Why is this medication prescribed?
Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure. It works by decreasing your heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Clonidine comes as a tablet to take by mouth and a patch to apply to the skin. The tablet usually is taken two or three times a day at evenly spaced intervals. The patch is applied to the skin every 7 days. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clonidine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you are using the clonidine patch, ask your doctor or pharmacist for the manufacturer’s patient instructions and read them carefully. To apply the patch, follow these directions:
Clean a relatively hairless area of unbroken skin on your upper arm or chest with mild soap and water and dry it completely.
Peel the clear plastic strip from the adhesive side of a patch.
Attach the patch to your skin by placing the adhesive side against it and pressing firmly. Place an overlay patch provided with your prescription over the top of the patch to secure it.
If the patch loosens before replacement time, place adhesive tape or an overlay patch over the top of the patch to secure it.
If the skin under the patch becomes irritated, remove the patch and replace it with a new one in a different area.
Fold the used patch in half with the sticky sides together and dispose of it carefully. The patch still contains active medication that could be harmful to children or pets. Always be sure to remove the old patch before applying another one.
Clonidine controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take clonidine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking clonidine without talking to your doctor. Do not stop taking clonidine suddenly, that can cause a rise in blood pressure and symptoms such as nervousness, headache, and confusion. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually over a few days.
Other uses for this medicineReturn to top
Clonidine is also used in the treatment of Tourette’s syndrome, migraine headaches, ulcerative colitis, menopausal hot flashes, alcohol withdrawal, and as an aid in smoking cessation therapy. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking clonidine,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to clonidine or any other drugs.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially amitriptyline (Elavil); beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), carteolol (Cartrol), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), sotalol (Betapace), and timolol (Blocadren); clomipramine (Anafranil); desipramine (Norpramin); doxepin (Adepin, Sinequan); imipramine (Tofranil); nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor); protriptyline (Vivactil); sleeping pills; trimipramine (Surmontil); and vitamins.
tell your doctor if you have or have ever had coronary artery disease, kidney disease, or a heart attack.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking clonidine, call your doctor.
if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking clonidine.
you should know that this drug may make you drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are using clonidine. Alcohol can make the side effects from clonidine worse.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Your doctor may prescribe a low-salt or low-sodium diet. Follow these directions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Clonidine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
decreased sexual ability
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
increased or decreased heartbeat
swollen ankles or feet