Compare Nifedipine vs. Catapres

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

Procardia
(Nifedipine)

Catapres
(Clonidine)

Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Nifedipine works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain, but you have to be okay with avoiding grapefruit. 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
3.6Nifedipine
Reviews for Procardia (Nifedipine)
40%
of people say Procardia (Nifedipine) is worth it
28%
say it works well
48%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Catapres (Clonidine)
42%
+2% vs. Procardia (Nifedipine)
33%
+5% vs. Procardia (Nifedipine)
34%
+14% vs. Procardia (Nifedipine)
Side effects
NifedipineCatapres
  • Leg or ankle swelling 19%
  • Flushing 17%
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, giddiness 12%
  • Muscle cramps, tremor 5%
  • Nervousness, mood changes 3%
  • Headache 3%
  • Dyspnea, cough, wheezing 3%
  • Nausea, heartburn 3%
  • Heart pounding or racing sensation 2%
  • Dizziness 2%
More Nifedipine 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
NifedipineCatapres
Nifedipine 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
NifedipineCatapres
Antihypertensive
Calcium channel blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Alpha agonist
Prescription only
Available as
NifedipineCatapres
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
NifedipineCatapres
Risk factors for serious side effects
NifedipineCatapres
  • Taking anti-inflammatories, acid reducers in the stomach, anticholinergics, laxatives, levothyroxine
  • History of intestinal surgery
  • Taking beta-blockers
  • Severe coronary artery disease.
  • History of cirrhosis
    • History of tight aortic stenosis
    • Taking beta-blockers
    • Obstructive coronary artery disease
    Detailed Procardia (Nifedipine) 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
    NifedipineCatapres
    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
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.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
    NifedipineCatapres
    • 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
    NifedipineCatapres
    • 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 Nifedipine than men.
    • You can't miss doses. Stopping Nifedipine 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 love grapefruit. It can make Nifedipine have a stronger effect on your blood pressure.
    • 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
    NifedipineCatapres
    • Can cause dizziness or headaches in the first few days.
    • Can cause face flushing and ankle or foot swelling.
    • Avoid grapefruit 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 NifedipineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about CatapresSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert