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.
OTHER USES: 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 attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for hot flashes that occur with menopause, for withdrawal symptoms from narcotic drugs, and to help people quit smoking.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking clonidine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Peel off the backing from the patch and apply the patch to a clean, dry, and hairless area of the skin on the upper outer arm or upper chest. Press the patch firmly in place for about 10 seconds to make sure it stays on. Do not apply the patch on oily, broken, or irritated skin. Avoid applying the patch to areas of the skin where it might be easily rubbed off (such as on skin folds). Use this medication as directed by your doctor. The patch is usually worn for 1 week and then replaced. Follow the dosing schedule carefully. Wash your hands after handling the patch.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
When replacing your patch, make sure to apply the new patch to a different area. Fold the old patch in half with the sticky side together and throw away in the trash away from children and pets. Do not flush the patch down the toilet.
If the patch starts to loosen from the skin, you may apply the "adhesive cover" over the patch so that it does not fall off during the 1-week period. The "adhesive cover" does not contain any medication. If the patch falls off or if you have mild redness/itching/irritation around the application site, discard the patch as directed and apply a new patch to a different area.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, change the patch on the same day each week. It may help to mark your calendar with a reminder. It is important to continue using this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.
Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor. You may experience symptoms such as nervousness, agitation, shaking, and headache. A rapid rise in blood pressure may also occur if the drug is suddenly 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 (such as atenolol). There have also been rare reports of severe, possibly fatal reactions (such as stroke) from stopping this drug too quickly. Therefore, it is important that you do not run out of clonidine patches or miss any doses. To prevent any reactions while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms immediately.
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 (such as your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, unusual tiredness, headache, or mild redness/itching/irritation at the application site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
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.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away 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 -
Before using clonidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; 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 rhythm problems (such as slow/irregular heartbeat, second- or third-degree atrioventricular block).
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. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
If you are going to have an MRI test or cardioversion, tell health care personnel that you are using this patch. Some patches may contain metals that can cause serious burns during an MRI or cardioversion. Ask your doctor whether you will need to remove your patch before the procedure and apply a new patch afterward, and how to do so properly.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this product, especially dizziness, or drowsiness. These side effects may increase the risk of falling.
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.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness or increase your blood pressure. Ask your pharmacist for more details.
This medication patch may be harmful if chewed or swallowed. If overdose or swallowing is suspected, remove the patch if possible, and contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness/drowsiness, fainting, slow/irregular heartbeat, slow/shallow breathing, seizures.
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 and pulse (heart rate) regularly while using this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure and pulse at home, and share the results with your doctor.
If you forget to replace a patch at the scheduled time, replace it as soon as you remember. Call your doctor right away if you are late replacing a patch by 3 or more days.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications 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 (see also How to Use section).
Information last revised November 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet