Compare Norvasc vs. Catapres

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

Norvasc
(Amlodipine)

Catapres
(Clonidine)

Lowers blood pressure. Norvasc (Amlodipine) works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain. 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
5.089655172413793Norvasc
Reviews for Norvasc (Amlodipine)
59%
of people say Norvasc (Amlodipine) is worth it
50%
say it works well
14%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Catapres (Clonidine)
42%
17% vs. Norvasc (Amlodipine)
33%
17% vs. Norvasc (Amlodipine)
34%
20% vs. Norvasc (Amlodipine)
Side effects
NorvascCatapres
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 10%
  • Fatigue 2%
  • Nausea 1%
  • Dizziness 1%
More Norvasc 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
NorvascCatapres
Norvasc (Amlodipine) 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
NorvascCatapres
Antihypertensive
Calcium channel blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Alpha agonist
Prescription only
Available as
NorvascCatapres
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
NorvascCatapres
Risk factors for serious side effects
NorvascCatapres
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of heart problems
  • Liver disease
  • History of blood vessel disease
  • History of heart failure
  • History of kidney disease
  • Obesity
Detailed Norvasc (Amlodipine) 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
NorvascCatapres
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
  • Norvasc (Amlodipine) can cause varying degrees of swelling in your limbs. The most commonly affected areas are your feet, ankles, legs, or occasionally your arms. Swelling may be worse if you have other conditions that makes it hard for your body to get rid of fluids such as congestive heart failure or kidney disease. If your swelling is caused by Norvasc (Amlodipine), it should improve when you stop taking the medication. If the swelling is bothersome, a different medication may be better for you.
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
NorvascCatapres
  • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
  • Calcium channel blockers work especially well for African Americans to lower blood pressure.
  • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Prevents heart-related chest pain (angina) if you take it regularly.
  • Each dose lasts longer than other calcium channel blockers, which keeps blood pressure consistent without big ups and downs.
  • Particularly good at lowering systolic blood pressure (the top number), so it's a good option for older people who can commonly get high blood pressure only in the top number.
  • 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
NorvascCatapres
  • 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 Amlodipine than men.
  • Some people might experience flushing with this medication.
  • You can't miss doses. Stopping Amlodipine suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • If you have severe heart disease, using Amlodipine might increase your risk of chest pain or heart attack during the time right after starting the medication or raising the dosage.
  • Might not be a good choice if you have liver disease.
  • 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
NorvascCatapres
  • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
  • Interacts with the cholesterol medicine Simvastatin.
  • Can cause ankle or foot swelling.
  • Can cause gum overgrowth. Ask your dentist to check for this side effect.
  • 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 NorvascSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about CatapresSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert