previous page: Clonazepam Description
page up: Drugs and Herbs Manual
next page: Clorazepate Description

Clonidine Description

Clonidine Description

Generic Name: CLONIDINE

Pronunciation: (kloe' ni deen)

Trade Name(s): Arkamin, Catapres

Why it is prescribed: Clonidine controls high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body. It has also been used to prevent migraine headaches.

When it is to be taken: In tablet form, this drug usually is taken twice a day. When applied to the skin, clonidine is used once every seven days. Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully. This medication controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Therefore, it is important that you use it regularly. The tablets should be taken at evenly spaced intervals. If you are to take clonidine twice a day, take one dose at bedtime and the second dose 12 hours later.

How it should be taken: Clonidine comes in the form of tablets and as patches that are applied to the skin. Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose. Your doctor may change your dose from time to time, especially when you first start taking the drug, until your blood pressure is controlled. If you are using the clonidine patches, carefully follow the instructions. Apply the patches in the following way:
(1) Clean a relatively hairless area of unbroken skin on your upper arm or chest with mild soap and water and dry it completely.
(2) Peel the clear plastic strip from the adhesive side of a patch.
(3) Attach the patch to your skin by placing the adhesive side against it and pressing firmly.
(4) If the patch loosens before replacement time, place adhesive tape over the top of it to secure it.
(5) Apply each patch to a different skin area to avoid irritation. If the skin under the patch become irritated, remove the patch and replace it with a new one in a different area.
(6) Fold the used patch in half with the sticky sides together and dispose of it carefully. The patch still contains active medication that could be harmful to children.

Special Instruction:
1. Clonidine makes some people drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how it affects you.
2. Alcohol, sleeping pills, and narcotics may increase the drowsiness caused by the drug. Ask your doctor for advice about the safe use of alcohol and other drugs while you take clonidine.
3. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly, and your eyes may be examined occasionally.
4. Do not skip doses or stop taking clonidine, even if you feel well without consulting your doctor.
5. Your doctor probably will want to decrease your dose gradually.
6. Be sure that you have enough medication on hand at all times, especially for vacations and holidays.
7. If you forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if you remember a missed dose at the time you are scheduled to take the next one, take only one dose. Do not take a double dose.

Side Effects:
1. Dry mouth. Chew gum or suck or sugarless hard candies. This problem should disappear as you continue to take clonidine.
2. Drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, headache. These effects are common during the first few weeks of therapy and may go away.
3. Dizziness may be minimized by arising slowly from a sitting or lying position. If these effects are severe or persistent, contact your doctor.
4. Itching, skin irritation, rashes, decreased sexual ability. Consult your doctor.

Other Precautions:
1. Before you take clonidine, tell your doctor what prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking.
2. If you are a pregnant or breast-feeding women tell your doctor before taking clonidine.
3. Tell your doctor if you have heart or circulatory problems or suffer from mental depression.
4. Before having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor about your blood pressure medications.
5. Do not allow anyone else to take this medication.

Storage Conditions: Keep this medication in the container it came in, at room temperature, and out of the reach of children.


previous page: Clonazepam Description
page up: Drugs and Herbs Manual
next page: Clorazepate Description