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What is Catapres?
Catapres is a medicine that is used to lower high blood pressure. Catapres tablets contain the active ingredient clonidine, which causes blood vessels to relax and widen. This increases the amount of space in the blood vessels and so decreases the pressure inside them. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure. Catapres is a prescription-only medicine.
What is Catapres used for?
Catapres is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and specific menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and excessive sweating. It is sometimes also used to prevent migraine attacks and withdrawal symptoms caused by drug addiction.
How to use Catapres
Catapres tablets should be swallowed whole, without chewing, at around the same time each day. They can be taken with or without food. Consult your doctor if your symptoms have not improved after several weeks. Do not stop taking Catapres suddenly. To prevent withdrawal symptoms, treatment with this medicine should be discontinued gradually, following the instructions given by the doctor. For more information on how to use this medicine, see the package leaflet.
Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, the usual dose for treating menopausal symptoms in adult women is:
- one tablet of 0.050 to 0.075 mg twice a day.
The usual dose for high blood pressure in adults is:
- 0.075 mg three times a day. The doctor may decide to increase the starting dose after a while according to your body's response to the medicine.
Other conditions may require a different dose. Catapres is not suitable for use in children. Always follow the prescription exactly - never use more or less than the doctor recommends. Read the package leaflet before use.
Catapres may cause side effects. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine:
- Drowsiness, sleepiness, dizziness (especially in the initial phase of treatment);
- Dry mouth;
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.
Most side effects are usually only temporary. If your symptoms have not improved after several weeks, consult a doctor. For a complete list of possible side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Catapres
Catapres is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- You are allergic to clonidine or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You have severe arrhythmia, causing you to have a very slow heart rate;
- You are currently taking other blood pressure reducers;
- You are currently taking medication that influences heart rate;
- You have low blood pressure or a kidney disorder (only if Catapres is used to treat withdrawal symptoms).
Use caution if you have a health condition that is not listed above or are already taking medication. In this case, you should not use Catapres without consulting a doctor first. For more information on interactions and contraindications, see the package leaflet.
Do not use this medicine, or only with a doctor's approval, if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding. This medicine may cause dizziness, drowsiness or sleepiness. Stay out of traffic if you experience these side effects. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Catapres as this is likely to trigger or worsen the side effects.