What is CLONIDINE?
(CLONIDINE) This medication is used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Clonidine belongs to a class of drugs (central alpha agonists) that act in the brain to lower blood pressure. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
How should I use CLONIDINE?
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking clonidine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Peel off the backing from the patch and apply the patch to a clean, dry, and hairless area of the skin on the upper outer arm or upper chest. Press the patch firmly in place for about 10 seconds to make sure it stays on. Do not apply the patch on oily, broken, or irritated skin. Avoid applying the patch to areas of the skin where it might be easily rubbed off (such as on skin folds). Use this medication as directed by your doctor. The patch is usually worn for 1 week and then replaced. Follow the dosing schedule carefully. Wash your hands after handling the patch. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. When replacing your patch, make sure to apply the new patch to a different area. Fold the old patch in half with the sticky side together and throw away in the trash away from children and pets. Do not flush the patch down the toilet. If the patch starts to loosen from the skin, you may apply the "adhesive cover" over the patch so that it does not fall off during the 1-week period. The "adhesive cover" does not contain any medication. If the patch falls off or if you have mild redness/itching/irritation around the application site, discard the patch as directed and apply a new patch to a different area. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, change the patch on the same day each week. It may help to mark your calendar with a reminder. Keep using this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor. You may experience symptoms such as nervousness, agitation, shaking, and headache. A rapid rise in blood pressure may also occur if the drug is suddenly stopped. The risk is greater if you have used this drug for a long time or in high doses, or if you are also taking a beta blocker (such as atenolol). There have also been rare reports of severe, possibly fatal reactions (such as stroke) from stopping this drug too quickly. It is important that you do not run out of clonidine patches or miss any doses. To prevent any reactions while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away. When used for a long time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing or an additional medication. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well (such as your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
What should I tell my health care provider before I take CLONIDINE?
Before using clonidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, heart rhythm problems (such as slow/irregular heartbeat, second- or third-degree atrioventricular block). This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). If you are going to have an MRI test or cardioversion, tell health care personnel that you are using this patch. Some patches may contain metals that can cause serious burns during an MRI or cardioversion. Ask your doctor whether you will need to remove your patch before the procedure and apply a new patch afterward, and how to do so properly. Contact lens wearers may need to use wetting eye drops since this medication can cause dry eyes. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this product, especially dizziness, or drowsiness. These side effects may increase the risk of falling. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What may interact with CLONIDINE?
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and opioid pain relievers (such as codeine). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. Some products have ingredients that could raise your blood pressure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/naproxen).
What if I miss a dose of CLONIDINE?
If you forget to replace a patch at the scheduled time, replace it as soon as you remember. Call your doctor right away if you are late replacing a patch by 3 or more days.
What side effects may I notice from receiving CLONIDINE?
Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, unusual tiredness, headache, or mild redness/itching/irritation at the application site may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fainting, slow/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes (such as irritability, depression). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep CLONIDINE?
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed (see also How to Use section).