Blood Pressure Home > Catapres

Catapres is a prescription drug commonly used for the treatment of high blood pressure. By stimulating alpha-2 receptors in the brainstem, the medication causes a decrease in both blood pressure and heart rate. It comes in tablet form and is typically taken twice a day. While most people tolerate this medicine well, potential side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, and drowsiness.

What Is Catapres?

Catapres® (clonidine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication approved to treat high blood pressure (known medically as hypertension). It can be used alone or in combination with other high blood pressure medications. It comes in the form of tablets or skin patches. This article applies to the tablet form only (see Catapres-TTS for information about the patch form).
(Click Catapres Uses for more information on what this drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medicine?

Brand-name Catapres is made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic forms of this medication are made by various manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Catapres belongs to a group of medications known as alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. It works by stimulating alpha-2 receptors in the brainstem. This causes a decrease in both blood pressure and heart rate. There is also some evidence that Catapres may decrease certain substances (such as renin or aldosterone) in the body, an action that might also contribute to decreased blood pressure.

When and How to Take Catapres

Some general considerations for those taking Catapres include the following:
  • Catapres comes in tablet or patch form (this article applies only to the tablet form). It is usually taken by mouth twice a day.
  • You can take it either with a meal or on an empty stomach.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Catapres will not work if you stop taking it.
  • In general, this medication should not be stopped suddenly, as serious problems may result.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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