Clonidine - oral
Clonidine - oral
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. Clonidine belongs to a class of drugs (central alpha agonists) that act in the brain to lower blood pressure. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for hot flashes that occur with menopause, for withdrawal symptoms from narcotic drugs, and to help people quit smoking.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily (in the morning and at bedtime). If the doses are not equal, take the larger dose at bedtime to decrease the risk of side effects.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue 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. You may experience symptoms such as nervousness, agitation, shaking, and headache. A rapid rise in blood pressure may also occur if the drug is suddenly stopped. The risk is greater if you have used this drug for a long time or in high doses, or if you are also taking a beta blocker (such as atenolol). There have also been rare reports of severe, possibly fatal reactions (such as stroke) from stopping this drug too quickly. Therefore, it is important that you do not run out of clonidine or miss any doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you are unable to take the medication (for example, due to vomiting). To prevent any reactions while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
When used for a long time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing or an additional medication. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well (such as your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, or constipation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
In the US -
Before taking clonidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it (including having a rash while using clonidine patches); 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:
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. Avoid 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).
Contact lens wearers may need to use wetting eye drops since this medication can cause dry eyes.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this product, especially dizziness, or drowsiness. These side effects may increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
Some products have ingredients that could raise your blood pressure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/naproxen).
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness/drowsiness, fainting, slow/irregular heartbeat, slow/shallow breathing, seizures.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Check your blood pressure and pulse (heart rate) regularly while taking this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure and pulse at home, and share the results with your doctor.
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. If you miss 2 or more doses in a row, contact your doctor right away.
Information last revised October 2018.
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