Clonidine is a medication that is used to treat high blood pressure. It is also used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety disorders. Clonidine works by decreasing the amount of norepinephrine in the brain. This results in a decrease in blood pressure and a calming effect.
Clonidine is available as a tablet or an extended-release (long-acting) tablet. The tablets are usually taken two or three times a day. The extended-release tablets are usually taken once a day. Clonidine should be taken at the same time each day.
Clonidine may be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not stop taking clonidine suddenly, or you could experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, increased blood pressure, and anxiety.
Clonidine may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.
Some side effects of clonidine may include drowsiness, dry mouth, and fatigue. These side effects usually go away after a few days. If they persist or become bothersome, inform your doctor.
Serious side effects of clonidine include slow heart rate, fainting, and mental/mood changes. If you experience any of these side effects, seek medical attention immediately.
Clonidine may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you take. Clonidine should not be taken with MAO inhibitors.
Before taking clonidine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, or a history of depression. You may not be able to take clonidine, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.
Clonidine is not recommended for use during pregnancy. This medication may cause low birth weight or birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether clonidine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience side effects from clonidine. You may require a lower dose of this medication.