Why is medication prescribed?
catapres is used to treat high blood pressure. It works by decreasing your heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body.
Clonidine is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medication be used?
Clonidine comes as a tablet to take by mouth and a patch to apply to the skin. The tablet usually is taken two or three times a day at evenly spaced intervals. The patch is applied to the skin every 7 days. 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.
If you are using the Clonidine patch, ask your doctor or pharmacist for the manufacturer's patient instructions and read them carefully. To apply the patch, follow these directions:
- Clean a relatively hairless area of unbroken skin on your upper arm or chest with mild soap and water and dry it completely.
- Peel the clear plastic strip from the adhesive side of a patch.
- Attach the patch to your skin by placing the adhesive side against it and pressing firmly. Place an overlay patch provided with your prescription over the top of the patch to secure it.
- If the patch loosens before replacement time, place adhesive tape or an overlay patch over the top of the patch to secure it.
- If the skin under the patch becomes irritated, remove the patch and replace it with a new one in a different area.
- Fold the used patch in half with the sticky sides together and dispose of it carefully. The patch still contains active medication that could be harmful to children or pets. Always be sure to remove the old patch before applying another one.
Clonidine controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take Clonidine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Clonidine without talking to your doctor. Do not stop taking Clonidine suddenly, that can cause a rise in blood pressure and symptoms such as nervousness, headache, and confusion. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually over a few days.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking catapres,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Clonidine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially amitriptyline (Elavil); beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), carteolol (Cartrol), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), sotalol (Betapace), and timolol (Blocadren); clomipramine (Anafranil); desipramine (Norpramin); doxepin (Adepin, Sinequan); imipramine (Tofranil); nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor); protriptyline (Vivactil); sleeping pills; trimipramine (Surmontil); and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had coronary artery disease, kidney disease, or a heart attack.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking catapres, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking catapres.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are using catapres. Alcohol can make the side effects from Clonidine worse.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from Clonidine are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- decreased sexual ability
- upset stomach
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- increased or decreased heartbeat
- irregular heartbeat
- swollen ankles or feet
What storage conditions are needed for this medication?
Keep Clonidine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to clonidine.
Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate) daily and will tell you how rapid it should be. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is slower or faster than it should be, call your doctor before taking Clonidine that day.
To avoid dizziness or faintness, get up slowly from a sitting or lying position. If you feel dizzy or faint at any time, you should lie or sit down.
To relieve dry mouth caused by clonidine, chew gum or suck sugarless hard candy.
Use of sleeping pills or other medications may increase the drowsiness caused by this drug.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.