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Understanding the Effects of Clonidine and Pediatric Uses


Clonidine long-acting tablets (Kapvay) are approved to treat ADHD in children and adolescents age 6 to 17 years old. Unlike most other ADHD medications, clonidine is not a stimulant and is not a controlled substance. It is approved to be used alone or in combination with a stimulant.

How Does Clonidine Work?

Clonidine belongs to a group of medications known as alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. It works by stimulating alpha-2 receptors in the brain stem. This causes a decrease in both blood pressure and heart rate. There is also some evidence that clonidine may decrease certain substances (such as renin or aldosterone) in the body, an action that might also contribute to decreased blood pressure.
When used in an epidural to treat pain, clonidine works by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. It is unknown how clonidine works for ADHD.

Clonidine Use in Children or Teens

Clonidine patches and tablets are not approved for use in children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using clonidine in children. It is important to keep in mind that children often have stomach illnesses that cause nausea and vomiting (which may make taking medications impossible). This could lead to serious problems that occur if clonidine is stopped suddenly.
Previous versions of the prescribing information for clonidine tablets and patches stated that the medication was approved for use in children as young as 12 years old. The current prescribing information states that these medications are not approved for use in children.
Epidural clonidine is approved for use in children who are old enough to tolerate the epidural insertion and management.
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Clonidine HCL Medication Information

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