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Clonidine Dosage And Dosing Considerations & Warnings

clonidine dosages

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Clonidine has different dosage forms and strengths. A clonidine dose is prescribed in different amounts depending on age, weight, and condition treated, etc. To avoid any complications, the patients should know the clonidine dosing information, including dosage forms and strengths, when and how to take the medication, what to do in case of a missed dose, and so on. Still, following the doctor’s instructions is of great importance.

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Learn About Clonidine Dosage:

Clonidine Dosage Forms And Strengths

Oral Solution (Catapres IR)

Catapres immediate-release has three dosing strengths, with the Catapres max dose strength being 0.3mg. With the lowest clonidine price being $0.18 per 0.1mg pill, here is a summary of Catapres pill strengths:

DoseColorImprint
0.1mg pillTanBI 6
0.2mg pillOrangeBI 7
0.3mg pillPeachBI 11

Oral Solution (Kapvay ER)

Initially, Kapvay extended-release (ER) tablets were available in 0.1mg and 0.2mg strengths. Today, only 0.1mg is distributed. Both clonidine tablets are white, non-stored, standard convex with corresponding debossing on a single side. The 0.1mg clonidine pill is round, while the 0.2mg one is oval in shape.

Patients are advised not to make a switch from immediate-release to extended-release tablets without a doctor’s consultation since these clonidine doses work differently.  Such a switch may intensify the existing side effects of clonidine and make them more uncomfortable.

Transdermal Solution (Catapres-TTS ER)

DoseNameCode
0.1mg patchCatapres TTS-1BI-31
0.2mg patchCatapres TTS-2BI-32
0.3mg patchCatapres TTS-3BI-33

The clonidine transdermal patches are available in a carton of 4 patches or by the peace. Depending on the strength, the packs are different in color, while the patches are tan. Every carton includes 4 patches and 4 adhesive covers.

It is important to stick to the directed schedule of using clonidine patches. If the patient forgets to use a patch in time, there is a possibility of developing clonidine withdrawal symptoms.

Injectable Solution (Duraclon)

Clonidine hydrochloride injectable solution is available in 10mL vials, which are colorless and do not pollute the environment when discarded after use. The injectable clonidine dosage forms include 100mcg/mL and 500mcg/mL vials.

Oral Suspension (ER)

Clonidine ER oral suspension varies in color from light beige to a tan-like. The suspension is supplied in bottles containing  4 fluid ounces (118mL), which have approximately 0.09 mg clonidine base per mL. It is advisable not to operate heavy machinery or drive due to the sedative effects of the Catapres dosage.

The product form affects the half-life of clonidine, but insignificantly. On average, it is 5-20 hours.

Clonidine Dosage For Hypertension

Oral Solution

Age groupInitialMaximal
Adults0.1mg orally twice a day2.4mg per day
Children & Adolescents 12+ years0.1mg orally twice a day2.4mg per day
Children younger than 12 yearsNot recommendedNot recommended

Clonidine class is an alpha-agonist hypotensive agent. For titration, increments of 0.1mg from the initial dosage are advised for the patients on a weekly basis. The target dose is achieved based on clinical response. The clonidine maximum dose daily should not be more than 2.4mg for all age groups. The efficacy and safety of clonidine for kids under the age of 12 years have not been established; therefore, usage is discouraged.

Although it is unrecommended, the treatment of children younger than 12 years old starts with 5-10 mcg/kg per day taken in divided doses during equal intervals between 8 and 12 hours. The maximum daily dose is 25 mcg/kg or 0.9 mg.

Transdermal Solution

Age groupInitialMaximal
Adults0.1mg patch per dayTwo 0.3mg patches per day
Children and AdolescentsN/AN/A

Patients should only apply these clonidine transdermal patches in areas of the skin which do not have hair or any injuries. Furthermore, patches should be applied to a different area of skin each time on either the patient’s upper arm or torso. The dosage amount may be increased if there is no improvement after 1 or 2 weeks. For children and adolescents, there is no recommended dose of clonidine transdermal patch.

Dosage For Treatment Hypertensive Urgency/Emergency

An initial Catapres dosage of between 0.1 to 0.2mg can be given to patients for treatment of hypertensive urgency or emergency in adults. The dose for children and adolescents is 2-5 mcg/kg taken every 6-8 hours, with a maximum amount of 10 mcg/kg.

Catapres for ADHD

Clonidine Dosage For ADHD

Oral Solution (Kapvay ER tablets)

Kapvay ER tablets should only be used for children above the age of 6 years. The initial clonidine pediatric dose is 0.1mg, which should be taken orally just before sleep. An increase of 0.1mg per day every week can be done until a clonidine max dose of 0.4mg per day given in two doses is achieved.

Oral Solution (Catapres IR tablets)

Patient’s WeightInitialmax
more than 45 kg0.1mg/day at bedtime0.4 mg/day
40.5 to 45 kg0.05mg/day at bedtime0.3 mg/day
27 to 40.5 kg0.05 mg/day at bedtime0.2 mg/day

The starting dose of each weight group should be titrated to the same dose twice, three times, or four times daily if needed, monitoring the clinical response.

Transdermal Solution

The initial dosing requirements for pediatric patients with ADHD are not available. However, for children above the age of six years who are on clonidine ER tablets for ADHD, can be given a transdermal patch of approximately equal dosage amount right after the patient stabilizes and the body gets used to the drug.

Clonidine Dosage For Opiate Withdrawal

The starting dosage for opiate withdrawal is between 0.1mg to 0.2mg in adults. This dosage is increased to a clonidine maximum daily dose of 1mg given in two to four divided doses every day. For young patients, limited data is available. A range of between 2 to 4 mcg/kg per dose may be given in 4 to 6 hours intervals for adolescents and children. However, a doctor’s prescription should be given priority and followed in its entirety as opposed to advice from this article.

Catapres for hot flashes

Clonidine For Hot Flashes Dose

Oral Solution

Adult females having hot flashes due to menopause may take 0.1mg daily dosage once during bedtime or 0.05mg twice daily. The maximum clonidine dosage for hot flashes in adult women is 0.4mg per day.

Transdermal Solution

A single Catapres patch taken once every seven days can be used to manage the condition. The clonidine patch in 24 hours delivers about 0.1 mg.  Catapres is usually not used as a first-line treatment of hot flashes since it is less efficacious and has more side effects compared to other medications.

Clonidine Dosage Modifications

For patients with renal impairment, a low clonidine dosage should be administered initially. Then, based on the condition being treated, the dosage should be titrated upwards with caution. The point is that Catapres therapy in patients with renal impairment may cause bradycardia, sedation, and hypotension.

For patients with hepatic impairment, no specific adjustments are needed. Still, such patients should be closely monitored.

The geriatric population may benefit from a lower initial Catapres dosage.

Dosage modification may be required due to other medications taken simultaneously. Additionally, clonidine drug interactions can cause more potent drowsiness, affecting daily activities.

Can Clonidine Be Crushed?

No, clonidine ER or IR tablets should not be crushed or cut. The drug should also be taken whole and not chewed with or without food. If the prescribed Catapres dosage is too high, it is recommended that patients consult their doctor to reduce the dosage.

Patients are also advised not to mix Catapres with alcohol or other drugs such as opioids. It normally does not matter how much clonidine to get high a patient takes because it does not produce feelings of euphoria. However, when it is mixed with other substances, it increases the duration of the high caused by other drugs.

Missed Dose

In case of a missed Catapres dose, take it as soon as it is remembered. If it is nearly time for the next dose, skip the missed dosage and continue with the normal schedule.

LD50 Dosage

In rats, the LD50 clonidine dosage is 206 mg/kg while in mice, this amount stands at 465mg/kg. There are cases of severe toxicity from unintentional ingestion of clonidine ER tablets or inappropriate dermal application of compounded patches. However, there are no human trials for now. How much clonidine to overdose in humans and its lethal dose depends on many factors and is specific for each case.

Always Stick To Prescribed Dosage

Catapres dosage and forms vary depending on age and the condition being treated. The dosing forms include oral solutions, both extended-release and immediate-release tablets, transdermal solution, injectable solution, and an oral suspension. Patients who abuse the drug are advised to seek professional assistance from addiction centers. These facilities provide all levels of care, as well as individualized addiction treatment programs.

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View Sources
  1. Yasaei R, Saadabadi A. Clonidine. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459124/.
  2. Catapres® (clonidine hydrochloride, USP). Boehringer Ingelheim International. 2009. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/017407s034lbl.pdf.
  3. Highlights Of Prescribing Information: Kapvay. Shionogi Pharma. 2010. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022331s001s002lbl.pdf.
  4. Catapres-TTS® (clonidine). Boehringer Ingelheim International. 2011. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/018891s028lbl.pdf.
  5. Duraclon® (clonidine hydrochloride) injection. Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals. 2009. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/020615s002lbl.pdf.
  6. Highlights Of Prescribing Information: Clonidine Extended Release (ER) Oral Suspension. Tris Pharma. 2009. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/022499lbl.pdf.
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.

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