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Generic Name: Clonidine (KLOE ni deen)

Drug Class: Antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting

Table of Contents







Kapvay (Clonidine) is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) by affecting the part of the brain that controls attention and impulsivity. This medication is approved for use in children, though should not to be administered to a child under the age of 6.

Kapvay is available in tablet form and extended-release (long-acting) tablet to be taken orally. The tablet is usually taken two times a day at evenly spaced intervals.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

It works by helping change certain chemicals in the brain, which professionals refer to as “neurotransmitters.” It is not yet well-understood why changing these neurochemicals results in symptom relief for the conditions this drug is commonly prescribed for.

How to Take It

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. Read the patient leaflet that comes with this medicine. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist any questions that you may have about this medicine. This medicine may be taken on an empty stomach or with food. Kapvay is usually taken twice a day, in the morning and at bedtime. If you take different doses of this medicine at each dosing time, it may be best to take the larger dose at bedtime.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • slow heart rate
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • confusion
  • nosebleeds
  • decreased sexual ability
  • anxiety
  • sleep problems
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • facial swelling
  • hives/rash
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing

Warnings & Precautions

  • Do not increase your dose of this medicine without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel that the medicine is not working.
  • This medicine may cause dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up quickly from a lying position. Do not operate machinery or drive a car until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Alcohol can potentially increase side effects of clonidine.
  • Tell your doctor if you have ever had a heart attack or stroke, or heart or kidney disease.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

Before taking any new medicine, either prescription or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. Check the labels on all of your medicine (e.g., cough-and-cold products, diet aids) because they may ingredients that could increase your heart rate or blood pressure. Ask you pharmacist about the safe use of those products.

Dosage & Missed Dose

The extended-release Kapvay tablet is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. It should be taken around the same time each day.

Do not use two forms of clonidine at the same time. The Catapres brand of clonidine is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). The Kapvay brand is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses or take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (preferably not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. It is NOT known if this medicine is excreted in breast milk. It is recommended that you DO NOT breast-feed while taking this medicine unless your doctor or pediatrician has told you to.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.


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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2018). Kapvay. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By Christine Traxler, M.D.
Published on All rights reserved.