What is Clonidine?
Clonidine is a prescriptional anti-hypertensive drug. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), prevent strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems. Clonidine is often prescribed alone or with other medications for the treatment of blood pressure.
What are the uses of Clonidine?
Clonidine is used to treat hypertension, preventing strokes, heart attacks and kidney associated problems. Clonidine works by lowering natural occurring chemicals in the body that constricts your blood vessels. This, in turn, allows blood vessels to dilate so that blood can flow more easily. It also decreases the load on the heart.
Clonidine is mainly used in the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (For people are aged 6-18 years)
- Heart attacks
- Kidney problems
- Painful abdominal menstrual cramps
- Tourette's syndrome (A condition which is characterized by the need to perform repetitive motions or to repeat sounds or words)
- Menopausal hot flushes
- Smoking Cessation Therapy
- Alcohol and opiate withdrawal
The medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your physician or pharmacist for detailed information.
How do you use Clonidine?
- Read the patient information leaflet if available from the pharmacist before you start taking Clonidine and reach on time you get your refill. Ask your doctor or pharmacist queries if you do not understand anything described on the patient information leaflet.
- It is mainly available as a tablet to be taken orally with food, usually 1 or 2 times or as prescribed by your physician.
- Try to take this tablet daily at the same time.
- Do not use this medication less or more than prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not stop taking this medication abruptly without consulting your doctor.
If You Miss the Dose.
- If you happen to miss a dose of Clonidine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
- However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose.
- Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose.
What are the side-effects and risks of Clonidine?
Like all other medications, Clonidine can cause side effects. However, it is unlikely to happen to everyone. It is important that you are aware of what could be the possible side effects.
Very common side effects:
- Feeling tired
- Dry mouth
Common side effects:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sleeping problems
Uncommon side effects:
- Altered Sensation in hands and feet
- Slow heartbeat
- Raynaud's phenomenon (blood circulation problem to fingers and toes)
Rare side effects:
- Gynecomastia (Breast growth in men)
- Dry eyes
- Irregular heartbeat
- Hair loss
- Increase in blood sugar
- Drying out of the lining of the nose
- Pseudo-obstruction of the large bowel, which causes colicky pain, vomiting and constipation
- Blurred vision
- Abnormally slow heartbeat
- Loss of libido
This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.
Who should not take Clonidine?
You should not take Clonidine if you have the following conditions:
- Raynaud's disease (a problem with circulation to the fingers and toes) or other blood circulation problems, including circulation to the brain
- Heart or kidney problems
- Nerve disorder that causes your hands and feet to feel differently
Talk to your doctor before taking Clonidine if:
- You are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.
- You are allergic to Clonidine or any other ingredients in the tablet
- You are allergic to any other medication.
- You are taking any other drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbal products or nutritional supplements
Besides, certain medicines may interfere with Clonidine's working and thus might not be safe to take them together. Some of them are:
- Medications that make you feel drowsy
- Certain painkillers such as Ibuprofen.
- Medications used to treat depression such as imipramine or mirtazapine
- Beta-blockers such as Atenolol
- Diuretics such as Furosemide
- Alpha-blockers such as Prazosin or Doxazosin
- Vasodilators such as Diazoxide or sodium nitroprusside
- Medications used to treat irregular heartbeats such as diltiazem or Verapamil
- Medications used to treat heart failure such as Digoxin
- ACE inhibitors such as Captopril or Lisinopril
This may not be a comprehensive list, and other drugs may interact with Clonidine. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
When should you not take Clonidine?
You should not take Clonidine if:
- It has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
- The packaging shows signs of tampering.
- Before surgery or dental surgery (at least 24 hrs prior)
This drug may make you dizzy or tired. Hence, consumption of alcohol or any sedative, marijuana (cannabis), tranquilizer, or sleep aid can cause more dizziness. Further, Clonidine may alter your ability to drive or operate machines. It may make you feel dizzy, sick, or tired, and even give a headache. If you feel any of these effects, do not drive or operate machines and immediately contact your doctor.