What Meds

Psychiatric Medications

Brand Name: Catapres

Catapres is the brand name for Clonidine. Catapres is an Alpha2-adrenergic agonist and works by stimulating a set of receptors in the brainstem that results in reduced sympathetic outflow from the central nervous system, producing a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Catapres is available in tablets, or as a skin patch.

Catapres usually causes a noticeable drop in blood pressure within 30 to 60 minutes, though the full effects might not be reached for several weeks.

Why is this drug prescribed?
Catapres is FDA-approved for the treatment of essential hypertension in adults and children over the age of 12. An epidural form is approved for treatment of refractory cancer pain.

Catapres is used in children to treat ADHD. This use is not FDA approved, but it is a widely accepted use.

Catapres is used in adults to treat:

How much of this drug is typically used?
Tablets: 0.1 mg, 0.2 mg, and 0.3 mg
Once-weekly patch comes in 0.1 mg/24 hours, 0.2 mg/24 hours, and 0.3 mg /24 hours
Also comes in epidural injection form

Warnings and Precautions
Children are more sensitive to Catapres than adults and may overdose on a normal adult dose of this medication.

Catapres may impair coordination and alertness. Individuals taking Catapres should not drive or operate heavy machinery until its effects are known and do not interfere with such activities. Mental alertness is less likely to be affected when dosage is started small and gradually increased.

Suddenly discontinuing Catapres may cause withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nervousness, agitation, tremor, confusion, and a rapid rise in blood pressure.

Conditions such as polyarteritis nodosa, scleroderma, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may interfere with absorption through the skin when the skin patch is used.

For Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: During animal studies, Catapres has been found to cause certain problems, but not birth defects, in the fetus. Catapres is passed into breast milk, though it has not been shown to cause problems in the nursing infant. Pregnant and nursing women are advised not to take Catapres.

Catapres should Not be used for people with sinus node function impairment.

Catapres may be used with caution in people with the following conditions:

Adverse Reactions
Catapres may cause the following reactions:


Interactions with Drugs and Other Substances
Drugs or substances that may interact with Catapres include:

Use in Child Psychiatry
Clonidine is often used third-line for treatment of ADHD in children (after stimulants and atomoxetine), and has been shown to have some benefit, although its benefit appears to be less than some other treatments for ADHD. As such, it is generally not used as first-line treatment for ADHD, unless the ADHD is associated with tics or Tourette’s syndrome. Meanwhile, clonidine is used as a first-line treatment of Tourette’s syndrome.  Clonidine may be somewhat sedating, and is often given at bedtime, and may decrease hyperactivity in this manner.


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