What is clonidine?

Clonidine lowers blood pressure by decreasing the levels of certain chemicals in your blood. This allows your blood vessels to relax and your heart to beat more slowly and easily.

Clonidine is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). It is sometimes used together with other blood pressure medications.

Clonidine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to clonidine.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before you take clonidine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease or severe coronary artery disease;
  • a heart rhythm disorder;
  • a history of heart attack or stroke;
  • kidney disease; or
  • if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a clonidine transdermal skin patch (Catapres TTS).

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known if clonidine is harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Clonidine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not take this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 12 years old.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of clonidine.

Clonidine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath) followed by low blood pressure (feeling light-headed, fainting), drowsiness, cold feeling, slow heart rate, shallow breathing, weakness, fainting, or pinpoint pupils.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • a very slow heart rate (fewer than 60 beats per minute);
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • fever, pale skin;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all; or
  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • feeling dizzy, drowsy, tired, or nervous;
  • dry mouth;
  • dry or burning eyes, blurred vision;
  • headache, muscle or joint pain;
  • nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • urinating more at night;
  • mild skin rash or itching; or
  • decreased sex drive, impotence.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

Before taking clonidine, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by clonidine.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • clonidine transdermal skin patches (Catapres TTS);
  • digitalis (digoxin, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);
  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon);
  • a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others;
  • a calcium channel blocker such as amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Tiazac, Cartia, Cardizem), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), and others; or
  • any other drugs to treat high blood pressure or heart problems.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with clonidine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Catapres, Catapres-TTS-1, Catapres-TTS-2, Catapres-TTS-3, Duraclon, and clonidine

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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