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If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or ADHD, you may be thinking about taking ganfacine. What is ganfacine? And do you need a prescription to get it? Keep reading to find out all this and more.
By law, you have to have an appointment with a doctor who can independently determine that you need guanfacine for your condition.
The good news is, HealthTap can help with that! You can schedule an appointment with your doctor online. They can help diagnose you and, if necessary, write you an online prescription that’s sent to your local pharmacy.
There are two main types of guanfacine:
Tablets under the brand name Tenex are used to treat high blood pressure.
Long-acting tablets under the brand name Intuniv are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Obviously, high blood pressure/hypertension and ADHD are two completely different conditions. Guanfacine can be used to treat both, and is usually combined with other medications and therapies when used to treat ADHD.
With high blood pressure, guanfacine controls certain nerve impulses and as a result, relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.
When guanfacine is used to treat ADHD—most often in children and teens—it increases attention and decreases restlessness.
The dosage is unique for each person and your doctor will tell you what the right amount is for you. Always take prescription medication according to what your doctor tells you.
Generally speaking, you can expect your recommended guanfacine dosage to fall somewhere in this range:
Tablets for high blood pressure: 1 milligram (mg), once per day when you go to bed.
Extended-dose tablets for ADHD: 1 mg, once per day for anyone 6 and up, and usually never more than 4 mg per day.
You should never take double doses, and if you miss a dose for two or more days in a row, you should check in with your doctor to find out what to do.
When guanfacine is working well for you, you’ll notice that your blood pressure is lower, or, if you’re taking it for ADHD, that you’re more focused and less distractible. You may also experience sharper memory and better impulse control.
However, you may also have less pleasant side effects like:
Loss of appetite.
Rare side effects could include:
Shortness of breath.
Swelling of the hands or feet.
Yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Lastly, cardiovascular side effects could include orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, and palpitations.
Guanfacine is generally a safe and effective drug for the treatment of high blood pressure and ADHD. But it does require diligence on your part and your doctor’s. Here are some things to keep and eye on.
See your doctor regularly to make sure the medication is working and that you should continue taking it.
Measure your heart rate before and while taking guanfacine. If you’re ever outside the range your doctor recommends, call them immediately.
Don’t stop taking guanfacine suddenly, as it could cause an unsafe increase in blood pressure.
If you’re having surgery, tell the doctor performing the procedure that you’re taking guanfacine (including dental surgery).
Check with your doctor before you use alcohol or CNS depressants—guanfacine will increase the effects of these substances.
Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how the medicine affects you.
Check with your doctor or dentist if dry mouth persists for more than two weeks. Long-term dryness can increase the risk of dental disease.
Check with your doctor before you take any other medications, including over-the-counter medicine and herbal supplements.
It can cause weight gain. Weight loss is less common, but some people experience loss of appetite, and over time, that could lead to weight loss.
If you experience either, talk to your doctor.
No, there’s no proven study to suggest guanfacine affects growth for children who take it.
Do not do this.
Guanfacine, like many prescription medications, is designed in tablet form so that it releases into your body gradually. Never take any medication except as directed by your doctor.
Yes. If you experience extreme dizziness, tiredness, or weakness, call 911 immediately.
Drowsiness is more likely, but guanfacine can cause sleeplessness in some cases.
Not without checking with your doctor first. This includes over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements.
Talk to your doctor about this.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend dietary changes in conjunction with taking guanfacine to treat your condition. Additionally, you should check with your doctor before you consume alcohol, since guanfacine can enhance its effects.
For children taking guanfacine for ADHD, doctors often recommend avoiding foods that are high in fat.
No, but it can help. Guanfacine is usually used in combination with other therapies and/or drugs for the treatment of ADHD.
If you have any quesiton about getting a prescription, consult your online doctor at HealthTap.