Clonidine is a medication used to treat high blood pressure or hypertension. This drug works by stimulating certain brain receptors (alpha adrenergic type) which results in the relaxation of blood vessels in the body causing them to widen. Lowering high blood pressure helps in the prevention of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems. Other uses of clonidine are the following:
- To ease withdrawal symptoms associated with long-term use of narcotics, alcohol, and nicotine (smoking).
- To treat migraine headaches
- To treat hot flashes associated with menopause
- To control attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- To treat sleep disturbances, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anxiety disorders
- To treat Tourette syndrome
- To treat diabetic diarrhea
- To treat postherpetic neuralgia
- To treat ulcerative colitis
- To diagnose pheochromocytoma
Side Effects of Clonidine
Serious side effects of clonidine include confusion, hallucination, pale skin, fever, frequent urination or no urination at all, swelling, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath even with mild exertion, slow heart rate (less than 60 beats per minute), fast or pounding heartbeats, and allergic reactions (hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). You should seek medical help if you are feeling these side effects after taking clonidine.
There are also less serious side effects in taking clonidine: dry mouth, blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, muscle or joint pain, headache, dizziness, nervousness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, constipation, frequent urination at night, mild itching and skin rashes, insomnia, impotence, and decreased libido. Seek medical attention if these less serious side effects are persistent or get worse.
Take note that other side effects not mentioned above may occur. Report to your doctor any unusual or bothersome side effect in using clonidine.
Precautions in Using Clonidine
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking clonidine because it can aggravate the side effects of the drug. If you feel sleepy after taking clonidine, don’t drive or use machineries to avoid accidents.
Follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more than or lesser than the dose written in your prescription. Do not stop taking clonidine without asking your doctor even if you feel okay. Suddenly stopping this medication can cause agitation, nervousness, tremors, headaches, severe high blood pressure, or life-threatening symptoms.
Pregnant women should consult their doctors before taking clonidine.
Clonidine may have negative interaction to drugs such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and other drugs for high blood pressure or heart problems.[ad#afterpost]