Clonidine is a prescription medicine approved for several uses. Some forms of this medication are used for treating high blood pressure, while the epidural form is used to treat severe pain in people with cancer. The drug works to lower blood pressure by stimulating alpha-2 receptors in the brain stem. When used to treat cancer pain, it works by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain.
What Is Clonidine?
Clonidine hydrochloride (Catapres®, Catapres-TTS®, Duraclon®, Kapvay™, Nexiclon® XR) is a prescription medication that comes in a few different forms and is approved for a few different uses. Clonidine products include:
- Clonidine immediate-release tablets (Catapres), approved for treating high blood pressure
- Clonidine patches (Catapres-TTS), approved for treating high blood pressure
- Clonidine extended-release tablets (Kapvay), approved to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
- Clonidine extended-release tablets and liquid (Nexiclon XR), approved to treat high blood pressure
- Clonidine epidural infusion (Duraclon), approved for treating severe cancer pain.
(Click What Is Clonidine Used For? for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Potential Side Effects
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with clonidine. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects (most people actually tolerate it quite well). If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
The side effects depend somewhat upon which form of the drug is used (tablets or oral liquid, patches, or epidural infusion). Some of the most common side effects include, but are not limited to:
(Click Clonidine Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)