Clonidine is a medicine to  lower high blood pressure (hypertension). In its use, clonidine can be used as a single drug or combined with other drugs. This medicine must be used with a doctor's prescription.

Clonidine is an antihypertensive drug that works by dilating blood vessels so that blood can flow more smoothly. When blood flows smoothly, blood pressure will gradually decrease.

In addition  to hypertension, clonidine can also be used to treat chronic pain due to cancer, reduce the symptoms of hot flashes in postmenopausal women, and prevent headaches or migraines .

Clonidine trademarks:  Catapres, Clonidine, Clonidine HCl, Clonidine Hydrochloride

What is Clonidine

Group Prescription drugs
Category Antihypertensive
Benefits Relieves hypertension , treats chronic pain due to cancer, reduces hot flashes , and prevents headaches or migraines
Used by Adults and children
Clonidine for pregnant and lactating women

Category C: Studies on experimental animals show side effects on the fetus, but there are no controlled studies on pregnant women.

Medicines can only be used if the magnitude of the expected benefit exceeds the magnitude of the risk to the fetus.

Clonidine can be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine before consulting your doctor.

Drug form Tablets and injections

Warnings Before Using Clonidine

Clonidine should not be used indiscriminately. Before using clonidine, you need to pay attention to some things below:

  • Do not use this medicine if you are allergic to clonidine.
  • Tell your doctor if you have had or are currently suffering from cardiovascular disease, such as heart rhythm disorders, coronary heart disease , low blood pressure ( hypotension ), Raynaud's disease , heart attack, stroke , or have ever fainted.
  • Tell your doctor if you have had or are currently suffering from kidney disease, pheochromocytoma , depression, or stomach or intestinal disorders.
  • Tell the doctor that you are taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder if you will be given clonidine by epidural injection .
  • Do not give clonidine to children under 6 years of age.
  • Do not immediately do activities that require alertness, such as driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery, after using clonidine, because this drug can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Consult with a doctor about the use of clonidine in the elderly over 65 years of age, because the elderly are more at risk of experiencing dizziness, drowsiness, and injury from falling.
  • Tell your doctor that you are using clonidine before undergoing any medical procedure or surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you are planning to become pregnant, because clonidine can affect the fertility of the reproductive organs, both male and female.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using other drugs, including supplements and herbal products, to anticipate drug interactions.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages during treatment with clonidine, as it can increase the risk of side effects.
  • See a doctor immediately if an allergic drug reaction , serious side effect, or overdose occurs after using clonidine.

Dosage and Administration of Clonidine

The dose and duration of clonidine use will be determined by the doctor according to the patient's age and health condition. The following is a breakdown of the clonidine dosage based on the form of the drug and the purpose of the treatment:

Tablet form

Purpose: Treat hypertension  

  • Adults: Initial dose 50–100 mcg, 3 times a day. The dose can be increased every 2-3 days, according to the response of the patient's body. Maintenance dose 300–1,200 mcg per day given in divided doses. The maximum dose is 2,400 mcg per day.
  • Children aged >12 years: 200 mcg, 2 times a day. The dose can be increased every week, as needed. Maintenance dose 200–600 mcg, 2 times a day. The maximum dose is 2,400 mcg per day.

Purpose: Overcome the symptoms of hot flashes in menopausal women, prevent headaches or migraines

  • Adults: Initial dose, 50 mcg, 2 times a day. The dose can be increased to 75 mcg, 2 times a day, if symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment.

Intravenous injection (through a blood vessel)

Purpose: Dealing with hypertensive crisis

  • Adults: 150–300 mcg, given by slow IV injection (over 10–15 minutes). The dose can be repeated up to a maximum of 750 mcg for 24 hours.

Form of epidural injection (nerve in the lower back)

Purpose: Relieve chronic pain due to cancer

  • Adults: Initial dose of 30 mcg per hour by infusion, combined with opioid pain relievers. The dose can be lowered or increased, according to the patient's response.

How to Use Clonidine Correctly

Clonidine injection can only be given by a doctor or medical personnel under the supervision of a doctor.

If you are given oral clonidine, follow your doctor's advice and read the information on the clonidine package before using it.

Consume clonidine regularly at the same time every day. Clonidine can be taken with or without food. Swallow this medicine with water or soft food.

If you forget to use clonidine, it is recommended to do it immediately when the break with the next use schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore the forgotten dose and do not double the dose at the next time.

It should be known that this medicine can help control blood pressure, but cannot cure it. To help keep blood pressure under control, you also need to maintain an ideal body weight, exercise diligently, not smoke, and limit the consumption of foods that are high in salt and high in fat.

Do not stop using clonidine even if you feel better. Stopping the use of the drug suddenly can cause the blood pressure to rise quickly and risk harming the patient. In addition, withdrawal symptoms can also appear in the form of restlessness, headache, and tremors .

Store clonidine in its packaging in a room temperature place away from direct sunlight, not humid and not hot, and keep the medicine out of the reach of children.

Clonidine Interactions with Other Drugs

Side effects that can arise as a result of using clonidine with other drugs are:

  • Increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to arrhythmia if used with methylphenidate
  • Increased risk of excessive blood pressure reduction if used with opioid pain relievers or other antihypertensive drugs, such as diuretics, beta blockers , vasodilators, calcium antagonists , or ACE inhibitors
  • Increased risk of increased effects of barbiturates or other sedatives, which can cause severe drowsiness, dizziness, or difficulty thinking.
  • Decreased effectiveness of clonidine and increased risk of orthostatic hypotension if used with tricyclic antidepressants or phenothiazine drugs
  • Decreased effectiveness of clonidine if used with mirtazapine
  • Increased risk of heart rhythm disturbances if used with digoxin or high-dose haloperidol  injection

Side Effects and Dangers of Clonidine

Side effects that may occur after using clonidine include:

  • Drowsy
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Easily offended
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Faint or lethargic
  • Decreased sexual desire

Immediately see a doctor if the above side effects do not subside. A check-up with a doctor should also be done if there is a drug allergic reaction marked by complaints in the form of an itchy and swollen rash, swollen eyelids and lips, or difficulty breathing.

You should also see a doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects, such as:

  • Severe chest pain , or shortness of breath
  • Irregular or slow heart rate
  • Mood changes, such as irritability or depression
  • Dizziness until it feels like fainting

If you are given clonidine in the form of an injection, immediately inform the doctor if you feel a headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, fever, as well as signs of infection in the injection or infusion area, such as heat, redness or swelling, and fever.

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