How does Clonidine lower blood pressure?

Clonidine belongs to the alpha-agonist hypotensive class of medication. It reduces your blood pressure by decreasing the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. Clonidine can be used alone or in combination with other medications. Clonidine does not cure your high blood pressure, but it helps in reducing your blood pressure.

How to use Clonidine, dosage and frequency

Clonidine is available as a tablet that is to be taken by mouth. Clonidine is usually taken twice a day; the two doses should be evenly spaced. The extended tablet is to be taken with or without food. Take the medication at the same time around every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, ask your healthcare professional in case of any queries. Do not take more or less than prescribed by your doctor. Swallow the extended-release tablets whole, do not split, crush, or crush them.

Clonidine is available in 0.1 mg, 0.2mg and 0.3 mg tablets. Also, it is available as 0.1 mg extended release tablet.  

You should continue taking Clonidine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will start with a low dose and gradually increase your dose. 

Common side effects of Clonidine

Like all other medications, Clonidine also may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if the below-mentioned symptoms do not go away or are severe: 

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Headache 
  • Weakness
  • Constipation 
  • Decreased sexual ability 
  • Tiredness 
  • Nervousness 
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Some of the side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the below side effects: 

  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyes, throat, tongue, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs 
  • Hoarseness 
  • Rash 
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Hives 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 

This is not a complete list of side effects; you may experience other side effects. Call your doctor if you experience any unusual or persistent problems while using this medication.

What are the most important warnings and contraindications of Clonidine

Inform your healthcare professional if you are allergic to Clonidine or any of its ingredients. Do not forget to share if you have any other allergies. Inform your health worker about other prescription, non-prescription medications, and nutritional supplements that you are taking. Also, inform about vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking or planning to take. 

  • Inform your doctor if you ever had a stroke, a recent heart attack
  • Kidney disease 
  • Heart disease 
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, inform your doctor that you are taking Clonidine 
  • Inform your doctor if you are planning to get pregnant, or get pregnant while on treatment, or breastfeeding 
  • You must not consume alcohol while taking the medication. Alcohol may make the side effects from the Clonidine worse
  • If you are 65 and above, ask about the potential risks and benefits of the treatment 
  • Clonidine may make you feel drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how it affects you
  • Clonidine may cause dizziness or light-headedness and fainting when you stand up too quickly from a lying position. To avoid this problem, get out of the bed slowly, resting your feet on your floor for a few minutes before up.
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You must inform your physician if you are taking the following medications: 

  • Antidepressants 
  • Acebutolol 
  • Atenolol 
  • Betaxolol 
  • Bisoprolol 
  • Amlodipine 
  • Diltiazem 
  • Nifedipine 
  • Nimodipine 
  • Digoxin 
  • Verapamil 
  • Amoxapine 
  • Clomipramine 
  • Desipramine 
  • Nortriptyline 
  • Trimipramine 

The list mentioned above is not comprehensive, and other drugs may interact with Clonidine. You should mention all the medications you are taking and consult your doctor before starting the medication. 

Here is some more information on hypertension for you

High blood pressure is a condition in which the blood force in your arteries is higher, which eventually causes health problems (cardiac disorders).

The average blood pressure value is 120/80 mm/Hg. High blood pressure would be defined as any value above 140/90 mm/Hg. In many cases, high blood pressure does not show any symptoms. But uncontrolled hypertension puts you at serious risk of health problems. 

If you have high blood pressure and your physician has prescribed you Clonidine, this article will help you understand more about hypertension and Clonidine. 

What are the most common signs and symptoms of hypertension?

Hypertension is often known as the silent killer as it does not show any signs and symptoms for most people. 

However, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for which is suggestive of high blood pressure; these include: 

  • Early morning headaches
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Irregular heart rhythms 
  • Vision changes 
  • Buzzing in ears 
  • Fatigue 
  • Nausea 
  • Confusion 
  • Vomiting 
  • Chest pain 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Muscle tremors 

What causes high blood pressure?

When hypertension has no identifiable cause, it is known as Essential (primary) hypertension. 90% of the cases belong to this type of high blood pressure. When an underlying condition causes high blood pressure, it is known as secondary hypertension. 

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You may be at risk of developing high blood pressure if you: 

  • Consume too much salt and do not eat vegetables and fruits 
  • Age above 65 
  • History of blood pressure in your family 
  • Are overweight 
  • Smoke 
  • Drink too much alcohol 
  • Do not get proper sleep 
  • Lack of physical activity 
  • Have problems in your blood vessels 
  • Consume drugs (amphetamines and cocaine)
  • Have thyroid problems
  • Have kidney disease 
  •  Have adrenal disorder

Hypertension treatment, lifestyle changes and medication to manage it properly

If you are recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, your physician will advise you to make lifestyle changes. Some of the changes you make will help to reduce high blood pressure. 

Some of the below-mentioned changes will reduce blood pressure within a matter of weeks, while others may take longer: 

  • Reduce salt intake 
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables 
  • Exercise 
  • Be active 
  • Lose weight 
  • Cut down on alcohol 
  • Stop smoking 
  • Avoid the use of tobacco 
  • Limiting the intake of high saturated fats

The type of medication your doctor will prescribe for treating high blood pressure will depend on your blood pressure values and overall health. Your physician will aim to keep blood pressure less than 130/80 mm Hg. 

Medications used to treat high blood pressure include:

  • Diuretics 
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors 
  • Calcium channel blockers 
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers 
  • Alpha-blockers 
  • Beta-blockers 
  • Alpha-beta blockers 
  • Vasodilators 

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