Compare Calan vs. Catapres

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

Calan
(Verapamil)

Catapres
(Clonidine)

Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Verapamil works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain, but you have to be okay with avoiding alcohol. You can't miss doses, and you might get persistent swelling.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
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
3.761904761904762Calan
Reviews for Calan (Verapamil)
33%
of people say Calan (Verapamil) is worth it
31%
say it works well
21%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Catapres (Clonidine)
42%
+9% vs. Calan (Verapamil)
33%
+2% vs. Calan (Verapamil)
34%
13% vs. Calan (Verapamil)
Side effects
CalanCatapres

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

More about Calan 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
CalanCatapres
Verapamil is a calcium channel blocker. It lowers blood pressure by slowing your heart rate and relaxing your blood vessels. Your heart gets more oxygen and doesn't have to work as hard to pump, which can relieve chest pain.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
CalanCatapres
Antihypertensive
Calcium channel blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Alpha agonist
Prescription only
Available as
CalanCatapres
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
CalanCatapres
Risk factors for serious side effects
CalanCatapres
  • Severe left ventricular dysfunction (ejection fraction <30%)
  • Taking beta-blockers
    • History of liver disease
    • History of kidney disease
    • History of liver disease
    Detailed Calan (Verapamil) 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 Catapres (Clonidine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    CalanCatapres
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    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.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    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.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    • Not a good medication for you if you drink alcohol.
    • Don't drink too much alcohol while taking this medicine.
    No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    • Your doctor may monitor your heart to see if changes to its electrical system may occur, especially if you have had liver or kidney disease in the past.
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    No specific sleep-related info.
    • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    CalanCatapres
    • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
    • Calcium channel blockers work especially well for African Americans to lower blood pressure.
    • You can take it alone or with other medicines to help lower blood pressure.
    • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
    • Prevents heart-related chest pain (angina) if you take it regularly.
    • Treats certain abnormal heart rhythms.
    • 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
    CalanCatapres
    • Calcium channel blockers can cause swelling in your limbs. If this happens for you, it probably won't get better over time, so talk to your doctor about alternatives if it bothers you.
    • Women are more likely to have side effects (especially swelling) from Verapamil than men.
    • You can't miss doses. Stopping Verapamil suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
    • Not a good medication for you if you drink alcohol.
    • 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
    CalanCatapres
    • Interacts with grapefruit and the cholesterol medicine Simvastatin.
    • Can cause constipation and headache.
    • Don't drink too much alcohol while taking this medicine.
    • Your doctor might do routine blood tests to check your liver function.
    • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
    • Usually taken together with other medicines for better blood pressure control.
    • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
    • 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.
    • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
    Learn more
    More about CalanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about CatapresSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert