What is GUANFACINE HCL?
(GUANFACINE HCL) This medication is used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Guanfacine acts in the brain. It decreases certain nerve signals from the brain to the blood vessels and the heart. This causes the blood vessels to relax so that blood can flow more easily and also slows the heart rate. These effects help to lower blood pressure.
How should I use GUANFACINE HCL?
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily at bedtime. The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. It may take several weeks before you get the full benefit of this medication. Keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as headache, nervousness, agitation, tremor, fast heartbeat, and high blood pressure. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (for example, your routine blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
What should I tell my health care provider before I take GUANFACINE HCL?
Before taking guanfacine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, personal/family history of mental/mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts). This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially hallucinations and mental/mood changes. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness (more likely when standing up), drowsiness, slow heartbeat, or depression. Dizziness and drowsiness can increase the risk of falling. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What may interact with GUANFACINE HCL?
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), and opioid pain relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cough-and-cold products, diet aids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for pain/fever reduction) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness or could increase your blood pressure or heart rate. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
What if I miss a dose of GUANFACINE HCL?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What side effects may I notice from receiving GUANFACINE HCL?
Dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, tiredness, and weakness may occur. Decreased sexual ability has been reported rarely. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute. To lower your risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fast/slow heartbeat, fainting, mental/mood changes (such as depression, hallucinations, confusion, thoughts of suicide). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep GUANFACINE HCL?
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.