Clonidine tablets

Clonidine tablets have a number of different uses including the treatment of hot flushes and high blood pressure. Find out how to take them safely and possible side effects. Clonidine is also called Catapres.

What is clonidine?

Clonidine belongs to a group of medicines called vasodilators. Vasodilators widen the blood vessels to help the blood flow more easily. Clonidine has a number of different uses such as:

  • reducing hot flushes and night sweats in some menopausal women
  • treating high blood pressure, when other medicines may not work well
  • treating severe pain. 

Clonidine has also been used for migraine prevention but it is not generally recommended – other options are preferred. Read more about medicines to prevent migraine. 

Note: Clonidine is also available as patches which are applied to the skin. Read more about clonidine patches. 

Dose

Clonidine tablets come in 2 strengths – 25 micrograms and 150 micrograms.

  • The dose of clonidine will be different for different people depending on why it's being used and your response to treatment.
  • Your doctor may start you on a low dose and increase it slowly over a few weeks. 
  • It may take several weeks for the full benefit to be seen.
  • Always take clonidine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions. It is important not to stop taking clonidine suddenly.

How to take clonidine tablets

  • Swallow the tablets with a full glass of water. You can take clonidine with or without food. Take your dose at the same time(s) each day.
  • Don't stop taking clonidine suddenly. If you think clonidine is not working for you, speak to your doctor or nurse. It is usually best to stop clonidine slowly to avoid side effects.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Don't take double the dose.

Things to consider while you are taking clonidine

  • This medicine may make you sleepy. Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you. Drinking alcohol can make these symptoms worse. 
  • Clonidine can interact with some medications, herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting clonidine and before starting any new products.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking this medicine.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, clonidine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects go away once your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy or tired
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded 
  • This is quite common when you start clonidine.
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • These effects put you at risk of falls, and injuries especially if you are an older person. Tell your doctor if you are concerned.
  • Do not drink alcohol – it makes these effects worse.
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low mood
  • Joint, muscle or bone aches and pains
  • These are quite common when you first start taking clonidine.
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

The following links have more information about clonidine tablets.

Clonidine tablet New Zealand Formulary, Patient Information 
Clonidine (Teva) Medsafe Consumer Information, NZ

References

  1. Clonidine NZ Formulary, NZ
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland, Lena Cooke, BPharm (Hons), PG Cert in Pharmacy (endorsed in Medicines Management) and PG Dip in Clin Pharm (Dist) Last reviewed: 29 Jul 2022