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Why is this medication prescribed?

Guanfacine is primarily prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose. Guanfacine can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other medications for ADHD management. The medication helps to reduce symptoms associated with ADHD, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It works by stimulating specific receptors in the brain, which leads to improved regulation of attention and behavior.

How should this medicine be used?

Guanfacine should be used exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is important to carefully follow the instructions on the prescription label. The dosage and usage guidelines may vary depending on the individual’s condition and other factors.

Here are some general guidelines for the use of Guanfacine:

  • Dosage: The recommended starting dosage for Guanfacine in the treatment of ADHD is usually a low dose, which may be increased gradually to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. The dosage will be determined by your doctor based on factors such as age, weight, and individual response. Do not adjust the dosage on your own without consulting your doctor.
  • Timing: Guanfacine is typically taken once daily, either in the morning or as directed by your healthcare provider. It can be taken with or without food, but it’s important to be consistent with the timing to establish a routine.
  • Swallowing: Guanfacine tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Do not crush, break, or chew the tablets unless your doctor specifically instructs you to do so.
  • Duration of use: The duration of Guanfacine treatment will depend on your individual circumstances and the condition being treated. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the duration of use and whether the medication needs to be continued or discontinued.
  • Regular follow-up: It is important to attend regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor the effectiveness of the medication and address any concerns or side effects.
  • Abrupt discontinuation: Do not stop taking Guanfacine abruptly without consulting your doctor. Your doctor may gradually reduce the dosage to prevent any potential withdrawal effects.

Other uses for this medicine

Some of the off-label uses of guanfacine include:

  • Hypertension: Guanfacine can be prescribed to lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension. It is often used as an alternative or adjunct to other antihypertensive medications.
  • Tourette syndrome: Guanfacine may be used to manage symptoms of Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Guanfacine has shown promise in reducing certain symptoms associated with PTSD, such as hyperarousal and irritability. However, it is not FDA-approved for this purpose.
  • Anxiety disorders: Guanfacine may be used off-label to manage anxiety symptoms, particularly in individuals who also have ADHD or other comorbid conditions.
  • Sleep disorders: Guanfacine has been investigated for its potential use in managing certain sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep-related movement disorders. However, more research is needed in this area.

It’s important to note that the off-label use of guanfacine should be discussed with a healthcare professional who can evaluate the individual’s specific circumstances and provide guidance.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for precautions, here are some important considerations when taking guanfacine:

  • Inform your healthcare provider about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they can interact with guanfacine and affect its effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects.
  • Guanfacine may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Exercise caution when driving or operating machinery until you know how it affects you.
  • Avoid suddenly stopping guanfacine without consulting your healthcare provider, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Dosage should be gradually tapered under medical supervision.
  • Guanfacine may lower blood pressure, so individuals with low blood pressure or a history of fainting should use it with caution.
  • It is important to take guanfacine exactly as prescribed and not to exceed the recommended dosage.
  • Inform your healthcare provider if you have a history of heart problems, liver disease, kidney disease, or any other significant medical conditions.
  • Guanfacine may interact with certain medications, such as antihypertensives, sedatives, and central nervous system depressants. Be sure to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Guanfacine is typically taken orally, and it can be taken with or without food. However, certain foods and beverages may interact with Guanfacine, so it’s advisable to avoid or limit consumption of the following:

  • Grapefruit and grapefruit juice: Grapefruit can interfere with the metabolism of certain medications, including Guanfacine, potentially increasing its levels in the bloodstream. This can lead to an increased risk of side effects. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking Guanfacine.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol while taking Guanfacine may increase the sedative effects of the medication and impair your coordination and judgment. It’s advisable to avoid or limit alcohol consumption while on this medication.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Guanfacine, here are some general steps to follow:

  • Regular-release tablets: Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, but if it’s close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed one.
  • Extended-release tablets: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember on the same day. However, if you remember the next day, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not take extra tablets to make up for the missed dose.

It’s important to note that these are general instructions, and the specific dosing and instructions for missed doses may vary depending on your doctor’s recommendations. If you’re unsure about what to do, it’s always best to contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Guanfacine is a medication that is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and hypertension (high blood pressure). Like any medication, it can have side effects. Common side effects of guanfacine include:

  • Drowsiness: Guanfacine can cause drowsiness or sedation, especially when starting the medication or when the dosage is increased. This effect may improve with time as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Dry mouth: Some individuals may experience a dry mouth while taking guanfacine. Drinking plenty of fluids and maintaining good oral hygiene can help alleviate this side effect.
  • Headache: Headaches are a possible side effect of guanfacine, but they are generally mild and transient. If headaches persist or worsen, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.
  • Fatigue: Guanfacine can cause fatigue or tiredness in some individuals. It is advisable to avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, until the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: Guanfacine may cause dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up quickly. It is important to change positions slowly to minimize the risk of falls.
  • Constipation: Some individuals may experience constipation while taking guanfacine. Increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, and engaging in regular physical activity can help manage this side effect.
  • Nausea or upset stomach: Guanfacine can occasionally cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or upset stomach. Taking the medication with food may help reduce these symptoms.
  • Low blood pressure: Guanfacine can lower blood pressure, which may cause symptoms such as dizziness or fainting. It is important to monitor blood pressure regularly while taking this medication.
  • Mood changes: In some cases, guanfacine may cause mood changes, including irritability, depression, or anxiety. If these symptoms become severe or concerning, it is important to seek medical advice.
  • Other less common side effects: Guanfacine may also cause less common side effects, such as changes in heart rate, blurred vision, skin rash, or allergic reactions. If any unusual or severe symptoms occur, it is important to contact a healthcare professional.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Keep Guanfacine in its original container or packaging, tightly sealed.
  • Store the medication at room temperature, away from excessive heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Do not store Guanfacine in the bathroom or any place with high humidity.
  • Keep it out of reach and sight of children and pets.


  • Do not dispose of Guanfacine in the regular trash or flush it down the toilet unless specifically instructed to do so.
  • Check with your local pharmacy or waste management authorities for information on drug take-back programs or community disposal options.
  • If no specific disposal instructions are available, mix the medication with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or kitty litter in a sealed plastic bag before throwing it in the trash. This helps prevent accidental ingestion by animals or people.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an emergency or suspected overdose, call your local emergency helpline immediately (e.g., 911 in the United States) or seek urgent medical attention.
  • Provide the medical professionals with as much information as possible, including the amount of Guanfacine taken and the time it was ingested.
  • If someone collapses, has difficulty breathing, experiences seizures, or shows other severe symptoms, do not wait for professional help but call for an ambulance immediately.

What other information should I know?

  • Take Guanfacine exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not alter the dosage or stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any other medications, vitamins, or supplements you are currently taking to avoid potential drug interactions.
  • Guanfacine may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Avoid activities that require alertness until you know how the medication affects you.
  • It is important to attend regular follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your response to Guanfacine and discuss any concerns or side effects you may be experiencing.

Please note that the information provided here is for general knowledge and should not replace the specific instructions and advice given by your healthcare provider.

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