Hypertension Home > Clonidine Overdose

If you take too much clonidine, you could develop symptoms such as drowsiness, shallow or slow breathing, weakness, and low body temperature. The specific effects of an overdose may vary, depending on how much of the medication was taken and whether it was taken with other substances. Treatment for an overdose may involve "pumping the stomach," taking certain medications, and supportive care.

Can You Take Too Much Clonidine?

Clonidine hydrochloride (Catapres®, Catapres-TTS®, Duraclon®, Kapvay™, Nexiclon® XR) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. As with most medications, it is possible to take too much clonidine. The specific effects of a clonidine overdose can be dangerous but will vary, depending on a number of factors, including the clonidine dosage and whether it was taken with any other medications or substances.
 

Effects of an Overdose

An overdose with clonidine may cause the following problems:
 
  • High blood pressure at first, followed by low blood pressure
  • A slow heart rate
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Constricted, pinpoint pupils
  • An irregular heart rhythm
  • Coma
  • Seizures.
     

Treatment for a Clonidine Overdose

The treatment for an overdose will vary. If the overdose was recent, a healthcare provider may give certain medicines or place a tube into the stomach to "pump the stomach." In general, vomiting should not be induced. Treatment will also involve supportive care, such as:
 
  • Close monitoring of vital signs
  • Giving medications to increase and control the heart rate
  • Giving IV fluids and medications to increase blood pressure
  • Giving medications to increase breathing.
     
It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you believe that you may have taken a clonidine overdose.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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