A Guide to Clonidine


What Is Clonidine?

Clonidine is a prescription medication that comes in the form of an oral tablet or a patch. This drug belongs to a group called centrally acting alpha-agonists and is available in brand-name and generic versions. Brand names for different types of Clonidine include Kapvay, Catapres, and Nexiclon.

Clonidine can decrease the levels of chemicals in the blood, which allows the vessels to relax and lets the heart beat more easily. It can also regulate behavior, mood, and attention. Additionally, Clonidine may prevent strokes, heart attacks, kidney problems, and other complications. It is most commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as ADHD, high blood pressure, and even withdrawal. It should not be used by individuals under six or by senior citizens. Clonidine may be used as part of a combination therapy and should only be used according to dosage.


Is Clonidine A Controlled Substance?

No, Clonidine is not a controlled substance. Its potential for addiction is very low, which is especially beneficial considering it is used by children ages 6-18. However, users may become dependent on Clonidine if they use it for a long period of time.


Side Effects of Clonidine

The side effects of Clonidine use are different for everyone and vary according to dosage. However, there are some common symptoms that could occur. Side effects of Clonidine may include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth & eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Sedation
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nose bleeds
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

These side effects, while unpleasant, are not dangerous or life threatening. Most of these symptoms should also disappear within a few weeks of using Clonidine. If any of these side effects last longer than a few weeks or so, it may be time to change dosage (if cleared by your doctor) or consider an alternative to this drug.


Clonidine Use Warnings

Clonidine, like other prescription drugs, may cause complications even if it isn’t misused. For example, Clonidine may cause allergic reactions or skin rashes. Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Clonidine or similar drugs.

Additionally, Clonidine can only be taken up to four hours before surgery. It should not be taken in the four-hour window before any procedure. It may be taken right away or as recommended by a doctor after surgery is complete.

Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any serious side effects or complications after taking Clonidine, such as:

  • Uneven heart rate
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations

You should not take Clonidine with alcohol or certain other prescription drugs. Tell your doctor if you are on or plan to take any other medications. You should also not use Clonidine if you have a history of dizziness or eye problems, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are not able to take Clonidine or choose not to, there are alternatives to this prescription drug.


Alternatives to Clonidine

Types of alternatives to Clonidine may include therapy or other medications. Talk to your doctor if you don’t think Clonidine is right for you. The drug may also become less effective over time, so it may be necessary to switch prescriptions after a few years.

To learn more about the effects of Clonidine and other prescription medications, contact our team of medical and substance abuse specialists by calling 267.209.7312.