Catapres (Clonidine) for anxiety: Facts, Uses, and Side-Effects

What is Catapres?

Catapres (clonidine hydrochloride) decreases anxiety attacks and psychiatric symptoms—as such, it is often prescribed for panic disorder and/or other mental health conditions. Panic disorder (PD) is a common anxiety disorder that may severely affect a person's day-to-day life as they begin to avoid certain places or situations to prevent panic attacks.

The goal with treatment is to reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks so that it doesn't interfere with a person's personal, work, academic, or social lives. The medication is also used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) outside of the mental health context.

How to use Catapres

Catapres tablets are taken by mouth, with or without food, usually twice, once in the morning and once at bedtime. The larger dose is typically taken at bedtime to decrease the risk of side effects.

If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember it, unless it's close to another scheduled dose. Do not double dose to compensate for missing an earlier one.

As with most drugs, please take the medication as instructed, even if you feel well. It's important to not stop without consulting your medical professional first. Withdrawal side effects can range from nervousness, agitation, headache, and shaking, leading up to fatality.

After taking Catapres for some time, a dosage adjustment or pairing with another medication might be necessary since the medicine's effectiveness may be reduced as your body adjusts.

The medication will not cure panic disorder but help you manage your symptoms.

Side Effects

If these symptoms are severe or persist, please consult your doctor.

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Dry Mouth
  • Weakness
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased sexual activity

Severe symptoms require immediate medical treatment and include:

  • Swelling (fact, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs)
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Hoarseness

Other side effects not listed may occur. Always consult your doctor if you have concerns about unusual problems. In case of overdose, please call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the individual has a seizure, has collapsed, or has trouble breathing, please call 911.

Symptoms of overdose:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale skin
  • Drowsiness

Drug Interactions

Be careful when taking Catapres with the following drugs, they might make you feel sleepy or slow your breathing:

  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Sleeping pills
  • Alcohol, barbiturates, or other sedating drugs
  • Neuroleptics

Please always consult your healthcare provider for your personal circumstances in addition to the information displayed on this page.

If you don't already have a mental health provider, Cerebral has a large network of mental health providers available now for appointments.

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If you're in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help:
Emergency:
Call 911
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Call 988
Crisis Text Line:
Text Home to 741-741
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