Clonidine is a prescription medication. It’s available as a patch, an oral tablet, and an oral extended-release tablet. The form you use may depend on your condition.
Clonidine extended-release tablets are available as the brand-name drug Kapvay. They’re also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand.
Why it’s used
Clonidine extended-release tablets are used to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They can be used by people aged 6–18 years.
This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.
How it works
Clonidine belongs to a class of drugs called centrally acting alpha-agonists. It isn’t known exactly how clonidine extended-release tablets work to reduce symptoms of ADHD. We do know that clonidine works in the part of the brain that helps regulate behavior, attention, and how we express emotion.
Clonidine oral tablet can cause drowsiness. However, this effect might go away the longer you take it. It can also cause other side effects.
More common side effects
Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away. The more common side effects that can occur with clonidine include:
- dry mouth and dry eyes
- stomach upset or pain
- upper respiratory tract infection
- feeling irritable
- trouble sleeping
Serious side effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911. Serious side effects can include:
- increased then decreased blood pressure
- slower or faster heart rate
- uneven heart rate
- dizziness when you stand
- passing out
- slowed breathing or trouble breathing
- chest pain
- hallucinating (seeing things that aren’t there)