Clonidine Side Effects

by on July 11, 2012


The most common side effects of Clonidine (Catapres) are; constipation, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, trouble sleeping, and tiredness. The side effects do not usually require medical attention but should be reported if they persist or become bothersome.

Common Clonidine Side Effects

The most common Clonidine side effects include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tiredness

Other side effects that are less common include the following:

  • Mild fever
  • Feeling hot
  • Ear pain
  • Lowered libido
  • Difficulty having an orgasm
  • Mood changes
  • Cold symptoms

The side effects listed above usually do not require medical attention as they will commonly diminish when your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of ways to reduce or prevent these common side effects from occurring. However, if any persist or become bothersome you should notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Serious Clonidine Side Effects

An allergic reaction can occur with clonidine. If you experience any of the following symptoms indicating an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical help.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue

Other side effects can occur that are not indicative of an allergic reaction but are still very serious. Notify your doctor right away if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Racing heart
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Flu symptoms
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded

Overdose Symptoms

It is important to follow directions exactly when taking this drug; you should never take two forms of Catapres at the same time. If you experience any of the following symptoms of overdose, get emergency medical help immediately: High blood pressure causing blurred vision, buzzing in the ears, severe headache, shortness of breath, confusion, anxiety, or chest pain; followed by low blood pressure causing feelings of lightheadedness, fainting, slow heart rate, cold feeling, drowsiness, weakness, shallow breathing, and pinpoint sized pupils.

Lifestyle Factors

Clonidine is used for a variety of heart conditions and high blood pressure. It is important that this medication is used in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle in order to treat the root causes of existing medical conditions. Inderal must be used as a part of the a healthy living plan in order to get maximum benefits from it; when using this medication it is important to monitor diet, weight control, and exercise.

Clonidine should never be stopped because an individual is feeling better; frequently symptoms of high blood pressure and other heart conditions do not have noticeable symptoms and abruptly stopping this medication could cause harm. You should never skip doses either as this medication may require a gradual reduction in dosage to safely stop taking it. It is important to avoid becoming dehydrated in hot weather or during exercise while taking Catapres as well as avoiding alcohol as it may increase some of the side effects associated with this medication.

Pre-existing Conditions

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should talk to a doctor before taking a clonidine medication in order to weigh the potential benefits of the drug against possible risks. This medication has been placed in category C by the FDA, which means it is not known how it may affect a fetus. Women who are breastfeeding should also discuss this medication with a doctor prior to taking it; the drug can pass through breast milk and the possible effects of the drug on a newborn are not known at this time.

Certain medical conditions may interfere with the safe use of Catapres. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions; have ever had an allergic reaction to another form of Catapres, heart rhythm disorder, slow heart beats, severe coronary artery disease, heart disease, low blood pressure, kidney disease, or history of heart attack or stroke.

Other medications

It is important to inform your doctor of all over the counter, prescription, and herbal medications that you are taking prior to starting a new one. It is especially important to notify them before taking any medication that could cause drowsiness with Catapres as it may exacerbate. Notify your doctor before taking any of the following medications; cold and allergy medications, muscle relaxants, seizure medications, narcotic pain medications, and medications for depression or anxiety. The following drugs may cause a dangerous interaction with clonidine:

  • digitalis
  • Antidepressants such as amitriptyline, doxepin, or nortriptylin.
  • Heart or blood pressure medications such as amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine,or  verapamil.
  • clonidine transdermal skin patches
  • Beta-blockers such as atenolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol , nadolol, propranolol, and sotalol.
  • All other medications used to treat high blood pressure or other heart problems.

Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure and several other medical conditions. This medication should be used in combination with a healthy lifestyle for treating hypertension in order to get maximum benefits.  If you experience any of the serious side effects associated with this medication or if less serious side effects persist or become bothersome, notify your doctor immediately.