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Clonidine and Dry Mouth

Dry mouth appears to be one of the most commonly reported problems with clonidine. In clinical studies, this side effect was reported in up to 40 percent of people taking the tablets, 25 percent of those using the skin patch, and 13.2 percent of people using the epidural. Dry mouth due to clonidine often improves with time.

Does Clonidine Cause a Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of clonidine hydrochloride (Catapres®, Catapres-TTS®, Duraclon®, Kapvay™, Nexiclon® XR). In clinical studies, a dry mouth was reported very frequently, in up to 40 percent of people (for clonidine tablets), 25 percent of people (for clonidine patches), 13.2 percent (for clonidine epidural infusion), or 5 percent (for long-acting clonidine tablets in children).

Suggestions for Dry Mouth Due to Clonidine

For people taking clonidine, there are some things that you can do to help with a dry mouth. Some of these suggestions include:
  • For clonidine tablets, ask your healthcare provider about taking the larger portion of your clonidine dosage at bedtime (and the smaller portion in the morning). This might help, as you will sleep through the period when the mouth is most dry.
  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often.
  • Sip water or sugarless drinks during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier; it may also improve the taste of food.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth.
  • Don't use tobacco or alcohol; they can dry out the mouth.
  • Use a humidifier at night.
  • Be aware of spicy or salty foods because they may cause pain in a dry mouth.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow; cinnamon- or mint-flavored candies are good choices.
Keep in mind that a dry mouth due to clonidine often improves with time. However, it is important to understand that chronic dry mouth can cause dental problems and is not merely a bothersome issue.
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