This medication is used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Clonidine belongs to a class of drugs (central alpha agonists) that act in the brain to lower blood pressure. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
See also How to Use section. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up. If you miss 2 or more doses in a row, contact your doctor immediately.
How To Use
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually twice daily (in the morning and at bedtime) or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick. Do not stop taking this medication without first consulting your doctor. Withdrawal reactions (e.g., nervousness, agitation, shaking, headache) and a rapid rise in blood pressure may occur when the drug is abruptly stopped. The risk is greater if you have used this drug for a long time or in high doses, or if you are also taking a beta blocker (e.g., atenolol). There have also been rare reports of severe (possibly fatal) reactions from stopping this drug too quickly (e.g., stroke). Therefore, it is important that you do not run out of clonidine or miss any doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you are unable to take the medication (e.g., due to vomiting). If you must stop taking this drug, your dose should be gradually decreased over several days as directed by your doctor. When used for a long time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing or an additional medication. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well (e.g., your routine blood pressure readings increase).
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: cyclobenzaprine, other drugs that can slow the heart rate (e.g., digoxin, calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem, beta blockers such as metoprolol), MAO inhibitors (e.g., furazolidone, isocarboxazid, linezolid, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine), tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine). Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take drugs that cause drowsiness such as: certain antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., carbamazepine, phenobarbital), medicine for sleep or anxiety (e.g., alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), psychiatric medicines (e.g., chlorpromazine, risperidone, trazodone). Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products, diet aids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for pain/fever reduction) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your blood pressure. Many cough-and-cold products may also contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-800-854-1166 (USA) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Do not share this medication with others. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you. Check your blood pressure regularly while taking this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure at home, and share the results with your doctor.
If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: fainting, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, slow/shallow breathing, seizures.
Before taking clonidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have previously had a rash while using clonidine patches; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, heart disease (e.g., severe coronary artery disease, irregular heart rhythm, recent heart attack), depression, blood circulation disorders (e.g., Raynaud's disease, stroke). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication. This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Contact lens wearers may need to use appropriate lubricating solutions if this medication causes dry eyes. Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this product, especially dizziness. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store at room temperature (77 degrees F or 25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, or constipation may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression), cold hands/feet. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional. This drug may also be used for hot flashes that occur with menopause, for withdrawal symptoms from narcotic drugs, and to help people quit smoking.
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
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