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What Is Clonidine?

Clonidine is a drug that is used to treat high blood pressure. It belongs to a group of medicines called centrally acting alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. It is used to treat anxiety, migraine attacks, and hot flashes that may occur in women undergoing menopause and those experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

What are the uses of Clonidine?

Clonidine is an alpha-agonist used to treat hypertension, especially in the elderly and people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Clonidine has lesser contraindications and side effects; however, it does have many medication interactions. Because it is a long-acting medication, it is not helpful in people with liver or renal dysfunction. Other uses include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Restless leg syndrome.
  • Withdrawal symptoms in patients with alcoholism.
  • Attention deficit disorder.
  • Hyperactivity in children and adults.
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What are the side effects of Clonidine?

Clonidine has a small potential for side effects. If you have been taking Clonidine for a while, you may experience the following–

  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Decreased libido.
  • Slowing of the heart rate.
  • Fatigue.
  • Constipation. 

For most Clonidine side effects, the severity depends on the dosage and duration. Particular attention to dosages and precautions is required to avoid side effects. Contact our medical experts at Yashoda Hospitals to consult medical advisors if you see any of these symptoms.

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FAQ's

1. Can Clonidine cause liver damage?

Because the liver metabolises >50 percent of Clonidine to inactive metabolites, some persons may develop jaundice. As a result, people with liver diseases such as cirrhosis are advised to avoid Clonidine.

2. Is Clonidine a sleeping pill?

Clonidine is not FDA-approved for insomnia treatment. When you transition from lying or sitting to standing, it might induce tiredness and drowsiness. If you're seated or lying down, gently stand to reduce your chances of feeling dizzy or passing out. Avoid driving a vehicle or machinery after taking this medication.

3. Does Clonidine cause weight gain?

Clonidine is a synthetic medication that, in some persons, causes an increase in appetite. Weight gain is a possible adverse effect that might occur after around 6-weeks of Clonidine therapy, but it is not frequent. If you're concerned about gaining weight, speak with your doctor or a nutritionist.

4. Is Clonidine a psychotropic medication?

Clonidine's reliance on central adrenergic receptors makes it an ideal anxiolytic, analgesic, or sedative. This means that beyond its approved indications for hypertension, Clonidine, has also recently been used to treat various psychiatric conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Tourette syndrome.

5. What happens if you take too much Clonidine?

Taking too much Clonidine can be just as dangerous because it causes instant drowsiness & confusion. An overdose can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate. If someone has accidentally taken too much Clonidine, rush them to the nearest emergency room or hospital.

6. Does Clonidine cause hair loss?

Hair loss is a rare side effect of Clonidine. Here is an excerpt from WebMD: "Clonidine has been studied in some cases of hair loss or hair thinning, but the results of these studies have been conflicting." So, if you have started Clonidine and noticed hair loss, consult your doctor.

7. Is Clonidine safe?

Yes, when taken according to a doctor's prescription, Clonidine is relatively safe to use. It's a low-risk medication that's also safe to use during pregnancy. You should not stop taking Clonidine without consulting a doctor. Overdosing might result in sleepiness, headaches, and a dry mouth.

8. Can Clonidine cause shortness of breath?

Clonidine, used to treat hypertension with shortness of breath, is the most widely reported side effect. Clonidine-induced shortness of breath is CNS-related, which includes sedation or cardiac-related. Shortness of breath because of CNS-related side effects requires temporary discontinuation of Clonidine, while one with cardiac side effects requires emergency treatment.

9. Is Clonidine the same thing as Xanax?

While Xanax is the brand-named form of alprazolam, clonidine is a generic medication. Clonazepam and Xanax are both benzodiazepines that act as depressants for the central nervous system (CNS). Clonidine is primarily used to treat hypertension and ADHD, whereas Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.

10. Is Clonidine good for anxiety?

Clonidine isn't often used to treat anxiety. On the other hand, it has reportedly been shown to reduce anxiety episodes, particularly panic attacks, a frequent anxiety condition that may significantly impact a person's day-to-day life and, in some circumstances, psychiatric symptoms. Contact our medical experts at Yashoda Hospitals to consult medical advisors on the uses, necessary dosages and precautions, and side effects of Clonidine or any other health-related issues.

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