Increase in blood pressure is often an outcome of leading a stress-filed life or a sedentary lifestyle. In some instances, hypertension may show up when you eat an unbalanced or a fat-rich daily diet. The treatment plan is quite a comprehensive one. It includes calming your mind and body by reducing stress levels, intake of lesser sodium or similar salts, staying away from unhealthy fats like red meat or greasy / oily foods. Drugs such as clonidine are prescribed along with changes to your diet and to your living conditions. But, can clonidine cause any side effects? It becomes essential to know more on this before taking this drug.

The chief reason why clonidine is prescribed is its ability to reduce blood pressure. Persistent spells of high pressure can result in irreversible damages to your kidneys, brain, arteries as well as heart muscles. Over a period of time, high blood pressure can lead to strokes, loss of eyesight, cardiac failure or a heart attack. Antihypertensive drug clonidine is prescribed in multiple forms – such as immediate release or an extended / sustained release. However, no two forms are consumed at the same time. Also, drugs which may contain the same active ingredients of clonidine are never prescribed along with clonidine; such practices may result in an overdosed condition. Owing to the drug’s calming effects, it is used for exerting needful control over anxieties, restlessness or staying confused most of the times. As an extended use, clonidine is also prescribed in the treatment plan to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD).

You need to know that clonidine belongs to a genre of drugs known as centrally-acting, alpha-agonists. Within this genre of meds, it is sub-categorized under a family of hypotensive agents. The sub-genre stems from properties of clonidine which can ease your arteries by dilating them. This dilation works well to bring down tension levels. For the treatment of ADHD, the extended release variant of clonidine is largely used. It is equally important to remember that this drug is not consumed as an over the counter (OTC) drug; instead, its purchase and use needs to be accompanied by your treating doctor’s prescription.

Side effects of clonidine

Like most meds, clonidine is also likely to trigger a few side effects. You may experience discomforts such as excessive levels of weariness, abdominal problems like vomiting, nausea, etc., difficulties to discharge stools or lack of bowel movements, migraines, drying of mouth as well as a few other signs of dehydration. Other undesired side effects include a significant drop in libido or reduced level of interest in sexual activity, overall weakness, etc. If these side effects do not disappear within a few days, it is strongly recommended to consult with your caregiving team without much delay.

A few side effects or allergic reactions can turn into serious or acute medical conditions. These include pain while swallowing foods, hoarseness of voice or inflammation of ankles / lower parts of limbs, swelling of facial parts such as nose, lips or eyes. In some rare cases, a small percentage of people reported inflammation of oral organs such as gums, tongue, throat, or a few respiratory problems in the form of gasping for breath or wheezing. These are possible allergies – which may be triggered as soon as you start taking clonidine. For this reason, it is essential to tell your doctor about prior hypersensitivity / allergies to drugs such as clonidine or to active chemicals used in such meds.

Overdose of clonidine

A few people may turn anxious and may take larger doses (than what are prescribed) of this drug. This is not a safe practice. It can only aggravate your medical condition instead of treating it. You may experience side effects such as convulsions, epileptic seizures, fits or a complete collapse, respiratory disorders (such as slow down of breathing cycles) as well as fainting / passing out. Other acute signs of a possible overdose include paling of skin, slowdown of heartbeat, tremors, shaking, shivers, shrinkage of pupils, slurring of speech, etc.

Never alter the dosages on your own; it is a safe practice to check with your treating doctor / pharmacist prior to making any changes to your dosage plan. If you have missed a dose, never take a double dose of this drug. It can lead to an overdosed situation. Your doctor will advise to skip the missed dose and proceed ahead with your next dose. On the other hand, those who have missed a few doses – at a stretch, are advised to talk to their pharmacist to reschedule their dosage plan.

You need to note that the aforesaid side effects / discomforts do not constitute a full list. Hence, one may experience a few side effects which are not listed above. Upon encountering such unknown allergies or side effects, you need to talk to your treating doctor as quickly as you possibly can. Those who live in the US can reach out to 911 or call FDA helpdesk. People who are residents of Canada can either call Health Canada or a poison control center located closer to your home.

Other safety measures required for avoiding acute side effects of clonidine

Your physician will assess your heartbeat on a periodic basis; it is recommended to learn how to measure your pulse rate at home. Upon sensing a persistent spell of high blood pressure or an erratic heartbeat / pulse rate, consult with your caregiver without delay. Clonidine may work adversely when taken with other antihypertensive meds. Hence, you need to keep your doctor informed of all the other drugs currently taken. Make a list of all meds – including antihypertensive drugs, over the counter meds, prescription medications, vitamins or protein supplements, herbal or dietary aids. Having shared the list, never make changes to the drugs that you are consuming.

In sum, intake of clonidine may cause a few adverse side effects such as loss of interest in having sex, weakness, tiredness, erratic bowel movements, nausea or vomiting, constipation as well as a few signs of dehydration. If these discomforts last for long, consult with your treating physician and take needful medical attention. Residents of Canada need go to a local poison control center or reach out to Health Canada; on the other hand, people living in US are recommended to call 911 as soon as possible.

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