Clonidine Side Effects, Upsides, Downsides & How it Works

Clonidine is a medicine that is used for a variety of different health issues. It belongs to the class of drugs known as beta-blockers and works to steady the heart rate to ensure that blood flows smoothly throughout the body.



Clonidine is widely used for hypertension which is a condition of having high blood pressure. This medicine may also be used to prevent angina which is a condition that causes chest pain. Clonidine may be used as a part of treatment to prevent angina attacks. Moreover, clonidine may also prove to be helpful when used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, heart failures, heart rhythm disorders and other similar heart and circulation issues.


Common side effects of clonidine

Although severe side effects of this medicine are rare, there have been instances of such effects on a few users. The major side effects of clonidine are mentioned below and will require immediate medical attention if you experience any of these.

Major side effects

An allergic reaction that may cause hives, a skin rash, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, etc.

  • Constipation
  • Sexual problems such as impotence
  • Fainting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hair loss
  • Slowed or shallow heartbeats
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • A dry throat
  • A drop in heart rate; this condition is called severe bradycardia. The action of this drug slows down the transmission of nerve impulses to the heart, slowing down the heartbeat to dangerous levels or even completely stopping it.
  • Nasal congestion and wheezing
  • Thrombocytopenia which is a condition of having a low platelet blood count
  • Urinary incontinence, particularly in women


There are minor side effects of this drug too, but these are temporary and tend to go away once treatment is completed. It is possible you might not even experience any side effects at all.

Minor side effects

  • A headache
  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Anemia
  • Dry or irritated eyes
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain

These side effects are mild and are fairly common among users. They are not dangerous and do not require you to consult a doctor. However, if you notice these signs aggravating, see a doctor at once.



How does clonidine work?

Clonidine is a beta-blocker and hence, improves blood flow around the body. It works by preventing natural chemicals in the body such as epinephrine or adrenaline from carrying out their function on the beta receptors of the heart and blood. This results in relaxed blood vessels that eventually lead to lowered blood pressure. High blood pressure is caused by constricted blood vessels that place an increased strain on the heart to pump blood around the body in order to fulfill the oxygen demand of the body which is considered the core reason of patients suffering from angina attacks.


How to use clonidine?

Clonidine is a medicinal drug and should only be taken with a doctor’s recommendation. It must be taken orally with a full glass of water. You may choose to take this medicine with or without a meal, but you may also choose to follow your doctor’s directions. The dosage may vary according to the patient’s medical health, weight, and age but it usually tends to be once or twice per day. Swallow the tablet whole and not chew, break or bite it as this may increase side effects.

Do not alter dosages or overdose as it may lead to serious side effects. Take clonidine regularly as per your doctor’s recommendation for the best of results.



  • Do not use Clonidine if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not use it if you suffer from heart diseases, COPD, low blood pressure, asthma, fluid retention, liver or kidney diseases, untreated tumors, acidity of the blood, etc.
  • Not suitable for use by children under the age of 18.
  • May make you dizzy; do not engage in activities that require complete attention such as driving and operating machinery until fully alert.


  • Get up from a lying or a sitting position slowly to avoid falling over due to being dizzy.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption when taking this medicine as it may increase the risks of side effects.
  • Pregnant women should not use Clonidine without a doctor’s recommendation a sit may harm the unborn child.
  • Breastfeeding women should not use Clonidine as it may through breast milk and harm the nursing child.