Compare Atenolol vs. Catapres

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Tenormin
(Atenolol)

Catapres
(Clonidine)

Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Tenormin (Atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating a heart attack. It has fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You need to take it on an empty stomach and you can't skip doses.Lowers blood pressure. Catapres (Clonidine) is a good addition if you need more than one medicine to control your blood pressure, but it has a lot of side effects. You can't miss doses.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
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4.92Atenolol
Reviews for Tenormin (Atenolol)
58%
of people (All ages) say Tenormin (Atenolol) is worth it
48%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
457 reviews
Have you used Tenormin (Atenolol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Catapres (Clonidine)
42%
16% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
33%
15% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
35%
19% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
Have you used Catapres (Clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AtenololCatapres

The Atenolol FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Atenolol side effects »

The Catapres FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Catapres side effects »
How it works
AtenololCatapres
Tenormin (Atenolol) is a selective beta blocker that works specifically on the heart by slowing down the heart and making the heart pump better.Catapres (Clonidine) is an alpha-2 agonist. It works in the brain to tell your blood vessels to relax, and it lowers the activity of certain stress hormones. This lowers blood pressure.
Type of medication
AtenololCatapres
Antihypertensive
Beta blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Alpha agonist
Prescription only
Available as
AtenololCatapres
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
AtenololCatapres
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtenololCatapres
  • Suddenly stopping Tenormin (Atenolol)
  • Taking calcium channel blockers
  • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
  • Diabetes
  • Taking clonidine
Detailed risks & warnings »
  • Sudden discontinuation of medicine
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Using other medicine(s) that slows the heart
Detailed risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Sleep
AtenololCatapres
No sleep related info.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
Upsides and benefits
AtenololCatapres
  • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
  • A first-choice treatment for heart attack recovery.
  • At lower doses, Tenormin (Atenolol) has fewer side effects than other beta blockers because it targets the heart and not other parts of the body.
  • Can be added to other blood pressure-lowering medicines if you need additional blood pressure control.
  • Available in a weekly patch for people that aren't good at taking medicine by mouth.
  • Works in the brain, so it can help treat some nervous system and psychiatric conditions.
  • Under the brand name Kapvay, it's used to treat ADHD in children and teenagers.
Downsides and risks
AtenololCatapres
  • You need to take Tenormin (Atenolol) on an empty stomach.
  • Taking a beta blocker might make you feel more tired or out of breath during exercise or normal daily routines. This gets better for most people, but it might not go away for others.
  • Not a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure unless you have heart disease. However, your doctor could add it to other medicines you're already if your blood pressure is still too high.
  • You can't miss or skip doses. If you stop Tenormin (Atenolol) suddenly, it can cause your blood pressure to go up really quickly, raising your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Tenormin (Atenolol) can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
  • Has a lot of side effects compared to other blood pressure-lowering medicine because it works in the brain.
  • The pill form can make some people sleepy, dizzy, and have dry mouth.
  • You can't miss doses. Stopping Clonidine suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
AtenololCatapres
  • Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Raises good cholesterol.
  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, fever, or weakness.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice dark urine or yellowing in your eyes or skin.
  • Usually taken together with other medicines for better blood pressure control.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
  • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
  • If side effects don't go away, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
  • The weekly patch form can have fewer side effects.
  • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
  • Extended release tablet also used to treat ADHD.
Learn more
More about AtenololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Tenormin (Atenolol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about CatapresSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Catapres (Clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it