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Drug Profile

Do NOT stop taking this or any drug without the advice of your physician. Some drugs can cause severe adverse effects when they are stopped suddenly.

Do Not Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: clonidine (KLOE ni deen)
Brand name(s): CATAPRES, KAPVAY
GENERIC: not available FAMILY: Other Drugs for High Blood Pressure
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Do Not Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: clonidine and chlorthalidone (KLOE ni deen and klor THAL i done)
Brand name(s): CLORPRES, COMBIPRES
GENERIC: not available FAMILY: Other Drugs for High Blood Pressure
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Do Not Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: clonidine transdermal therapeutic system (KLOE ni deen trans DER mal ther a PYOO tik SIS tem)
Brand name(s): CATAPRES-TTS
GENERIC: not available FAMILY: Other Drugs for High Blood Pressure
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Alternative Treatment [top]

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

Clonidine caused fetal harm in animal studies, including increased resorptions. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects to the fetus, these drugs should not be used by pregnant women.

Breast-feeding Warning

Clonidine is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants, you should not take this drug while nursing.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

Do not suddenly stop using this drug.

Sudden withdrawal from clonidine can cause sweating, tremors, flushing, and even severe high blood pressure. This dangerous reaction may occur after missing only one or two doses. Ask your doctor for a schedule that reduces your dose of clonidine gradually over at least 10 days, and even more slowly if symptoms occur. At the same time as you are reducing your dose of clonidine, your doctor should start you on another drug for high blood pressure.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Clonidine (CATAPRES), a so-called alpha agonist, and the combination of clonidine and chlorthalidone (HYGROTON) are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Clonidine can cause severe side effects and should not be used alone or in combination with another drug.

The main problem with clonidine is that missing only one or two doses of the drug can cause serious side effects, including sweating, tremors, flushing and severe high blood pressure. Clonidine can also cause severe...

Clonidine (CATAPRES), a so-called alpha agonist, and the combination of clonidine and chlorthalidone (HYGROTON) are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Clonidine can cause severe side effects and should not be used alone or in combination with another drug.

The main problem with clonidine is that missing only one or two doses of the drug can cause serious side effects, including sweating, tremors, flushing and severe high blood pressure. Clonidine can also cause severe depression and is particularly dangerous for anyone with a history of depression. Nearly one-fourth of the people who use the patch form have a skin reaction. The Dutch Pharmacovigilance Centre, Lareb, received reports of weight gain, many of which involved children.[1]

The FDA updated the patient information for clonidine to include information that clonidine tablets may cause dryness of the eyes. Patients who wear contact lens should be made aware of this information.[2]

Managing high blood pressure

For patients with high blood pressure, the best way to reduce or eliminate the need for medication is by improving their diet, losing weight, exercising, and decreasing their salt and alcohol intake.

If these measures do not lower their blood pressure enough and medication is required, hydrochlorothiazide (ESIDRIX, HYDRODIURIL, MICROZIDE), a water pill, is the drug of choice, starting with a low dose of 12.5 milligrams daily. It is safer and also costs less than other blood pressure drugs. Further, there is growing evidence that thiazide diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide, significantly decrease the rate of bone mineral loss in both men and women because they reduce the amount of calcium lost in the urine.[3] Research now suggests that thiazide diuretics may protect against hip fracture.[4]

In patients with severe high blood pressure for whom hydrochlorothiazide alone is not effective, another family of high-blood-pressure-lowering drugs may be added to their treatment. In this case, the prescribing doctor would prescribe the hydrochlorothiazide and the second drug separately, with the dose of each drug adjusted to meet the patient's needs, rather than using a product that combines the drug in a fixed combination.

Whatever drugs a patient takes for high blood pressure, once the blood pressure has been normal for a year or more, a cautious decrease in dose and renewed attention to nondrug treatment may be worth trying, according to The Medical Letter.[5]

An editorial in the British Medical Journal agreed with The Medical Letter’s assessment, and stated:

Treatment of hypertension is part of preventive medicine and like all preventive strategies, its progress should be regularly reviewed by whoever initiates it. Many problems could be avoided by not starting antihypertensive treatment until after prolonged observation....Patients should no longer be told that treatment is necessarily for life: the possibility of reducing or stopping treatment should be mentioned at the outset.[6]

last reviewed March 31, 2021