Nonstimulant Therapy, Strattera: Other ADHD Drugs (cont.)
It is not known whether these deaths were due to the combination of drugs,
but caution should be exercised whenever such combinations are used. Careful
screening for heart rhythm irregularities and regular monitoring of blood
pressure and electrocardiograms help reduce these risks. If your doctor thinks
that combining these two treatments offers more benefits than risks, it may be a
Who Should Not Take High Blood Pressure Drugs?
Clonidine and guanfacine may
be ruled out if there is a history of low blood pressure or other personal or
family history of a significant heart problem.
What Are the Side Effects of High Blood Pressure Drugs?
The most common side
effects seen with high blood pressure drugs include:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Sinus congestion
The drugs can rarely cause irregular heartbeats.
High Blood Pressure Drugs: Tips and Precautions
When taking one of these high
blood pressure drugs for ADHD, be sure to tell your doctor:
- If you are nursing, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant.
- If you are taking
or plan to take any dietary supplements, herbal medicines, or nonprescription
- If you have any past or present medical problems, including low
blood pressure, seizures, heart rhythm disturbances, and urinary problems.
you develop irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations) or fainting spells.
following are useful guidelines to keep in mind when taking clonidine or
guanfacine or giving them to your child for ADHD:
- Always take or give the medication exactly as prescribed. If there are any
problems or questions, call your doctor. It is best not to miss doses or patches
as this may cause the blood pressure to rise quickly, which may cause headaches
and other symptoms.
- Your health care provider will probably want to start the
medication at a low dose and increase gradually until symptoms are controlled.
- Clonidine patches come in various sizes. Rotate the placement of the patch to
avoid skin irritation.
- For very young children, clonidine tablets can be
formulated into a liquid by a compounding pharmacy to make it easier to give the
medication. Tablets can be crushed and mixed with food if necessary.
- Do not stop clonidine or guanfacine suddenly since this can cause rebound increase in blood
pressure. These medications must be tapered off gradually.
SOURCES:Last Editorial Review: 10/19/2011
Strattera web site.
Kapvay web site: "Monthly Prescribing Reference."
Food and Drug Administration.
American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Medscape web site: "Once-Daily Guanfacine Approved to Treat ADHD."
Intuniv web site.
Attention Deficit Disorder Resources web site: "Medication Management for
Adults with ADHD."
WebMD Medical Reference: "Should My Child Take Stimulant Medications for
National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Questions Raised about
Stimulants and Sudden Death."
HelpGuide.org web site: "ADD & ADHD Medications."
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 19, 2011
© 2009 WebMD, LLC. All