September 19, 2021

Clonidine Side Effects

Clonidine which is often sold under the brand names Catapres, Nexiclon XR and Kapvay is a drug used to treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, causes strain to the heart, brain, blood vessels and arteries, and can lead to more dangerous conditions such as heart attack, stroke or heart disease. In addition to treating high blood pressure, clonidine can also be used to treat disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome, substance abuse withdrawal and discomfort due to menopause or menstruation.

Clonidine belongs to the class of drugs known as anti-hypertensives. These medications promote relaxation in blood vessels and arteries, which improves circulation, regulates heartbeat and allows blood to pass through the body more easily and efficiently. Clonodine and other anti-hypertensives are not a cure for hypertension; rather, they are used as a maintenance drug in the treatment of high blood pressure and other disorders.

Side Effects of Clonidine

Since clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure, one major side effect can be blood pressure that is too low, otherwise known as hypotension. Hypotension can be extremely harmful, as it can cause dizziness, fainting and, in some cases, death. To avoid hypotension, a clonidine regimen typically begins at a low dosage, and is increased over time if necessary.

More common clonidine side effects include the following:

clonidine side effects– Dizziness
– Drowsiness
– Headache
– Dry mouth
– Constipation
– Insomnia
– Nausea
– Fatigue

In rare cases, clonidine can cause more serious side effects, which include the following:

clonidine high blood pressure medicine– Chest pain
– Shortness of breath
– Tremor
– Anxiety
– Strange dreams
– Depression
– Trouble urinating
– Visual and aural hallucinations
– Restlessness
– Irritation, itching, swelling and soreness of the skin
– Slow heartbeat
– Numbness or tingling in the extremities
– Irritability
– Hyperventilation
– Confusion
– Weight gain
– Swelling of the hands, feet and legs
– Decreased sex drive
– Sexual dysfunction

Possible Drug Interactions

Clonidine should not be taken while taking other drugs that affect blood pressure, including herbal supplements and OTC medications. Before taking clonidine, make sure your doctor and pharmacist know all medications you are currently taking, and all those taken within the last two weeks. In addition, certain dental anesthetics can cause harmful reactions when administered to patients taking clonidine. Before undergoing any dental procedures, make sure your dentist is aware of all medications you currently take.

The following types of drugs may cause adverse reaction if taken in conjunction with clonidine:

– Medications and herbs used to treat insomnia
– Anxiety medications
– Alcohol
– Asthma, allergy and sinus medications
– Barbiturates
– Anti-seizure drugs
– Prescription pain relievers
– Muscle relaxers
– Anesthetics

Clonidine During Pregnancy

While it is known that clonidine does, in fact, cross the mother’s placenta and enter the baby’s bloodstream, there is little data to support its safety, or lack thereof, during pregnancy. In most cases, clonidine is only prescribed during pregnancy when the benefits far outweigh the risks. For women who become pregnant and discontinue use of clonidine, slow weaning under a physician’s care is recommended. This is due to dangerous reactions that can occur when clonidine is discontinued suddenly.


Clonidine can often cause dizziness and drowsiness, and should be taken with caution when driving or operating dangerous machinery. These symptoms can intensify in patients who exercise, drink alcohol or stand on their feet for long periods of time. Alcohol should be limited in patients taking clonidine, and exercise should be performed with caution and in a cool, safe environment.


Clonidine should never be discontinued suddenly. Instead, dosages should be decreased slowly over time to avoid adverse symptoms of withdrawal. Further, doses should never be missed, and clonidine should be taken at roughly the same time each day. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible, and the next dose should be taken twenty four hours later. Not waiting a sufficient amount of time between doses of this drug can lead to extremely low blood pressure and other dangerous reactions.

Clonidine can be an essential drug in the treatment of high blood pressure and other conditions. However, like all drugs, it does carry the risk of side effects. If you are taking clonidine and experience any unusual side effects, contact a doctor immediately.