Clonidine is classified as an antihypertensive. Clonidine pharmacology involves having agonist activity at central alpha 2 receptors. This leads to lower sympathetic outflow and a reduction in blood pressure.
Clonidine has numerous reported uses in addition to its antihypertensive effect. It can potentially be used for ADHD, menopausal type symptoms, and opioid withdrawal.
Clonidine has historically been on the Beers’ list of drugs as it can cause some CNS side effects like sedation, dizziness, and rarely delirium.
Clonidine is unique in the antihypertensive class as it does have a patch formulation.
Because of the blood pressure lowering effect of clonidine, we have to be aware of patients who report dizziness. Monitoring is critical.
Clonidine can also lower heart rate and contribute to dry mouth. Keep an eye out for drugs that can have a cumulative effect on these symptoms.
Drugs like beta-blockers, non-DHP CCB’s, and digoxin can all have a cumulative effect with clonidine and lower pulses. Monitoring is important.