Clonidine: An Incredibly Useful Drug When Used Properly
Like many other medications on the market today, clonidine can have some pretty beneficial applications. Hypertension, ADHD, insomnia, and opiate withdrawals are all treatable with this versatile drugs help.
But equally similar to many other substances, clonidine use does come with the potential for abuse and addiction, particularly when its used with other substances.
As such, its important that anyone using clonidine follows their doctors prescription completely. Otherwise you may be facing an addiction thats not only troublesome, but fatal as well.
How Long Does Clonidine For Anxiety Take To Work
Patients report their anxiety easing up within as little as a week after they start taking clonidine for anxiety. For others, it takes a little longer.
Every patient is unique and responds to the medication differently. Easing sleeping difficulties is one of the earliest signs that the medication is working and this happens within a week of taking the medication. The 0.1 mg dosage is effective for dealing with sleep difficulties in adults.
Improvement of anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms may take a shorter time if clonidine is used in combination with other medications, as well as psychotherapy.
Is There Any Evidence Suggesting Clonidine Is Ineffective
There appears to be no significant evidence suggesting that Clonidine is ineffective for the treatment of ADHD. Nearly every published study highlights some degree of improvement in regards to ADHD symptoms. While the improvements may not have been as significant as those produced by psychostimulant drugs like methylphenidate, they are still regarded as clinically significant compared to a placebo. The FDA approved Clonidine for the treatment of ADHD, solidifying its status as an effective option.
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Multiple Drug Dosing Considerations
The side effects mentioned previously and in this section are typically transient and mild. In some cases, however, these effects can be more prolonged and serious. Be sure to educate clients about the possible side effects and tell them to contact you or another veterinarian immediately with any concerns.
If you encounter adverse effects, you can decrease the dose or, in more severe cases, discontinue the medication completely. Compounds with longer half-lives, such as SSRIs, can be discontinued abruptly, if necessary. But with shorter-acting compounds, such as TCAs, the dose should be gradually tapered to minimize withdrawal signs. Likewise, trazodone and clonidine should be slowly withdrawn if they have been administered two or three times daily for a prolonged period. Gradual withdrawal is helpful in all cases when there is a need to determine the lowest effective dose.
Dose adjustments for SSRIs should be made in four- to six-week increments, while shorter-acting compounds can be adjusted every one or two weeks. There is no need to withdraw these medications before anesthesia, but consider reducing premedication sedation to minimize interactions.
Other factors to consider when administering psychoactive pharmaceuticals include the following:
- Serotonergic agents may decrease triiodothyronine and thyroxine concentrations.
How Should This Medicine Be Used
Clonidine comes as a tablet and an extended-release tablet to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken two times a day at evenly spaced intervals. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. Take clonidine at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clonidine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release tablets whole do not split, chew or crush them.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of clonidine and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every week.
Clonidine may help to control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take clonidine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking clonidine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking clonidine, it can cause a rapid rise in your blood pressure and symptoms such as nervousness, headache, and uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually over 2 to days for the regular tablet and 3 to 7 days for the extended-release tablet.
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How Effective Is Clonidine For Anxiety
The medication clonidine reduces the physical stress response in the human body by working to block epinephrine, a chemical involved in fight or flight responses. It is prescribed for several physical and mental health conditions, including anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, and high blood pressure. The use of clonidine for anxiety works to prevent the physical responses to anxiety, such as a racing heart and elevated blood pressure, rather than relying on its ability to stop anxious thoughts.
Other drugs exist to treat anxiety and panic disorders, but many mental health professionals prefer to use clonidine for treating anxiety. Unlike the benzodiazepines, another class of medications used for anxiety, there is little risk of addiction when using it. Studies investigating the efficacy of this medication as an anxiety treatment found that it was far superior to placebo treatments, which indicates that it has a real effect in treating this mental disorder. Clonidine decreased attacks of anxiety for most people studied, but in some cases, it made the anxiety symptoms even worse.
About Clonidine: Label And Off
Clonidine is a prescription medication that was originally approved for use in the treatment of high blood pressure. Today, it is used to address anxiety and several other psychiatric disorders and entities, thanks to its calming effect. The extended-release version of clonidine is FDA-approved for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children aged 6 years and above. It can be used alone or in combination with other medications.
While not a legitimate indication, clonidine is used to manage general anxiety disorders. It is also prescribed for patients who get panic attacks. It treats tics in people with Tourettes syndrome. Managing withdrawal symptoms is a common off-label use of clonidine. The drug induces a calming effect that helps to ease the withdrawal systems. Doctors commonly recommend clonidine for patients that are dealing with cigarette, alcohol, and opioid cessation.
Other uses include managing menopausal flushes and menstrual cramps in women. Clonidine is also used to manage chronic and acute pain for some patients such as cancer patients.
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Clonidine For Adhd: An Effective Treatment & Adjunct
Clonidine is a drug that is commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure. Clonidine is also commonly used as a treatment for anxiety and as an intervention to minimize drug withdrawal symptoms. On occasion, it is prescribed off-label for the treatment of PTSD, borderline personality disorder, stress, and insomnia.
It functions primarily as an Alpha-2 adrenergic agonist, meaning it stimulates Alpha-2 receptors to reduce blood pressure. Regionally, it primarily targets Alpha-2 receptors in the vasomotor area of the brainstem. Upon binding to these receptors, it inhibits the release of norepinephrine and decreases extracellular calcium levels ultimately decreasing activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
A lesser known use for Clonidine is to treat ADHD. As of 2010, the drug was approved by the FDA as an atypical ADHD medication. It is thought to treat attentional-deficits specifically by ramping up norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex. The reduction of physiological stimulation from the sympathetic nervous system, coupled with an increase in prefrontal norepinephrine is thought to increase both calmness and concentration.
Opiate Addiction: How Clonidine Helps Combat Withdrawal
Although the intended use of Clonidine is not for the treatment of opiate addiction, use of Clonidine to treat opiate addiction has been successful. For this reason, the medication should not be overlooked when exploring options for medical treatment of opiate addiction. When going through treatment, opiate users may experience some severe withdrawal symptoms, according to the National Library of Medicine. Early symptoms may include the following:
Further symptoms may also include:
- Abdominal cramping
Fortunately, Clonidine works to combat many of these symptoms. While it cannot reduce cravings, it can help reduce the effects of anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping. Remember, the medication works by slowing the heart ratethe user will feel more relaxed, and thusly, symptoms will begin to abate. Used together with medication to help treat other symptoms, Clonidine can be very effective in treating opiate addiction.
Does Clonidine Work For Anxiety
Clonidine is primarily used to treat hypertension and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder among children. Besides these two, it also has potential in treating other illnesses such as migraines, withdrawal symptoms, and diarrhea. Some medical practitioners also prescribe Clonidine for anxiety.
Clonidine is a centrally acting 2 adrenergic agonist and imidazoline receptor agonist. It was initially used to treat hypertension in the mid-1960s under the brand name Catapres. Another version of the drug named Kapvay debuted recently in 2010 as a treatment for ADHD for children between 7-16 years old. Other brand names of Clonidine include Nexiclon, Clophelin, and Jenloga.
Clonidine Abuse: Signs To Watch Out For
Researchers have found that clonidine actually boosts and extends the opioid high. Given that it is typically easier to obtain than other prescription opioids, the elevating effect that clonidine has on the opioid high makes it particularly at risk for abuse.
Clonidine has been shown to have an intensifying effect when combined with other sedatives like alcohol or barbiturates as well. Whats more, some antidepressants may also interact with clonidine negatively, causing increased drowsiness or other complications.
If you suspect that someone you know is abusing clonidine, there are many different signs of abuse to watch out for. Here are just a few:
- Do you notice signs of intoxication ?
- Are they consistently making excuses for avoiding social contact?
- Has their physical appearance changed with regards to weight, hygiene, or general concern for how they look?
- Are they having trouble at work, school, or with the law?
- Do they no longer participate in activities that they used to enjoy?
- Are they unable to fulfill obligations that were never a problem for them before?
- Are they showing signs of clonidine withdrawals?
While substance use disorders are typically characterized by these outward signs, they dont necessarily point to a clonidine abuse problem. Only a qualified professional can make that call.
As such, if you are concerned about someones clonidine use, contact a physician and start looking into the wide variety of rehabilitation options.
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Low Blood Pressure Or Heart Rate
- Risk factors: History of low blood pressure | Heart problems | Kidney failure | History of fainting | Dehydration | Taking other medications that lower blood pressure or slow the heart
Clonidine ER can lower your blood pressure or heart rate, especially when you take higher doses. Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood pressure and heart rate while you use this medication. If you have any of the above risk factors, you will want to be cautious every time you start a new dose. Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel dizzy, tired, or run out of breath easily after using clonidine ER . Keep your provider and pharmacist updated with all of the medications that you’re on, so that they can monitor for potentially dangerous interactions.
Why Clonidine Is Gaining Popularity For Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders
There are a number of reasons why Clonidine is a good option to consider when targeting anxiety. Many doctors and psychiatrists are beginning to realize that this medication is pretty safe. Although its not a first line of treatment for anxiety, it is one of the safer medications if you have just anxiety. If you have anxiety and hypertension and/or anxiety and comorbid ADHD or hyperactivity, this may be an ideal fit.
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Benefits Of Clonidine For Anxiety
Among the top advantages of using clonidine for anxiety include the following
- Clonidine has proven high efficacy. Some patients who have had no success with other medications reported that they saw great results with clonidine. Some of these patients have dealt with anxiety disorders for years and in that time have tried more than a few medications. For these patients, clonidine has been, to say, the least, a game-changer for their mental health.
- Clonidine, unlike some medications similar to it, is not addictive. There has been no evidence in support of the contrary and patients have used clonidine for anxiety for years without getting to the point of addiction.
- Clonidine has been proven to boost the effect of stimulants. This is especially helpful for patients who are on stimulants not just for anxiety but for other mental issues such as ADHD and depression.
- It is appetite-neutral. Some medications, mostly stimulants, have long been associated with suppressed appetite. This can be such a big problem for patients who are already dealing with being underweight. Similarly, it doesnt increase the appetite and you can confidently take the medication without worrying about gaining any weight.
- The side effects associated with clonidine are fairly mild and not so bad that they would interfere with everyday life. Again, not everyone experiences these side effects. Similarly, and as already stated, these side effects usually go away after a few doses.
Summary Of Critical Appraisal
Additional details regarding the critical appraisal of included publications are presented by study type in .
1. What is the clinical effectiveness of clonidine for the treatment of adults with psychiatric conditions or symptoms?
The retrospective chart review in patients with combat nightmares clearly described the study objectives, main outcomes, characteristics of included patients, and main findings and the study patients were representative of their source population as all records from patients initially examined during a one year period were assessed for the study criteria. Comparisons between different interventions were not tested. Medication trials were not all independent of one another and treatment compliance was not reported. Response to one medication regimen in a patient may have predicted response to a different dosage or medication in the same patient and differences in treatment compliance between medications may affect observed responses. Response of frequency and severity of combat nightmares to treatment was not assessed using a valid and reliable instrument and estimates of random variability in treatment response were not provided.
2. What are the harms associated with the potential misuse or abuse of clonidine?
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