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Clonidine

Brand names of clonidine

  • Apo-Clonidine
  • Catapres
  • Catapres-TTS
  • Combipres [CD]
  • Dixarit
  • Duraclon
  • Novo-Clonidine
  • Nu-Clonidine

Clonidine is employed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). This medication may be used individually or in conjunction with thiazide diuretic, such as hydrochlorothiazide. Clonidine is a member of the class of drugs known as antihypertensives, also called vascular stabilizers. Usually, physicians prescribe this medication when all other drugs used to treat high blood pressure have failed to yield the desired results or when the other drugs cannot be given to a particular patient. Clonidine acts by dilating the blood vessels, thereby augmenting blood circulation and lowering the elevated blood pressure.

In addition to treating high blood pressure, this drug may also be employed to ease menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, especially at times when the hormone replacement therapy is needless. When used to treat hot flashes, clonidine acts by aiding in lessening the reaction of the blood vessels to inducements which result in their constriction as well as enlargement.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking clonidine

As in the instance of any other prescription drugs, before you start treatment with clonidine, it is essential to tell your physician as well as pharmacist if you have allergic reactions to this medication, such as developing a rash especially when you are using clonidine patches; any of its ingredients or have any other type of allergy. It is important to note that this medication may possibly enclose several inactive elements that may result in allergic reactions or additional problems. If you are not sure about the content of this product, ask your pharmacist to provide you with a list containing the same.

People intending to use clonidine should essentially tell their physician about all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, vitamins and dietary supplements they are already taking or plan to take.

Prior to using clonidine, it is also important that you inform your physician and pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you ever had or have any kidney ailment, problems related to the heart rhythm (for instance, a second-degree or third-degree atrioventricular blockage or a sluggish heartbeat). Using this drug may make you feel drowsy. Hence, it is advisable that while undergoing treatment with clonidine, you should not undertake any task that requires alertness or clear vision, such as driving or operating a machine, till you are certain that you are able to carry out such activities safely or without any difficulty. In addition, people using clonidine should keep away from alcoholic beverages, for alcohol may further worsen the side effects of this drug. If you require undergoing a surgery, including dental surgery, you should tell your surgeon or dentist that you are using clonidine.

People wearing contact lens require moistening their eyes frequently with prescribed eye drops as the use of clonidine may result in dryness of the eyes. It may be noted that elderly people taking this medication are more susceptible to its side effects and, hence, need to exercise more precaution. This drug should be given to pregnant women only when it is absolutely necessary for their condition. It is advisable that pregnant women should consult their physician regarding the benefits and hazards of using clonidine. As this medication has been found to pass onto breast milk, nursing mothers should consult their physician prior to using clonidine.

Usage

Clonidine is an antihypertensive drug that is employed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). In addition, this medication may also be used to ease hot flashes due to menopause.

How to use clonidine

Clonidine is taken orally either with or without food, normally twice every day - once in the morning and again at bedtime. You may also take this medication as prescribed by your physician. In case you have been prescribed to unequal doses daily, it is advisable that you take the smaller dose in the morning and the larger dose at bedtime. This will help in lessening the risks of side effects of using this medication. The dosage of clonidine depends on the medical condition of the patient and his/ her reaction to treatment. In order to remember taking clonidine at the appropriate time every day, take it at the same time daily. You need to continue using this medication even after you start feeling better and complete the entire prescribed regimen. To obtain the utmost benefits of using clonidine, you ought to take this medication on a regular basis.

It is worth mentioning here that majority of the people living with hypertension usually do not have any sickly feeling. You should never stop taking this medication all of a sudden and without consulting your physician. Use of clonidine may possibly result in a number of symptoms, including headache, anxiety, trembling and/ or disturbance. Patients may also experience a quick increase in their blood pressure in case they discontinue this medication all of a sudden. People who have been using this drug in high doses or for a prolonged period or taking any beta blocker, such as atenolol, are at a greater risk of hypertension and other withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it abruptly. In fact, although rare, there have been some reports regarding severe and probably fatal reactions, for instance, stroke, attributable stopping the use of clonidine all of a sudden. In case you are unable to take this medication, like in cases of frequent vomiting, contact your physician or pharmacist right away.

It is possible that your physician will ask you to gradually reduce the dosage of clonidine before you stop taking it at all with a view to put off any possible reactions. It is important that you talk to your physician or pharmacist for further details on this subject. If your condition persists or worsens even after taking clonidine, you should immediately report the matter to your physician. This medication may not work as it should provided you have been using it for a prolonged period. In such cases your physician may change the dosage of clonidine or prescribe an extra medication to be used in combination with this drug. Also consult your physician if you find that the medication has stopped working properly, for instance, your blood pressure readings remain high despite using clonidine.

In the event of having missed a dose of clonidine, take it the moment you remember. On the other hand, skip the missed dose if it is almost time for the next dose of the medication. Here is a word of caution: never take the medication in excessive dosage, especially an additional dose to recompense for a missed dose.

When taken is excessive doses, clonidine may result in a number of side effects, the symptoms of which may include hypertension - acute headache, nervousness, hazy vision, shortness of breath, a buzzing sound in the ears, confusion and even chest pain. These may often lead to low blood pressure (a sensation of fainting and wooziness), debility, feeling chilly, drowsiness, fainting, shallow breathing and/ or fixed pupils.

How clonidine works

Clonidine impacts specific regions of the central nervous system - the brain and the spinal cord, which controls the function of the heart as well as the smooth muscle tissue that encircles the arteries. This medication helps the blood vessels to relax as well as dilate, thereby lowering elevated blood pressure as well as improving blood circulation. In addition clonidine also lowers the reaction of the peripheral blood vessels to external inducements.

Side effects

Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
When taken in conjunction, a number of herbal medicines and/ or minerals may interact with clonidine. For instance, the Chinese herb ginseng has the potential to raise the blood pressure as well as annul the benefits of taking clonidine. Other herbs like saw palmetto, hawthorn, goldenseal, ma huang, licorice and yohimbe may also possibly raise the blood pressure. On the other hand, using garlic and calcium is likely to help in lowering the blood pressure. The herb Indian snakeroot has been granted a German Commission E monograph for treating hypertension. Nevertheless, if you are using clonidine, it is important to consult your physician prior to including any new herbal medicine or mineral supplement to the existing list of medications taken by you. Your physician is the best person to guide you in matters related to taking additional herbal medicines and minerals in prescription doses to help bring down high blood pressure. It is important for people with hypertension to avoid the use of eleuthero root.
Foods:
People taking clonidine should keep away from too much salt in their food. In addition, they should seek the advice of their physician regarding restrictions related to salt intake.
Alcohol:
Consumption of alcohol while undergoing treatment with clonidine may possibly result in considerable drowsiness and lower the blood pressure dangerously.
Exposure to heat:
When people taking clonidine are exposed to excessive heat, their blood pressure may reduce considerably resulting in orthostatic hypotension in most cases.
Exposure to cold:
Individuals living with hypertension may experience sore blanching as well as lack of sensation in their hands and feet when exposed to cold water or air - a condition known as Raynaudís phenomenon.
Occurrence of unrelated illness:
When you have a fever, it may reduce the blood pressure levels. In addition, if you have frequent vomiting, it may stop you from using clonidine on a regular basis, thereby resulting in a severe withdrawal effect. In such situations you need to talk to your physician regarding what you ought to do.
Exposure to environmental chemicals:
Clonidine has the aptitude to exaggerate the patientís hypertensive reaction to isometric exercise when they come in contact with chemicals in the environment. Therefore, it is advisable that you seek your physicianís advice in this regard.

Discontinuation

Like most prescription drugs, you should never stop taking clonidine abruptly as this may result in grave withdrawal symptoms within about 12 hours to 48 hours after the last dose of the medication. Therefore, it is advisable that you consult your physician before you stop taking this medication. In all probability, your physician will ask you to lower the dose of clonidine gradually over a period of three to four days prior to discontinuing it totally. In addition, when you have stopped using clonidine, you need to check your blood pressure frequently.

Storage instructions

Clonidine should always be stored at room temperature and in a dark and dry place. Never keep this medication in your bathroom, which is mostly damp. In addition, it is important to keep all medications in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets. Unless instructed otherwise, when any medication becomes out-dated or is not needed any more, do not discard it by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it into a drain. Ensure that all unwanted medications are disposed of in a safe and proper manner. If required, talk to your pharmacist or any neighbourhood waste disposal company regarding the safe disposal of outdated medications.

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