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Does Catapres (clonidine) cause side effects?
Catapres (clonidine) is a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It may be used alone or combined with other drugs used for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Catapres is also used off-label to treat alcohol withdrawal, smoking cessation (nicotine withdrawal), restless leg syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, opioid withdrawal, diabetes-associated diarrhea, diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), hot flashes associated with menopause, and smoking cessation. It also can be used as an adjunct to manage severe cancer-related pain.
It acts by stimulating receptors on nerves in the brain that reduces the transmission of messages from nerves in the brain to nerves in other areas of the body. As a result, it slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure.
Common side effects of Catapres include
- dry mouth,
- skin redness,
- darkening of skin,
- decreased sexual desire, and
- ejaculatory dysfunction.
Serious side effects of Catapres include
- severe rebound high blood pressure (more likely to occur if Catapres is stopped suddenly; symptoms of severe rebound high blood pressure can include increased salivation, nervousness, headache, heart palpitations, agitation, anxiety, sweating, nausea, muscle pain, and abdominal pain),
- severe low blood pressure,
- slow heart rate,
- withdrawal symptoms,
- severe allergic reactions,
- fainting, and
- abnormal heart conduction.
Drug interactions of Catapres include other medications that cause sedation such as narcotic pain relievers, barbiturates, sedatives such as alprazolam and clonazepam, and ethanol because Catapres can increase the sedating effects of these drugs.
- Tricyclic antidepressants can block the blood pressure lowering effects of Catapres. This may cause blood pressure to rise. Since Catapres can reduce heart rate, it should be used cautiously in persons who are receiving any other medication that lowers heart rate such as beta-blockers.
- Abnormal heart rhythms can occur with a combination of Catapres and verapamil.
- Cyclosporine concentrations in the blood can increase when Catapres is begun. This interaction could result in kidney damage from the increased levels of cyclosporine.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce the antihypertensive effects of Catapres. Cocaine, pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, and phenylpropanolamine also can reverse the blood pressure lowering effects of Catapres.
There are no adequate studies of Catapres use during pregnancy. Catapres is excreted into breast milk and potentially could cause adverse effects in the infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
What are the important side effects of Catapres (clonidine)?
The most common side effects are:
Other side effects include:
Possible serious side effects include:
- Severe rebound high blood pressure
- Severe low blood pressure
- Slow heart rate
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Severe allergic reactions
- Slow heart rate
- Abnormal heart conduction
Severe rebound hypertension can occur following withdrawal from clonidine. This reaction is more likely to occur if clonidine is stopped suddenly (without a gradual dose reduction).
Symptoms of severe rebound high blood pressure can include:
- Increased salivation
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
Slowly reducing the dose of this medication over several days will prevent these symptoms.
Catapres (clonidine) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Most adverse effects are mild and tend to diminish with continued therapy. The most frequent (which appear to be dose-related) are dry mouth, occurring in about 40 of 100 patients; drowsiness, about 33 in 100; dizziness, about 16 in 100; constipation and sedation, each about 10 in 100.
The following less frequent adverse experiences have also been reported in patients receiving Catapres tablets, but in many cases patients were receiving concomitant medication and a causal relationship has not been established.
- Body as a Whole: Fatigue, fever, headache, pallor, weakness, and withdrawal syndrome. Also reported were a weakly positive Coombs' test and increased sensitivity to alcohol.
- Cardiovascular: Bradycardia, congestive heart failure, electrocardiographic abnormalities (i.e., sinus node arrest, junctional bradycardia, high degree AV block and arrhythmias), orthostatic symptoms, palpitations, Raynaud's phenomenon, syncope, and tachycardia. Cases of sinus bradycardia and atrioventricular block have been reported, both with and without the use of concomitant digitalis.
- Central Nervous System: Agitation, anxiety, delirium, delusional perception, hallucinations (including visual and auditory), insomnia, mental depression, nervousness, other behavioral changes, paresthesia, restlessness, sleep disorder, and vivid dreams or nightmares.
- Dermatological: Alopecia, angioneurotic edema, hives, pruritus, rash, and urticaria.
- Gastrointestinal: Abdominal pain, anorexia, constipation, hepatitis, malaise, mild transient abnormalities in liver function tests, nausea, parotitis, pseudo-obstruction (including colonic pseudo-obstruction), salivary gland pain, and vomiting.
- Genitourinary: Decreased sexual activity, difficulty in micturition, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, nocturia, and urinary retention.
- Hematologic: Thrombocytopenia.
- Metabolic: Gynecomastia, transient elevation of blood glucose or serum creatine phosphokinase, and weight gain.
- Musculoskeletal: Leg cramps and muscle or joint pain.
- Oro-otolaryngeal: Dryness of the nasal mucosa.
- Ophthalmological: Accommodation disorder, blurred vision, burning of the eyes, decreased lacrimation, and dryness of eyes.
What drugs interact with Catapres (clonidine)?
- Clonidine may potentiate the CNS-depressive effects of alcohol, barbiturates or other sedating drugs.
- If a patient receiving clonidine hydrochloride is also taking tricyclic antidepressants, the hypotensive effect of clonidine may be reduced, necessitating an increase in the clonidine dose.
- If a patient receiving clonidine is also taking neuroleptics, orthostatic regulation disturbances (e.g., orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, fatigue) may be induced or exacerbated.
- Monitor heart rate in patients receiving clonidine concomitantly with agents known to affect sinus node function or AV nodal conduction, e.g., digitalis, calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers.
- Sinus bradycardia resulting in hospitalization and pacemaker insertion has been reported in association with the use of clonidine concomitantly with diltiazem or verapamil.
- Amitriptyline in combination with clonidine enhances the manifestation of corneal lesions in rats.
- Based on observations in patients in a state of alcoholic delirium it has been suggested that high intravenous doses of clonidine may increase the arrhythmogenic potential (QTprolongation, ventricular fibrillation) of high intravenous doses of haloperidol.
- Causal relationship and relevance for clonidine oral tablets have not been established.
Catapres (clonidine) is a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It may be used alone or combined with other drugs used for the treatment of high blood pressure. Common side effects of Catapres include tiredness, lethargy, fatigue, drowsiness, weakness, constipation, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, skin redness, itching, darkening of skin, impotence, decreased sexual desire, and ejaculatory dysfunction. There are no adequate studies of Catapres use during pregnancy. Catapres is excreted into breast milk and potentially could cause adverse effects in the infant.
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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Second Source WebMD Medical Reference
High Blood Pressure Treatment (Natural Home Remedies, Diet, Medications)
High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include lifestyle modifications (alcohol, smoking, coffee, salt, diet, exercise), drugs and medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), alpha blockers, clonidine, minoxidil, and Exforge.
Portal hypertension is most commonly caused by cirrhosis, a disease that results from scarring of the liver. Other causes of portal hypertension include blood clots in the portal vein, blockages of the veins that carry the blood from the liver to the heart, and a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis. Symptoms of portal hypertension include varices (enlarged veins), vomiting blood, blood in the stool, black and tarry stool, ascites (abnormal fluid collection within the peritoneum, the sac that contains the intestines within the abdominal cavity), confusion and lethargy, splenomegaly or enlargement of the spleen, and decreased white blood cell counts.
Pulmonary hypertension is elevated pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the lungs to the heart. The most common symptoms are fatigue and difficulty breathing. If the condition goes undiagnosed, more severe symptoms may occur. As pulmonary hypertension worsens, some people with the condition have difficulty performing any activities that require physical exertion. While there is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, it can be managed and treated with medications and supplemental oxygen to increase blood oxygen levels.
Hypertensive Kidney Disease
High blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease). Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. If you have kidney disease, you should control your blood pressure. Other treatment options include prescription medications.
Pseudotumor Cerebri (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension)
Pseudotumor Cerebri (intracranial hypertension) is a condition where there is an increase in pressure of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) mimicing a brain tumor. The cause is unknown. The most common symptom is headache but also include eye-pain, vision loss and double vision. Pseudotumor cerebri is diagnosed with MRI or CAT scans and treated by discontinuing offending medications (if applicable), weight loss and diuretic medications. The condition can also be helped by repeated drainage of spinal fluid using the lumbar puncture.
Can High Blood Pressure Hurt My Eyes?
Unfortunately, yes. Suffering from untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure for a long time can be detrimental to your eyes. Several eye diseases are directly or indirectly caused by high blood pressure (hypertension).
Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)
Preeclampsia is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia typically begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. When preeclampsia causes seizures, it is termed "eclampsia" and is the second leading cause of maternal death of in the US. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of fetal complications. Risk factors for preeclampsia include high blood pressure, obesity, multiple births, and women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Pregnancy planning and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
Hypertension-Induced Chronic Kidney Disease
Hypertension-induced chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-standing kidney condition that develops over time due to persistent or uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension).
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. In some patients, symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, confusion, sweating, chest pain and vision problems.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood pressure readings consistently range from 140 or higher for systolic or 90 or higher for diastolic. Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
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Medications & Supplements
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.