What Is Clonidine Used For?
The tablet and skin patch forms of clonidine are approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, while the epidural form is licensed to be used in combination with opiates to treat severe cancer pain. ADHD is another condition that can be treated with clonidine. Healthcare providers may also occasionally recommend off-label uses of clonidine, such as for treating glaucoma.
Clonidine hydrochloride (Catapres®, Catapres-TTS®, Duraclon®, Kapvay™, Nexiclon® XR) is a prescription medication that comes in several different forms. Clonidine immediate-release tablets (Catapres), long-acting tablets and liquid (Nexiclon XR), and patches (Catapres-TTS) are approved for treating high blood pressure.
Clonidine epidural infusion (Duraclon) is approved for treating severe cancer pain. Kapvay long-acting tablets are approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
By lowering blood pressure, blood pressure medications (like clonidine) are thought to decrease the risks that occur with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). Clonidine does not, however, cure high blood pressure. It can be used alone or in combination with other blood pressure medications.
Clonidine can be given by an epidural for treating severe cancer pain. It should be used together with opiate medications (such as morphine) and only in people who do not respond adequately to opiates alone. In general, clonidine is more effective for nerve pain, compared to other types of pain. Because of the significant risks of epidural clonidine, this treatment is generally not recommended for other types of pain (such as obstetrical or post-surgery pain).