One of the main benefits clonidine offers is the effective management of hypertension (i.e., high blood pressure levels). Brain chemicals such as renin, norepinephrine, etc., play a key role in determining the vascular pressure level. Clonidine along with its active chemicals helps control the production of these brain chemicals. Once the tension on the walls of your blood vessels is removed, you are more likely to experience calming of your mind as well as easing of restlessness, anxieties and confusion. But, can you buy this drug as an over the counter (OTC) med? It becomes essential to know about this, prior to starting to use clonidine.

A chronic spell of increased blood pressure levels (i.e., hypertension) may need appropriate medical attention. If left unchecked, this condition may result in serious problems such as cardiac failure or a heart attack. Your doctor may advise consumption of healthy foods – which are not fatty or oily, work out regularly as well as lead a stress-free life. These are generally considered as good practices to keep blood pressure level under control. Prescription of drugs like clonidine is also a widely considered treatment option. This drug is known for its properties to establish calmness and to manage episodes of panic, anxieties, restlessness, etc.

Clonidine is available as a few variants; these include variants such as immediate release, controlled release, etc. While prescribing, your treating doctor will advise which variant of this drug needs to be taken. It can be harmful to take multiple forms of clonidine at the same time, as part of your medication plan. You also need to know – regardless of the variant taken – clonidine is likely to trigger a few side effects. Most common side effects include pain in the abdomen, dizziness, headaches, sleeping disorders or insomnia, infections in your airways, difficulties to discharge stools (i.e., constipation), etc. It is also likely to trigger unwanted reactions such as weird dreams, being in an irritated frame of mind as well as feeling tired. In some rare cases, a few people who took clonidine also reported respiratory problems, chest pain coupled with erratic pulse rates or heartbeat. If these reactions are known to persist for long, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Is clonidine an over the counter (OTC) drug?

This drug always needs to be accompanied by your treating doctor’s prescription. It is not sold as an over the counter (OTC) med. As the drug has multiple forms – for instance, based on its release – intake needs to be always accompanied by a proper treatment / medication plan. Your dosage plan depends on a lot of factors – such as severity of the underlying condition(s), your age, prior disorders, if any and how well your body reacts to the first few dosages of this drug. Without a qualified medical practitioner, this drug is never administered to older people. Among people who are aged above 55 years, strength of dosages is always maintained at a nominal level. As elders are more vulnerable to adverse side effects such as dizziness, fainting or falling, additional precautions are required.

Your treating doctor may also advise how to take this drug on a daily basis. Foremost of all, dosages of clonidine are distributed as two doses per day – once in the morning and the second dose prior to bedtime. If the condition is fairly acute, your caregiver may prescribe intake of this drug in three distinctive doses every day. The tablet form of clonidine must not be bitten or chewed. Instead, it must always be swallowed with 3 to 4 ounces of water. On the other hand, skin patches containing this medication need to be applied only after taking ample safety instructions from your caregiver.

Other essential things you must know prior to taking clonidine

Those who are living with kidney problems are advised to check the filtering efficiency of kidneys on a continued basis. Also, check your blood pressure levels periodically. Consult with your caregiving team upon noticing anxieties, being confused, restless or overly stressed out. In such cases, your current medication plan needs to be reviewed and a few alternatives are prescribed to calm your mind.

If your friend or a family member is showing signs of hypertension or being restless, never share your drugs with her. Your medication plan may not work well for someone who has similar symptoms or signs. Also, never stop taking this drug all of a sudden; this is because of likely withdrawal symptoms an abrupt discontinuation may trigger. Those who stopped the intake of this drug without tapering its strength witnessed a sudden increase in blood pressure, tremors or shaking, migraines / headaches, etc. Upon witnessing any of these symptoms, you are advised to take clinical attention in a healthcare setting at the earliest possible time.

Breastfeeding women must take added precautions as the active chemicals of clonidine can enter into breastmilk. Hence, use of this med among nursing women must be avoided. Similarly, women who are already pregnant must inform their caregiver about their medical condition. During advanced stages of pregnancy, intake of this drug is not recommended. On the other hand, women who are planning to become pregnant must use contraceptives while taking clonidine. You may talk to your gynecologist to know more about the type of contraceptive that suits you. With needful medical advice, you can choose from a wide range of contraceptives – such as hormone-based, non-hormonal approaches, etc.

Last but not least, never give this drug to children aged less than 5 years. For teens or younger adults (below 18 years of age), a starting dose of 0.1 milligram may be given. For younger people, it is a safe practice to take clonidine before bedtime. Also, for adolescents, a larger dose is often offered before they go to sleep while a weaker dose is offered during daytime. You are advised to talk to your child’s doctor to understand the dosage plan in greater detail.

In sum, clonidine is not an over the counter (OTC) med. It needs to be always accompanied by your treating doctor’s prescription. Clonidine is prescribed in multiple variants; the underlying clinical condition determines which variant fits best to your system. While discontinuing the doses, they cannot be stopped all of a sudden; instead, dosages of clonidine are tapered off – often at 0.1 milligram before bringing it to a complete stop. As many such decisions may require a qualified doctor’s guidance and supervision, never take clonidine without your doctor’s consent.

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