Clonidine (Kapvay and Catapres) for ADHD: Everything You Need to Know

Clonidine (Kapvay and Catapres) for ADHD: Everything You Need to Know

If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with ADHD, you may be wondering if clonidine is the right medication for them. Clonidine is a drug that is used to treat ADHD and other conditions such as hypertension and tachycardia. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about clonidine, including how it works, potential side effects, and dosage information.

What Is Clonidine?

What Is Clonidine?Clonidine is a medication that was originally approved to treat high blood pressure. It works by relaxing the blood vessels and slowing the heart rate. Clonidine also has a calming effect on the brain and was found to be helpful in treating ADHD symptoms.

Clonidine is available in two forms- Kapvay and Catapres. Kapvay is the extended-release form of clonidine and is taken once daily. Catapres is the immediate release form and is taken two to four times per day. It is also available in a patch form (Catapres-TTS) which is worn on the skin and changed every seven days.

How Does Clonidine Work?

The way of working is not completely understood yet by researchers. But it is thought that it works by decreasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. And that is involved in regulating attention and impulsivity. In fact, the medicine is also known as an alpha-agonist. It is so because it works by stimulating the thealpha-adrenergic receptors.

Clonidine comes in two forms that are used to treat ADHD: Kapvay and Catapres. Kapvay is the extended-release form of clonidine. And it is taken once a day. On the other hand, Catapres is the immediate-release form. So, it is taken three times a day. Both forms are available as generic drugs, which are much cheaper than the brand-name versions.

Moreover, the drug is used for other disorders such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and anxiety. It can also be used “off-label” for Tourette’s syndrome, hot flashes, and sleep disorders.

Dosage Information

It is important to be aware of the correct dosage of clonidine for treating ADHD in children and adolescents.

  • The usual dose is 0.05 to 0.15 mg/day, given as a single dose in the morning. Or divided into two doses (morning and evening).
  • The starting dose is usually 0.05 mg/day for children weighing less than 50 kg (110 lb). And 0.075 mg/day for those weighing more than 50 kg (110 lb).
  • Adolescents may be started at a higher dose of 0.15 mg/day if needed, but should not exceed this amount.
  • Clonidine extended-release tablets (Kapvay) are taken once daily, preferably at bedtime. The initial recommended dose is 0.18 mg/day.
  • This may be increased by 0.09 mg/day every week until the desired response is achieved or a maximum dose of 0.72 mg/day is reached.
  • For Catapres tablets, the initial recommended dose is 0.15 mg to 0.30 mg two or three times daily. This may be gradually increased by 0.075 mg to 0.15 mg per day every three to seven days until the desired blood pressure-lowering effect is achieved.

These are some basic guidelines for dosing clonidine for ADHD. Be sure to follow the specific instructions from your child’s doctor. Also, clonidine may be taken with or without food. If it upsets your child’s stomach, it is best to take it with food.

However, for a more detailed explanation, please see the prescribing information for clonidine. And ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Is Clonidine Effective In Recovery?

Is Clonidine Effective In Recovery?There have been studies that suggest clonidine is an effective medication in the treatment of ADHD. In a study that was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, it was found that clonidine helped to improve symptoms. Especially in patients who had been diagnosed with both ADHD and anxiety disorder.

Clonidine has also been shown to be effective in reducing tics associated with Tourette’s syndrome. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that after eight weeks of treatment with clonidine, there was a significant reduction in tic frequency and severity. Also, some potential benefits associated with clonidine are;

  • improved sleep,
  • reduction in impulsivity,
  • and improved social functioning.

Overall, the medication seems to be most effective when used in conjunction with other ADHD medications. If you are considering using clonidine for your child’s ADHD, it is important to speak with a doctor about the potential risks and benefits.

What Are The Side Effects Of Clonidine?

There are a few common side effects associated with clonidine, which include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability

Clonidine may also cause more serious side effects in some people, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

In fact, there are some rare side effects. That has only been reported by a small number of people. These include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty urinating

If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your doctor immediately. Clonidine is a relatively safe medication, but it is important to be aware of the potential side effects before starting treatment.

Contacting your doctor will allow them to determine if the medication is right for you and make sure that you are monitoring for any potential side effects.

What Should Be Avoided While Taking Clonidine?

What Should Be Avoided While Taking Clonidine?When you are on clonidine, you should avoid activities that could be dangerous if you were to faint or lose consciousness. These include

  • Driving a car.
  • Operating machinery.
  • Swimming alone.
  • You should also avoid drinking alcohol as this can increase the risk of adverse effects.
  • If you are taking clonidine for hypertension, you should avoid becoming pregnant as it can cause serious harm to the developing fetus.

Overall, to get the most out of your clonidine treatment, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders and avoid any risky activities. And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns be sure to reach out to your healthcare team.

You should remember that it is important to take clonidine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not change your dose or stop taking clonidine without talking to your doctor first. These sudden changes can cause serious withdrawal symptoms including an increase in blood pressure.

Are There Any Alternatives To Clonidine?

Clonidine isn’t the only medication used to treat ADHD. Other options include;

  • Other medications
  • Therapy
  • Parent training
  • Behavioral interventions
  • Dietary changes

Other Medications

When clonidine isn’t effective or has too many side effects, other medications may be tried. These include;

A combination of medications (using two or more of the above medications) is sometimes necessary to effectively manage symptoms. If one medication isn’t working, don’t give up hope—talk to your doctor about trying a different option.


TherapyTherapies are another treatment option for ADHD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating ADHD. CBT can help people with ADHD learn how to;

  • manage their time
  • set and achieve goals
  • be organized
  • stick to a routine
  • cope with frustration

In fact, CBT is the only effective type of therapy. Otherwise, there are hardly any other types of therapy that can help with ADHD.

Parent Training

Parent training is another treatment option for ADHD. This type of training can help parents learn how to;

  • set limits
  • give clear instructions
  • provide positive reinforcement

Parents are the ones who spend the most time with their children, so it’s important that they know how to effectively manage ADHD. And, they know their child better than anyone else, so they’re in a unique position to help their child.

Behavioral Interventions

There are also behavioral interventions that can be used to treat ADHD. These include;

  • token economy systems
  • response cost systems

Behavioral interventions are defined as any intervention that changes the way a person behaves. And, they can be used to treat ADHD. Even, though it is related to parent training, it’s a more specific type of intervention.

Moreover, this type of intervention can be used in school settings. And, they can be used to help children with ADHD learn how to;

  • follow rules
  • pay attention
  • stay on task

Dietary Changes

Dietary ChangesLastly, dietary changes can also be used to treat ADHD because it’s a complex disorder. And, there is no one specific diet that’s been shown to be effective. However, some people with ADHD may benefit from;

  • Eliminating processed foods.
  • Eating more whole foods.
  • Increasing omega-three fatty acids.
  • Adding magnesium-rich foods

These are just some dietary changes that may be helpful for people with ADHD. However, these dietary changes are not been researched over a particular ADHD. So, it’s important to talk to a doctor or nutritionist before making any major changes to your diet.

However, do not be afraid to start with it as there are no side effects of dietary changes. So, it’s definitely worth a try!


To conclude, it can be said that Clonidine is an effective medication for ADHD. It can help improve focus, concentration, and impulsivity in people with ADHD. However, it is important to remember that Clonidine is not a full-proof cure and it will not work for everyone. If you are considering taking Clonidine, be sure to speak with a professional.

Therefore, if you are considering taking clonidine for your ADHD. Then, be sure to speak with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits. With their help, you can make an informed decision about whether or not this medication is right for you. Choose what is best for you and always keep your health in mind.

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