NCLEX Pharm Focus
Does Pharmacology cause you much anxiety? According to the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN), Pharmacological and Parental Therapy represent 12-18% of the RN NCLEX exam while 11-17% represent a portion of the PN NCLEX exam. With this in mind, familiarizing yourself with the commonly asked medications is an important part of your NCLEX preparation.

Clonidine hydrochloride

Brand Name(s):

  • Catapres

Pharmacologic Class:

  • Centrally acting alpha agonist
  • Essential and renal hypertension


  • Unknown. Thought to stimulate alpha2 receptors and inhibit the central vasomotor centers, decreasing sympathetic outflow to the heart, kidneys, and peripheral vasculature, and lowering peripheral vascular resistance, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Adverse Reactions:
  • CNS: drowsiness, dizziness, sedation, weakness
  • CV: bradycardia, severe rebound hypertension
  • GI: constipation, dry mouth, nausea
  • Skin: pruritus, dermatitis with transdermal patch
Nursing Considerations:
  • Monitor blood pressure and pulse rate frequently.
  • Elderly patients may be more sensitive than younger ones to drug’s hypotensive effects.
  • Noticeable antihypertensive effects of transdermal clonidine may take 2 to 3 days.
  • Don’t confuse clonidine with quinidine or clomiphene; or Catapres with Cetapred or Combipres.
  • Closely monitor blood pressure if administered with beta blockers: may cause life-threatening hypertension.

Patient Teaching:

  • Advise patient that stopping drug abruptly may cause severe rebound high blood pressure. Tell him dosage must be reduced gradually over 2 to 4 days, as instructed by prescriber.
  • Tell patient to take the last dose immediately before bedtime.
  • Reassure patient that the transdermal patch usually remains attached despite showering and other routine daily activities. Also tell him to place patch at a different site each week.
Phone: 1-650-303-5488
Office: 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P
South San Francisco, CA 94080

D&D Nursing Educators, Inc., 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P South San Francisco, CA 94080

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