Clonidine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: clonidine (KLON-i-deen)
Brand Name: Duraclon

Clonidine is not recommended for treating pain during or following childbirth, or that associated with surgery because of the risk of developing very low blood pressure and an unusually slow heartbeat. However, there may be rare situations in which the potential benefits may outweigh the possible risks. Contact your doctor for more details.


Clonidine is used for:

Treating severe pain along with opioid (narcotic) pain medicines in certain cancer patients. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Clonidine is an alpha-agonist analgesic. It works in the spinal cord by preventing pain signal transmission to the brain.

Do NOT use clonidine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in clonidine
  • you have bleeding problems
  • you have an infection at the injection site
  • you are taking an anticoagulant (eg, warfarin, heparin)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using clonidine:

Some medical conditions may interact with clonidine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of kidney problems, blood vessel problems (eg, in the brain), heart problems, high or low blood pressure, the blood disease porphyria, or mental or mood problems (eg, depression)
  • if you have low blood volume or you have had a stroke or a recent heart attack
  • if you are scheduled for surgery

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with clonidine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulant therapy (eg, warfarin, heparin) because the risk of bleeding at the injection site may be increased
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), calcium channel blockers (eg, verapamil), or digoxin because the risk of slow or irregular heartbeat may be increased
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because they may decrease clonidine's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if clonidine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use clonidine:

Use clonidine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Clonidine is usually given by continuous epidural infusion devices at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using clonidine at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use clonidine. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use clonidine if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking clonidine. You may have an increased risk of side effects. If you need to stop clonidine, your doctor will gradually lower your dose. Contact your doctor right away if the medicine infusion is interrupted for any reason.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of clonidine, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use clonidine.

Important safety information:

  • Clonidine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use clonidine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using clonidine; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Clonidine may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking clonidine. Doing so may cause withdrawal symptoms like nervousness, irritability, or shakiness. You could also get a headache and high blood pressure. The risk of these effects may be greater if you have been taking high doses of clonidine. The risk may also be greater if you are taking a beta-blocker (eg, atenolol). Rarely, very serious effects like increased blood pressure in the brain, stroke, and death have occurred in patients who have suddenly stopped using clonidine. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Clonidine may cause low blood pressure. This effect has occurred most often within the first 4 days after starting clonidine, although it may occur at any time while using clonidine. The risk may be higher in women and in lower weight patients. Contact your doctor right away if you experience symptoms of low blood pressure (eg, fainting, light-headedness, severe or persistent dizziness).
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take clonidine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Lab tests, including blood pressure, may be performed while you use clonidine. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Clonidine should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; use is limited to children old enough to tolerate placement and management of an epidural catheter.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using clonidine while you are pregnant. Clonidine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while using clonidine.

If you stop taking clonidine suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include nervousness, agitation, headache, tremor, and rapid increase in blood pressure.

Possible side effects of clonidine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; confusion; constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; general weakness; nausea; ringing in the ears; sweating; tiredness; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; depression; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hallucinations; light-headedness; painful or difficult urination; severe or persistent dizziness; shortness of breath; slow or shallow breathing.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Accidental overdose of clonidine is an increasing cause of poisoning in children 3 years old and younger. Symptoms may include decreased or absent reflexes; difficult or slow breathing; drowsiness; irritability; pinpoint pupils; seizures; severe or persistent headache; slow or irregular heartbeat; symptoms of hypothermia (eg, shivering, sluggishness, confusion, mental or mood changes, coma); symptoms of low blood pressure (eg, fainting; light-headedness; severe dizziness).

Proper storage of clonidine:

Clonidine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using clonidine at home, store clonidine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep clonidine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about clonidine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Clonidine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take clonidine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about clonidine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to clonidine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using clonidine.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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