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

Catapres (Clonidine) for Anxiety: Uses, Facts, and Side Effects
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs. Read more

Catapres (clonidine hydrochloride) is an effective medication for managing hypertension, anxiety attacks, panic disorder, and other conditions. Panic disorder (PD) is a common anxiety disorder that can affect your day-to-day life as you begin to avoid certain places or situations that may trigger panic attacks. Catapres will not cure you of panic disorder, but it can help you manage the symptoms.

But does Clonidine help with anxiety? Yes, Catapres treatment aims to reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks, so the symptoms don’t interfere with your personal, work, academics, or social life. Besides curing mental health issues such as anxiety, this medication is also helpful in treating high blood pressure (hypertension). Read on to know more about Clonidine, its uses, side effects, drug interactions, and other important aspects.

Anxiety symptoms make your day-to-day life challenging? Connect with a therapist to get professional help.

How to Use Clonidine for Anxiety

Catapres is taken by mouth, usually twice daily, one pill in the morning and one at bedtime, to boost effectiveness. The smaller dose is usually taken at bedtime to decrease the chance that you experience any side effects from taking it.

As with most medicines, always take Clonidine as prescribed, even if you start to feel well. It’s important not to stop taking this medication without consulting your physician. When you stop taking Catapres, your symptoms can range from being very nervous and agitated to having a severe headache or even being unable to control your movements.

Even though you may feel better for some time, a dosage adjustment or a combination of Catapres and another medication might be necessary. The medication’s effectiveness may decrease as your body adjusts.

Missed Dose

If you miss a Clonidine dose, take it as soon as possible. But if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular medication schedule. Do not increase the dose because you missed the previous one. And if you miss more than one dose of your medication, consult your physician as soon as possible.

Side Effects of Clonidine

If the following symptoms are severe or persistent, consult your doctor:

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

Severe symptoms may require immediate medical treatment and include:

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

Other side effects not listed above may occur. So, always consult your doctor if you have concerns about any unusual symptoms you face while taking Clonidine.

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Symptoms of Catapres Overdose

In case of overdose, immediately call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. And if the individual has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or has collapsed, please call 911. Common symptoms of Catapres overdose include:

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

Drug Interactions

Always be careful when using Catapres alongside other drugs, as its interaction with certain medications might slow down your breathing or make you feel sleepy. These drugs include:

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

Always talk to your healthcare provider about your medical history before taking Catapres for anxiety to avoid such unpleasant effects.

Do you experience the symptoms of anxiety? Complete a free assessment and book an appointment with a licensed doctor to get a legit diagnosis.

The Use of Clonidine for Panic Attacks

Clonidine has been used in medicine for over 40 years and has proved its effectiveness in treating panic attacks. Manufacturers deliver this medicine in tablets or patches that act as long-lasting medicine or in solution forms. Clonidine is available in the following brand names:

  • Nexiclon XR
  • Catapres
  • Kapvay

Clonidine Dosage for Anxiety

Your doctor will instruct you on which dosage to use and how often because it may differ for different people. Your dose may be changed multiple times to determine what works best for you. Never use more medicine or take it more often than your physician instructs you to.

Take the extended-release tablet orally without crushing, cutting, or chewing. You may take the tablet with or without food. Clonidine extended-release tablets act differently from Clonidine immediate-release tablets, so avoid switching between these types except under your doctor’s instruction.

Clonidine is usually accompanied by a vital information leaflet. Read it carefully, follow the instructions, and ask your doctor for clarification if you don’t understand anything.

For oral dosage with extended-release tablets, the dosage of Clonidine for anxiety in adults depends on several factors. Clonidine is available in 0.1 mg, 0.2 mg, 0.3 mg tablets and transdermal patches. The starting dose of the tablet is usually 0.1 mg twice a day, and that of the patch is 0.1 mg once a day. Your doctor can change the dose subsequently depending on your response to treatment.

Dangers of Clonidine Withdrawal

There is little scientific evidence that Clonidine creates any euphoric effects in a person, but many people still become dependent on the medication. The withdrawal symptoms of Catapres can be severe and should be closely monitored by a medical professional. Here are some common symptoms of Clonidine withdrawal:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Clonidine withdrawal is sometimes dangerous and can be fatal. So, you’ll need to continue using this medication according to your doctor’s guidelines. Don’t stop taking the prescribed dose without consulting your doctor, as it may result in withdrawal symptoms. In case of any side effects, immediately contact your physician.

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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.