Antihypertensives for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
These medicines are usually used to reduce high blood
pressure, but they are often combined with stimulants for the treatment of
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
How It Works
It is not known exactly how these
medicines work when used to treat
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They
appear to affect the body's production of norepinephrine, a brain chemical that
helps control moods.
Why It Is Used
These medicines are useful in
treating children who have ADHD, especially those who have repetitive muscle
movements (tics) or significant problems controlling their
impulses and aggression.
How Well It Works
Research has shown that when
clonidine is used with a stimulant medicine, it reduces aggressive and
antihypertensives seem to improve symptoms in some people who have ADHD, especially
those with symptoms of frustration, extreme hyperactivity, and aggressiveness.
They are also used for children with ADHD and tic disorders.
Guanfacine seems to be as effective as (or more
effective than) clonidine in treating ADHD and causes less drowsiness.
People with ADHD may show a greater improvement in symptoms when
guanfacine is given in combination with psychostimulants.
The most common side effects of
clonidine and guanfacine are drowsiness and dizziness. But these symptoms seem
to go away after a few weeks of treatment. No serious side effects have been
associated with these medicines, and changes in blood pressure are
Very rare side effects of clonidine include
depression and irregular heartbeat.
See Drug Reference for a full
list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Clonidine is not given to people
who have heart or blood vessel diseases.
Tips for taking clonidine
- Don't stop taking the medicine without
talking with your doctor, because your blood pressure might rise too
- Take the medicine daily, as prescribed.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Hazell LH, Stuart JE (2003). A randomized controlled
trial of clonidine added to psychostimulant medication for hyperactive and
aggressive children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(8): 886-894.