loss of appetite, weight loss, and sleep disturbance. Report any side effects to your doctor. If you experience any severe or unusual reactions, seek emergency medical attention at your nearest hospital.


Only take this medication as prescribed under the supervision of your treating doctor. Report any adverse side effects to your prescribing doctor.


Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Notify your doctor if you experience any of these signs of a overdose: a very slow heart rate (fewer than 60 beats per minute), shortness of breath, rapid weight gain, fever, seizures, coma, or lightheadedness.

In addition, never share prescription medications with others. Never sell your medications and never ingest prescription medications that were not prescribed for you.

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