Clonidine is a common name for Catapres.
Clonidine works by slowing the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels. You can take clonidine alone or in combination with other medications to lower blood pressure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved clonidine in 1974 for the pharmaceutical company BoehringerIngelheim under the trademark Catapres.
In 2009, the FDA approved general forms of clonidine for several pharmaceutical companies. Kapvay is another name for clonidine.
According to the National Institute of Health and other sources, doctors often prescribe clonidine for the treatment of other conditions, including:
- Painful menstrual periods
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Detoxification from addiction to opioid drugs (heroin, for example)
- Alcohol abuse
- Severe diarrhea
- Severe cancer pain (in combination with other drugs)
According to the report published in 2014, clonidine is often abused in combination with opioid drugs, such as heroin.
The authors of the report wrote: “Clonidine is reported to increase and expand the opioid effect and reduce the amount of psychoactive drug consumed. Clonidine may be easier to acquire than some other drugs because of limited awareness of its potential for abuse and cost. “
Symptoms of clonidine dependence or abuse may include:
- Inability to monitor the use of clonidine
- Ignoring your responsibilities at home, at work or at school due to the use of clonidine
- Use of clonidine, despite problems with physical or mental health
- Increased tolerance or the need for more clonidine to perceive its effects
Discontinuation of clonidine
It is dangerous to stop taking clonidine because it can cause a dangerous withdrawal reaction.
Symptoms of withdrawal of clonidine may include:
- Tremor or shaking
- Rapid increase in blood pressure
You may have an increased risk of high blood pressure if you are taking high-dose clonidine or if you are taking it with another blood pressure medication.
In rare cases, this reaction can be fatal.
Do not stop taking clonidine by yourself. If you need to stop taking clonidine, your doctor will tell you how to gradually reduce the dose for several days.
Always tell your doctor if you have any medications.
Talk with your doctor about the danger of a sudden discontinuation of clonidine, especially if you have any upcoming surgical procedures.
Use clonidine cautiously if you have heart problems.
Your doctor will also want to know if you have or have had any of these conditions:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Impaired heart rate
- Kidney disease
Clonidine and pregnancy
If you are a woman, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you are breast-feeding.
There is insufficient evidence of whether it is safe to take clonidine during pregnancy, but experts know that clonidine passes into breast milk.
If you become pregnant while taking clonidine, tell your doctor immediately. In addition, ask your doctor about breastfeeding before taking clonidine.
Children under the age of 12 should not take clonidine.
Clonidine: side effects
The most common side effects of clonidine are dry mouth, drowsiness and dizziness.
You may get dizzy if you suddenly get up while using clonidine. These side effects are usually not serious and decrease over time, but if you have side effects from clonidine, tell your doctor.
It is especially important to consult a doctor immediately if you have any of these side effects:
- Rash or urticaria
- Labored breathing
- Difficulty with swallowing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips or eyes
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, or hands
Other possible side effects:
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased interest in sex or problems with sex
- Weight gain
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Blurred vision
You may be more at risk of side effects of clonidine if you are 65 years or older. Ask your doctor if there are safer options for you than clonidine.
Some drugs can affect the work of clonidine, and clonidine may affect other medicines that you take.
It is very important that your doctor knows about all the medicines that you take, including any over-the-counter medications, illegal or recreational drugs, herbs or herbal preparations, dietary or nutritional supplements.
If you take clonidine along with alcohol, some side effects, such as drowsiness, can become more serious.
Some drugs used to treat heart disease can also interact with clonidine and cause side effects.
Types of drugs that interact with clonidine:
- Drugs of pressure, such as (Sectral), (Tenormin, Tenoretic) and (Kerlone)
- Amlodipine, (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac) and Felodipine (Plendil, in Lexxel)
- Cardiac preparations (Digitek, Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin)
- Antidepressants, especially such as Clomipramine (Anafranil), Desipramine (Norpramine), and Sinequan
- Sleeping Pills
- Phenytoin and levetiracetam
Clonidine can cause you drowsiness, so do not drive or participate in any dangerous activities until you learn how clonidine affects you.
Drinking alcohol or using sedatives can also increase side effects.
Dosage of clonidine
Clonidine is supplied in tablets of 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 milligrams (mg), and your doctor will try to find the lowest dose of clonidine that will affect you.
Clonidine is usually taken twice a day at about the same time. A typical dosage schedule for an adult with high blood pressure is 0.1 mg in the morning and at bedtime.
Your doctor can increase your dose by 0.1 mg every week until you have a good response to treatment. In most cases, the daily dose will be from 0.2 to 0.6 mg.
People over 65 years of age and people with kidney disease may need to take lower doses of clonidine.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- High blood pressure, accompanied by low blood pressure
- Labored breathing
- Low body temperature
Symptoms usually occur within 30 minutes after an overdose, and the symptoms of overdose are more common in children than in adults.
A large overdose can cause abnormal heart rhythms, inability to breathe, seizures and to whom.
In case of an overdose, call the Toxicology Center.
Missed dose of clonidine
Take clonidine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less.
If you miss a dose of clonidine, take it as soon as you remember. If it is time to take the next dose, skip it and continue the regular dosing schedule.
Do not double your dose to compensate for missed.