Clonidine, sold as the brand name Catapres among others, is a prescription medication that belongs to a family of drugs known as centrally acting alpha-agonists.
Clonidine for Anxiety, Sleep, ADHD, Menopause, PTSD?
Clonidine is widely used as a medication for high blood pressure since it decreases the heart rate and loosens the blood vessels so that blood can circulate more easily within the body. This medicine will not cure your high blood pressure, but it does help control it It is also used as a treatment for some of the symptoms of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The way it works is not completely understood but it said to operate on the parts of the brain that regulate attention and impulsivity. Clonidine is often also prescribed to help with alcohol, nicotine, or opioid withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, it may even accelerate detox from opioids.
The History of Clonidine
It comes in different forms as a skin patch, oral tablet, or injection. Other brand names include Arkamin, Aruclonin, Atensina, Catapin, Clonistada, Clonnirit, Clophelinum, Melzin, Menograine, Normopresan. Clonidine was first introduced in 1966 as a treatment for hypertension. Clonidine is not a scheduled drug but it is considered to have some potential for abuse and dependency, especially due to its low cost and availability.
Even though clonidine is a medication commonly used for withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction, it still poses a risk of abuse. dependency is most common when Clonidine is mixed with other drugs or alcohol which can increase its potency. A person with Clonidine dependence will often exhibit some of the following signs:
- Consuming a higher or more frequent dose of clonidine than prescribed.
- Not being able to stop using the drug.
- Being occupied with thoughts about buying and using the drug
- Having a compulsive urge to use the drug.
- Dysfunctional social dynamics
- Continuing to abuse clonidine despite side effects.
- Quitting hobbies and activities to use clonidine.
- Requiring higher doses of clonidine to achieve the desired effects.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using clonidine
As dependency worsens, so will the misuse of the drug causing even more dependency. The effects of such a cycle can be dire.
Clonidine side effects and interactions
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Dry mouth
- Headache (dose-dependent)
- Skin reactions
- Abnormal LFTs
- Weight gain/loss
- Pain below the ear
- Erectile dysfunction
More severe but less frequently experience side effects include:
- Delusional perception
- Sinus bradycardia
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Impaired ability to cry
- Atrioventricular block
- Nasal dryness
- Colonic pseudo-obstruction
Another dangerous side effect is Clonidine withdrawal which is a phenomenon medically known as Clonidine rebound hypertension, which occurs when the drug is stopped abruptly without gradual reduction.
Symptoms of rebound hypertension include.
- Increased salivation
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
Clonidine Overdose Treatment
In cases of misuse, Clonidine is often mixed with other drugs for recreational purposes. In such cases, overdose can occur, and while the overdose is not directly associated with Clonidine, it can still play a role and serve as a gateway drug. Sadly, dependency often includes when the drugs are used medically as a treatment for opioid addiction. The CDC estimates that the percentage of illegally obtained prescription medication is only about 15% of total prescription drug misuse. When the person finds relief in the drug, which is medically prescribed, they will hold a belief that it is harmless to use and thus use it frequently. With low restrictions regarding the drug, acquiring the drug becomes easier and requires less effort.
For a safe recovery from using Clonidine, medical supervision is essential to help the individual with a gradual reduction of the dosage. If you need help with Clonidine or other medication addiction, have a look at our website. The dangers of medication abuse and addiction are constantly on the rise. People are often burdened by mental and psychological issues and are thus prone to abusing any substances that might relieve their pains. Unfortunately, these substances can create bigger health issues and may even lead to death.
“Clonidine Monograph for Professionals”. Drugs.com. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
Neil, MJ (November 2011). “Clonidine: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic use in pain management”. Current Clinical Pharmacology. 6 (4): 280–7. doi:10.2174/157488411798375886. PMID 21827389. S2CID 40756251.
“clonidine (Rx) – Catapres, Catapres-TTS, more.” Medscape Reference. WebMD. Retrieved 10 November 2013.