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Clonidine Withdrawal Symptoms: High Blood Pressure / Increased Heart Rate

Clonidine is a drug that is used primarily to treat high blood pressure by acting as an α2 adrenergic agonist. It also has been approved to treat ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), anxiety disorders, and panic attacks. In some cases it is even used to help manage chronic pain and is a commonly used drug to help ease opiate withdrawal symptoms. Other uses of Clonidine include: helping treat the “tics” in Tourette syndrome, alcohol withdrawal, nicotine withdrawal, migraine headaches, insomnia, sleep disorders and restlessness.

Most medical professionals consider this drug pretty safe for treating a variety of conditions. In fact, many doctors prefer Clonidine to a more powerful benzodiazepine drug like Xanax due to the fact that it is effective at easing symptoms of anxiety and it isn’t associated with long term memory impairment and/or dementia. I have personally taken this drug for anxiety and in my experience, it has worked pretty well at easing symptoms.

Despite the fact that this is a relatively safe drug, most professionals do not forewarn patients about prospective withdrawal symptoms. One of the more dangerous withdrawal symptoms is that of major increases in blood pressure. A person can actually go into a “hypertensive crisis” if they quit this drug cold turkey; this could lead to a stroke. Although most people will withdraw from this drug without problems, it is important to be as safe as possible.

Factors that influence Clonidine withdrawal include…

When coming off of any drug, it is important to recognize the factors that influence withdrawal. Various factors that will play a role in determining the severity of your withdrawal include: time span, dosage, your personal physiology, and whether you quit cold turkey or tapered.

1. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

Perhaps the number one factor when it comes to withdrawing from Clonidine is whether you decide to quit “cold turkey” or taper off of it. If you were on Clonidine daily for an extended period of time at a reasonable dosage, stopping without conducting a gradual taper could lead to a hypertensive crisis. Therefore it is important to gradually reduce your dosage over the course of weeks or months depending on how long you have been taking this drug.

Work with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure as you reduce the dose. I would recommend reducing your dose by 10% every week or two and coming off of this drug very slowly – but always make sure you have some sort of medical supervision. If you think you may be coming off of Clonidine too quickly, conduct an even slower taper – it’s better to err on the side of caution.

2. Dosage (0.2 mg to 0.6 mg)

Most people that have anxiety simply take this drug on an “as needed” basis. Other people are typically instructed to take 0.1 mg twice per day (once in the morning and once at night). If 0.2 mg is not effective, a doctor will typically “titrate” the dose up to an amount that is found effective. Most people on this drug take anywhere between 0.2 mg and 0.6 mg for a therapeutic effect.

The maximum effective dose is 2.4 mg – anything beyond that dose is deemed as non-therapeutic. Understand that the greater the dosage you take, the more slowly you will need to conduct a gradual taper to avoid a hypertensive crisis (i.e. spike in blood pressure). If you have questions regarding how to slowly reduce your dosage, be sure to talk to your doctor.

3. Time Span

Another important factor that influences withdrawal is the time span over which you have been taking Clonidine. If you have only been taking it for a short period of time and haven’t become fully dependent on the drug for your everyday functioning, you should have an easier time coming off of it.

However, if you have been taking Clonidine for a long term period, you will likely experience more withdrawal symptoms. People that have been on this drug for years will need to be very careful when it comes to tapering off of it.

4. Individual Physiology

The experience that you have coming off of Clonidine is influenced by many individual factors. Individual factors include your nervous system, sensitivity to withdrawal, and whether you are on any other drugs. It is important to note that there are individual differences during withdrawal that lead to people experiencing different symptoms.

One person may experience major spikes in blood pressure, while another person may not be affected to the same degree. Some people have better personal habits and are healthier – which may lead to a quicker recovery from withdrawal symptoms.

Clonidine Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below are some possible withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you stop taking Clonidine. It is important to be aware of the withdrawal symptoms so that you know what to expect when you stop taking this drug. Some people may experience less symptoms, while others may have a severe withdrawal – the discontinuation effects vary based on the individual.  The most common symptoms associated with withdrawal are that of: high blood pressure and increased heart rate.

  • Anxiety: This is a drug that is prescribed off label for the treatment of anxiety disorders. I personally have taken Clonidine for anxiety and found that it works pretty well. Unfortunately as soon as you stop taking it, it is likely that you are going to experience rebound anxiety. In some cases, the anxiety you experience upon withdrawal is worse than that prior to taking the drug.
  • Depression: Despite the fact that this medication is used to treat blood pressure and anxiety, some people do experience depression when they first quit taking it. If a person becomes depressed as a result of excessive anxiety, this could emerge as a problem. You may experience a mild depression for a short period of time when you initially withdraw.
  • Dizziness: Perhaps the most common symptom associated with every type of psychiatric drug withdrawal is that of feeling dizzy. If you feel dizzy and lightheaded, this is because your physiology is attempting to readjust to functioning without the drug.
  • Headache: A common withdrawal symptom from any drug is that of headaches. Some people actually get headache relief when they take this medication. When you stop taking this drug, you may experience headaches. Usually the withdrawal headaches are relatively minor. Just know that if you are experiencing headaches, they’ll likely improve over time.
  • Heart rate increases: Most people report increases in heart rate after they stop taking this drug. A person may experience heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat upon discontinuation. If given enough time, the heart should eventually stabilize.
  • High blood pressure: Sudden discontinuation of Clonidine can result in hypertension (or high blood pressure). Many people take it to help reduce their blood pressure and if discontinued without a gradual taper, a person may experience marked increases in blood pressure.
  • Insomnia: This is a drug that tends to have a depressant effect on the central nervous system. When you stop taking it, you may experience insomnia – especially if you were taking this it at night to help you fall asleep.
  • Irritability: Any drug like Clonidine that helps keep a person calm and anxiety at bay can result in feelings of irritability when it is stopped. If you are feeling especially irritable and have recently stopped taking this drug, it is likely a result of withdrawal.
  • Lightheadedness: Some people report feeling lightheaded when they first stop taking this drug. The feeling of being lightheaded should improve within a couple weeks – this should not be a long lasting symptom.
  • Mood swings: Certain individuals report experiencing mood swings, or sudden changes in mood. You may transition from feeling aggressive to feeling depressed then to feeling angry. Usually the mood swings when a person stops taking a drug aren’t positive moods.
  • Nausea: It is common to feel nauseous when you initially stop taking Clonidine. Not everyone will experience this symptom, but if the nausea is overwhelming, you may want to conduct a more gradual taper.
  • Vomiting: If nausea becomes extreme enough, it may lead to vomiting. If you vomit upon withdrawal, it may be due to the fact that you stopped “cold turkey” or didn’t conduct a gradual enough taper. Either way, this symptom should subside relatively quickly.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1429594/

Clonidine Withdrawal Timeline: How long does it last?

During withdrawal, most people are worried about the blood pressure spike. After you have taken your last dose and quit for good, you need to monitor your blood pressure. A small study with 14 patients showed that if a person does experience a blood pressure spike, it is likely to occur within the first 60 hours of being drug-free. Therefore once you have made it through the first three days of withdrawal, you shouldn’t have to worry about a hypertensive crisis.

Other than blood pressure increases, the withdrawal process is relatively minor as long as you conducted a safe “taper” off of the drug. This is a drug that should never be quit cold turkey unless you have been on an extremely low dose and have been working closely with your doctor. As far as non-physical, psychological symptoms are concerned, these may last weeks following your last dose of the drug. It will take your brain a little bit of time to readjust to functioning without the Clonidine.

Withdrawal will vary depending on the individual. For some people, the tapering down process can take a long time because the person was on a higher dose of the drug and had taken it for a longer period of time. For other individuals that were never on a high dose to begin with and only took Clonidine for a short duration, the withdrawal could be relatively short-lived. If you have been on this drug and have successfully withdrawn, feel free to share your symptoms and/or what you did that helped ease those symptoms.

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • JannieG August 24, 2014, 4:13 pm

    Very informative article! I appreciate information like this, Clean and to the point. I was put on Clonidine for a few months.. 3 or 4. I had a horrible time on this medicine and that is why I have discontinued it. I was on .1mg 3-4 times daily. I had a lot of other issues going on so I immediately knew after 3 days of starting it that something was not right. I was all but drooling from this stuff.

    So I cut my dose in half. 1/2 pill 2-3 times a day. What’s funny, I actually started this medication to aid in crazy BP spikes. Now it causes them. But that isn’t all it did. It made me feel like I was in a DEEP brain fog about 2 hours after I took the dose. I mean I felt like I has totally screwed up. I should not have been driving. It causes anxiety between doses, spikes in bp, dizziness, light headedness and so on. I have not taken a pill in about 40 hours. My BP is so so. I did taper a little bit.

    But I had to get off this stuff. I have spent months trying to figure out what was causing these problems. I’m on such an amount of various meds for various reasons that it was a job to do the “process of illumination.” I do feel the same symptoms I felt while I was on it. But much milder. It’s way way less of a fog, way way less intense dizziness and so forth. I would think it would be safe to say that if this medication causes you side effects, you may experience them during the withdrawal phase of the drug. Maybe just less intense.

    That has been my personal experience. I’m hoping these effects will be gone soon and I can continue rebuilding my life. It definitely helped with the spikes but I was not warned of the consequences not the side effects. I thought I was still investigating the problems with my health issues. I had no idea all these problems were clonidine. These symptoms were right along with other problems and It was hard to differentiate.

    • Deb January 16, 2016, 1:40 am

      Yep crazy drug some ignorant doctor RX’d my 77 yr old husband for BP but makes you forgetful and it will kill you with a stroke if you forget to take a dose! Besides many older people are misdiagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s because Clonidine slows oxygen to brain. There should be a law! His doc (not the one who put him on) is trying to wean him off but it is frustrating and he is moody and negative not himself. BP could be controlled with food and exercise much better if he can ever get off!

  • Lori September 19, 2014, 2:51 pm

    I ran out off clonidine and couldn’t get to a doctor to help me out. My PCP was booked, so here I sit on day 3, head swimming, ears ringing, and a pressure reading of 168/125. I am scared of stroke. I have hypertension due to inheriting from my mother and her mother. My mother died of complications from TIA’s and now I am not sure this situation warrants a trip to the ER. ALL I NEED IS MORE CLONIDINE. I also take 40 mg lisinopril. (20 in am, 20 pm) along with .2 mg clonidine x a day as well. I “feel” ok, but with blood pressure being the “silent killer” I am worried. Big time.

    My initial question for this site is how long will this spike last, should I decide to stop clonidine for good? I have been on it for 15 years. And my PCP told me that not many doctors are even prescribing it that much any longer and was surprised when I told her when I met her in 2010. My boyfriend who doesn’t know anything about medicine and disease thought that when you wake up in the morning, he thought my bp would be low. Nope, not so. I HAVE hypertension. It knows nothing to do with night or day.

    I know I won’t get a response from this, but just writing it down makes me feel better….kinda like someone leaving a suicide note—just kidding. But I am asking all who read this think positive thoughts for me and that my RX gets filled today!

    Thanks for listening anyway wherever you may be.

    • Eric Gordon April 7, 2016, 5:38 pm

      I feel like this Clonidine is going to kill me. Just trying to taper is causing huge BP spikes and irregular heartbeats. Were you ever able to get off this poison? If so, how did you do it? I think a lot of people are and have suffered from this crappie drug.

      • Mary Jenson July 18, 2016, 11:11 pm

        This is a terrible drug to stop… but with proper medical assistance it can be done. Your doctor can prescribe a clonidine patch which can help you slowly taper off. Labetalol, which is an alpha and beta beta blocker, will help with blood pressure spikes and all symptoms except central effects for which a benzodiazepine will cover. An older three drug approach is outline here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6273179. It should be noted that blood pressure must be monitored carefully. Clonidine is an unforgiving harsh drug which can be conquered… with the program just outlined. Good luck.
        Mary

    • DiAnn July 27, 2016, 7:14 pm

      Lori, I know this may be late since you wrote in 2014, but I just saw your comments today 7/27/2016. Like you, I too take Clonidine and I hate it. My blood pressure issues started after me taking Chemo for Breast Cancer in 1998. They tried me on several other BP Meds but I am allergic to 54 different ones. The Clonidine is the only one my body tolerates, and over time, it has given me Cushing’s Syndrome.

      I have lost so much weight until I look very thin. I’ve tried and tried to get off of this meds, but I get blood pressure spikes into the 200’s over 150. They hospitalize me and tried to ween me off medically by substituting another med to control the BP but I was allergic to the new meds and had to go back on Clonidine. It keeps me drowsy and tired. My mouth is so dry after taking it, I can hardly talk.

      I have had five Nephrologist working to remove me from this drug. Tapering has not worked due to the huge rebound BP spikes. I don’t want to have a stroke and die this early, I have 10 grands I want to see grow up. Any suggestions, I’m open to. Good luck getting off. I also take Atenolol to control irregular heart beats that come with tapering off as well! If you were able to get off, how did you do it? This is poison in a pill.

      • SelmaLady August 14, 2016, 12:01 am

        How long did you taper the Clonidine? How did you reduce the amount you were taking? This is a horrible drug to taper, I know.

  • bob gerbasi December 28, 2014, 1:26 am

    I wouldn’t touch this piece of sh*t drug again if my life depended on it..I can’t get rid of the rebound spikes in my blood pressure after stopping this drug. My kidney doctor asked me, “why are you taking this ?” I haven’t touched it for about 8 days and today was the worst headache I’ve ever had and my BP was 204 over 104. Fortunately I have Bystolic that is supposed to help me wean off this crap, but I’ve been trying to get off the Bystolic also and just been taking 100mg of Losartan, my heart rate is always better than good, in the 60’s all the time.

    My diastolic number is usually in the low to mid 80’s, but the systolic is all over the place.. I had to take a bystolic about 20-25 minutes ago and my headache is subsiding..I absolutely hate that I was ever put on BP medicine in the first place. The first two they gave me , hydrochlorothorazide and lisinopril fried my kidneys and put me in the hospital for three days..It would have been nice if the doctor had told me to drink a lot of water so as not to get dehydrated, which is exactly what happened, and I ended up with a kidney GFR of 25.

    It was 60 before I took the first prescribed medicine..I’ve been sick for 8 straight months and as soon as I get through this withdrawal, I’m not going back to ANY doctor, they can guess on someone else’s body, not mine. I’m 77, never spent more than $50 dollars a year on drugs until this year, am thoroughly pissed off, still have a headache and backache, but all that aside I’m fine!! This site incidentally is the only one that answers the question you ask without bullsh*tting around the issue you asked about specifically.

    • Eric Gordon April 7, 2016, 5:40 pm

      Were you ever able to get off the clondine? I am suffering greatly due to this medication. Help if you can.

  • RLStickley January 4, 2015, 2:11 am

    My mother (91 years old) was prescribed Clonidine for high blood pressure spikes; but even after she lost 40 lbs., she continued to take it, and developed symptoms of dementia; but when she asked me “what is Clonidine?”, I went with her to her doctor’s appointment and said that I thought she was overmedicated. She was taken of the (0.2mg dose) Clonidine, and seems to be improving.

    But, she has called me many times in the last few days to complain about my taking her medication away, And when I tell her it was the doctor’s order, she says the doctor doesn’t understand…. she sounded exactly like the drug addicts I used to help treat at Community Services; and I wondered about this medication! Thank you for this site and information!!

  • Tujuana holmes February 10, 2015, 5:23 am

    I’ve been taking clonidine for about 2 years now, 3 times a day. I just stopped cold turkey. Its been about a week now. My blood pressure was extremely high, I cant sleep, have nausea, and am vomiting.

  • Peetee February 21, 2015, 2:55 pm

    I take clonidine for my sweating due to my methadone intake, I’ve been on methadone for 12 years and clonidine for about 5. I ran out of clonidine 4 days before my script was due and my Rx refuses to refill me early. I have been having very bad withdrawals, hot/cold flashes I can’t sleep, can’t sit still and feel like vomiting all the time.

    I take 3 .2’s a day but due to facial ticks from OCD I often need 4 or 5 a day, my doctor knows this but refuses to up my dose. I’ve asked at least 6 times. I honestly never knew it could get this bad without the meds that are suppose to aid in my opioid recovery. If you plan on taking clonidine make certain that you never run out, it’s a uncomfortable mess.

  • Chopey April 20, 2015, 12:38 am

    I have been on Clonidine for one year now. I am on three 0.1 mg per day. When I try to taper I get anxious and agitated and can’t think eat or sleep. How the heck do you taper this drug without going insane?

    • Rand May 24, 2015, 1:28 pm

      I’m not sure how old these comments are, but I was talking an absurd amount of clonidine, if I told you how much you wouldn’t believe me. Anyway, technically they don’t call it withdrawal, it’s rebound hypertension when you quit it too quickly, normally if you have a good doctor they will keep you on the alpha blocker (clonidine) and a beta blocker — and as they taper the alpha blocker (clonidine) the beta blocker helps with your blood pressure.

      The beta blocker ALONE though will not help your hypertension. Because of the absurd amount I was on… it shocked doctors I was alive, but I have always had high tolerances for everything. The final thing that helped were the patches. You give me pills… I’ll take them all. But they started tapering with a 7 day patch slowly going in to your body then put the next one on. They told me I had taken so much they weren’t how long the tapper would take (surprisingly not *months/years*) — it worked though.

      Ask for the patch taper. For those who are scared of trekking their doctors things. Let your doctors know the truth!! I know admitting misuse scares people, but doctors need to know the truth to help. If worst comes to worst you always walk into an ER and say, my blood pressure is so high from clonidine rebound hypertension, that I’m going to die. Help me.

  • Byron Crawford May 20, 2015, 7:35 pm

    I have been on clonodine since January, while I was taking the 0.3 once day at night, I felt tired all day. But I am being tapered off of it by my doctor, with terrible withdrawal symptoms. Higher heart rate in the mornings, blood pressure elevated, anxiety… This is the worse experience on my life…I have gone from a whole pill a day to 3/4 day for a week… Then I will taper even less the next 3 weeks. Praying for deliverance and healing.

  • Dushan29 June 15, 2015, 4:50 pm

    For an unknown reason, my blood pressure hit 228 one day. My doctor advised to report to the hospital emergency room. I spent about 8 hours taking tests such as MRI, CT Scan, EKG, X-ray, along with a drip, and they couldn’t determine what I had. Subsequently, my doctor prescribed Clonidine 0.02 twice a day. I hated this drug because it made me sleep, lazy, and dizzy most of the time. After several weeks of this, I told my doctor that I didn’t want to be on it.

    So he weaned me away from it with Valsartan and Amlodipine. I’ve been taking these drugs for several weeks. The worst symptoms I’m having are shaky hands. I can’t eat without having shaky fingers. I believe this conditiion to be withdrawal symptoms. I’m glad I won’t be using Clonidine any longer. Since I stopped taking Clonidine, my life has improved where I can drive and get back to doing chores around the home, especially my gardening and being able to walk straight.

    When my doctor determines to take me off Valsartan and Amlodipine, he’ll return me to my normal BP drug, Valsartan HCT, or perhaps some other drug. Every day, I’m expecting my shaky hands and fingers will get back to normal. I’ll be seeing my doctor next month for his evaluation.

  • TedS July 5, 2015, 5:56 pm

    Waking up after collapsing on a Casino floor was my experience. Heart rate dropped to below 40. Combination of Losartan, Atenolol, Furosemide, Nitro, Clonidine, went into bradycardia collapse. Dr. dropped Atenolol, Furosemide, Clonidine. B/P went to 215/110 for two days. Now, 4 weeks later, B/P is 150/78 average, symptoms of dizzy and weakness persist. Edema in both feet in excess but improving (Gout). Physicians darn near managed to kill me. Treating myself with time release Nitro and Losartan only, vastly improved. No more powerful meds for me, I don’t care what any Doctor thinks.

  • Bill July 7, 2015, 12:01 am

    Age 78. Been taking 0.1 Clonidine 3x a day for 10 years. Decided to start a taper; went to 0.1mg 2x a day. Feeling agitated, anxious; haven’t checked BP, but feels like it’s high. Thinking maybe I should do a slower taper (or maybe use the patch delivery system). Trying to assess risk.

    • Becki November 9, 2015, 4:04 pm

      You have to taper off of this by 1/4 of a dose per week. So, for the 1st week, take 3/4 of a tablet 3 x’s per day. Next week, 1/2 tab 3 x’s per day and so on. You may still have some symptoms, and may even have some rebound hypertension, but the symptoms will be far more tolerable if you do it by 1/4 doses. Please monitor your blood pressure throughout the taper, and for several weeks after stopping completely.

  • Lizzie December 22, 2015, 5:13 am

    Wow I cannot believe I am reading what I am reading. I am on Clonidine 0.2 twice a day. Over a year now, it keeps my blood pressure in check and I do feel it works. I had no idea what all this drug was also used for and the effects of withdrawal, etc. I had to establish a new PC and I did that, the last thing I had said to her that day was, don’t forget to renew my BP medicine.

    Well she forgot, now they are giving me the run around, do these PC’s even know what can happen if we don’t get off this drug slowly? Now I am looking at two more days before she signs the fax from the drug store. Are you kidding me? I have never seen such bad customer service and bad Dr’s in my life. If your gonna put me on a drug like this for my hypertension, then make sure you don’t forget to renew my script.

    Seriously I am mad as heck tonight, and that alone is probably creating my BP to rise. It’s just ridiculous how they treat us like a herd of animals and not human beings, seriously If I have a stroke tonight and die, I will have my Family Sue the heck out of this dr. UNBELIEVABLE… I am not your Guinea Pig and I am not ever going to be, get your caca together and treat me like a human being. I AM SO ANGRY…GRRRRRR. I DID WHAT YOU WANTED, NOW TAKE CARE OF ME…

    • Priscilla July 20, 2016, 8:06 pm

      I hope you didn’t die from a stroke. But I, too, am on clonidine 0.2mg x 2. I notice I’m a tad sleepy, but that’s it. My BP is controlled nicely. I thought about tapering, but after reading all these stories, I would be scared! Funny thing is that I eat right, exercise and probably never should have been on this. I was stressed out at work!!! Taken to the ER with a BP of 230/128, and they told me, “I’m sorry, we don’t treat high blood pressure.” I said, “DO YOU TREAT STROKES?” Morons.

  • Gerald Z December 29, 2015, 10:04 pm

    All these stories I have read are absolutely horror stories. I have been on Clonidine 0.1mg x 4/day for more years than I care to admit. When I learned it is nearly impossible to titrate oneself off, it scared me to death. In addition I take 10mg of Lisinopril and 25mg of HCTZ per day. So my kidneys are probably about ready to fall out. I’m going to try this product called CardioFX since all PCPs don’t really seem to care. I’ll let you all know how this works out.

  • Cody H January 9, 2016, 1:48 pm

    I’m 23 years old. I’ve been dealing with high blood pressure since I was 15. I get it inherently from both sides of my family. For the longest time I’ve been taking metoprolol er succinate (100mg). Well my body got use to the drug and it then became effective only on my heart rate and not my blood pressure. I switched PCPs and this new one said “Here’s a prescription for clonidine. It’s the safest drug out there on the market.” Literally, she said that.

    She started me at 0.1mg. Alright, not much is happening. No budge from my usual 165/80. So we double up and she has me take 2x of the 0.1mg clonidine. Then my blood pressure came down to 115/70. Good! Until she forgot to renew my prescription. Which then landed me in the hospital a day 1/2 later. With a blood pressure of 179/110 and growing. They gave me clonidine there and watched over me till I came back down. I went immediately to my doctors and I asked her if she knew about the rebound effect.

    She then informed me, “I wanted to see the effectiveness of this drug, now I’ve seen the side effects. Take 1 0.1mg of the clonidine a day.” After that she changed her mind constantly on what I need to be taking. She wanted me on something different each time. So I changed doctors and went to a professional. I went to my cardiologist and she placed me on lisinopril. We are waiting to see if that will lower my blood pressure.

    After that she plans on re-upping my metoprolol with the lisinopril to try and counter act the clonidine when I come off of it. She said it’s hard to wean off of a low dose. But I’m hoping for the best. I’m praying for the best. I see my cardiologist on 1/13/16 to begin the stress test and start the process to get me off of this horrible disgusting drug that I hate so very much.

    What have I noticed with this drug?
    *Blurred Vision
    *Bouts of Tiredness
    *Feeling Sluggish
    *Horrible Nightmares
    *Increased Anxiety

    Please if you’ve only just started this drug, find another. Without side effects and rebound hypertension. -Cody

  • Shahara March 13, 2016, 3:42 pm

    I have been on clonidine for 3 & 1/2 yrs. It was initially prescribed 1 or 2, 3 x a day – .1 mg. for withdrawal from prescription narcotics after a serious spinal fusion in my neck. After I felt I no longer needed it, I tapered off over a 2 wk period. in a day or so, I thought I had a fever. My face was very red & I felt very warm. No fever.

    However, my BP was 220/130 & I did not previously have high BP. I was hospitalized. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me physically & clonidine was the only thing that worked so they put me back on it. I tried a couple months later to taper off again. My BP spiked again. My DR put me on nifedipine, which did not work so she added clonidine, which worked, but I had serious side effects from the nifedipine.

    I slept 16 hrs a day & had terribly violent headaches with nausea for a yr. I switched Drs. I’ve been on clonidine ever since & was finally put on benicar instead of nifedipine. I felt a lot better for the last year, however my migraines became chronic with 1 that lasted for 11 days & would not respond to Medication. In the last month my BP started spiking again with readings of 200/115 plus & chest pain.

    Once again, I was hospitalized while on vacation in San Diego. I had every test imaginable on my heart & had a thyroid test. everything looked great except my BP. The cardiologist found out I was taking clonidine, his face lit up & he said “That’s your whole problem”. You need to get a new Dr. He immediately took me off clonidine & added Norvasc to the Benicar to help with BP spikes.

    In the first 24 hours. I had a horrible headache with nausea & BP spikes to 177/115. It has now been 48hrs. & my BP is coming down. I have a headache, backache, tremors, anxiety, shortness of breath, I’m hot, & having some weird head rushes. I will post as withdrawal lessens. I wish I had never taken prescription drugs in the 1st place.

    I’ve had a nightmare for the last 7 years as the result of these 2 prescription drugs alone. I would also like to add that I have been on Prozac for 21 years & it has saved my life. It works for my chronic depression. I could be a poster child for Prozac.

  • Chrissy April 1, 2016, 5:58 am

    23 year old woman with diabetes, insomnia, and extreme ADHD (not the hyperactive type – I am the inattentive type). I get the causes of how I feel and all my symptoms so mixed up with the overlapping effects of my health issues.. For example if I feel fatigued and dizzy, or even nauseas, that could be my blood sugar is either low or high, or maybe I just didn’t sleep that night, or it’s just the “cloudy brain” and lack of focus that comes with ADHD.

    Who knows! I give up trying to figure it out. So I can never figure out for the life of me when something else could be wrong or if my regular issues are just acting up! But lately I came off clonidine cold turkey because someone stole my medication. :( I’m also on Dexedrine, and vyvanse.

    Since going off of it I’ve been lightheaded/dizzy, my whole body seems “older” and sore, vision blurrier, moody, nauseas, my heartbeat gets really fast and I am sooo bloated. My upper tummy is very tender. Is this more than what others are experiencing?

  • Lainie May 29, 2016, 10:40 pm

    Wow, trying to taper off clonidine per new PCP. The withdrawal symptoms are horrible. Was on 0.2 mg. 3x daily. Mid-day drop was fine. Went to 0.1 mg. am and still on 0.2 mg pm. Tried stopping and went into a anxiety, headache, dizzy nightmare.

    Back on 0.1 am and will see my Dr. on Tuesday after the holiday to see what I can take in the mean time to get off this horrible med. I thought the withdrawal symptoms from Lexapro were bad, nothing compared to this!

  • Mike June 12, 2016, 12:58 am

    Hey all… I’ve had a LOT of experience with various medications over the last 10 years after being diagnosed with ADHD. It was a long, difficult, but rewarding road going trying various combinations and doses before I finally found what’s right for me. Clonidine was one of these meds and I’m currently on it.

    stopping meds or decreasing the dose can be ridiculously easy if you do it right, even for more addictive substances than clonidine. It requires a bit of discipline and planning, but after a while it becomes routine. Here’s the simple rule. Taper very, very, very slowly. There’s no rush (well, in most cases). Decrease by tiny doses… cut the pill into quarters if you have to.

    Chemists and drug stores sell pill cutters/crushers that make this job easy, although I just do it by hand. You can even get gelatin caps into which you can put your cut micro doses so you don’t lose them and they don’t go flying around everywhere. Decrease your dose by a quarter (yes… a quarter) of a pill once a week. or if that’s too fast – and it can be for some meds – once every two weeks.

    Sure, it’s a slow process… but there are advantages. Such as, discovering there is a lower dose of the same med that works great for you… in which case you can just remain there. If you do all this and develop this routine, you can quit any med and experience no side-effects/withdrawals whatsoever.

    I even quit coffee this way… by decreasing my dose by three tablespoons of a cup a week :) No caffeine withdrawals… which can be just as bad, or worse, than any med I’ve ever taken! Then only problem with this technique is for meds that can’t be cut, usually long release ones.

    In this case get the same dose of short-release version of your doctor and go down from there. Also, quitting SSRIs or SNRIs can be very difficult and you might have to go slower. That’s a science in itself.

  • Henry Harper September 7, 2016, 8:03 pm

    I am just starting the transition off Clonidine. After reading many view on how to do this, I have worked out a plan that may take a couple of months or longer. The big thing I see across all the recommendation is to transition off slowly. I have two other drugs that I am converting to: Quinapril and Hydrochlorothiazide.

    The timing of the Hydrochlorothiazide will vary as needed to keep the blood pressure adjusted. I plan to make a small reduction (amount and longer time between) and then take a few days to adjust to that small Clonidine reduction amount before moving on the the next reduction. I will try to report back after I transition off the drug.

    That could be a couple of months from now (or even a little longer). If converting to other Blood Pressure medications, it is important to not let the Blood Pressure drop too low — that could be dangerous. I plan to monitor every 3 hours and whenever I feel like I should check.

  • Faith2 September 25, 2016, 2:19 pm

    Here’s a natural remedy for you… But first let me say this, What a terrible drug. I can honestly say tapering my husband off this drug has been scary but necessary. He suffered a TIA / mini stroke they call it in November 2016. The ER doctor prescribed clonidine, it was the only drug he could take due to allergies to most HBP medications. Along with clonidine he has taken Telmisartan 80mg Once daily for over 5 years.

    After his stroke it was increased to 2 / 80mg of Telmisartan twice daily and clonidine .0.2 twice daily. Although he’s only been taking clonidine for 10 months his BP is always very high at dosage time which I couldn’t understand why his pressure wasn’t getting better. He avoided salt like the plague, I cooked 4-6 days a week no salt of course, even still his pressure was not getting better than the low 140’s/90 by mid-day.

    The Doctor was very helpful in letting him know that he would have to be tapered off of clonidine slowly. The positive is… It is working. I cut his dosage in half from 2/0.2mg per day, to 1 pill cut in half twice daily. In regards to the BP spike, it has been a challenge as well. Being that I am one who is borderline paranoid from almost loosing him to the stroke, I take his BP every 1-2 hrs.

    It has reached levels of 170/103 to 200/109 during the tapering period. Because I am one who researches natural remedies, I found 2 things that help keep his pressure below dangerous levels during the day and at night… the wonder drug, Brags Apple cider vinegar 3 times daily is a God sent. Take 3 table spoons in 4-6 ounces of water in the morning, mid-day and before bed time is a lifesaver.

    As a NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT drink this fast when your pressure is extremely high. The rule of thumb is you can’t lower pressure too fast when it is outrageously high. Sip it over a 3-5 minute timeframe. Another great remedy is lemon water, squeeze 2 lemons in 12 ounces of water 2x daily keeps you urinating to get rid of the salt/toxins. Hope this helps.

  • Mike G October 8, 2016, 1:42 pm

    I appreciate these comments. I am currently being weaned off Clonidine and am being given Minoxidil in small doses to do so. I’ve been on BP meds for about 40 years. I am allergic to practically everything I have been given. Recently the Benicar I was on was increased to 40 mg once per day and my B.P. went to 220/120/65. So a trip to the E.R. put me on the Clonidine. This drug caused mood swings and the Doc is weaning me off of it. I haven’t been on it but for 3 months. I’m being told by my Doc that he is trying older B.P. meds because of my allergies to the newer drugs. So I wonder if anyone has experienced the Monoxidil? Thanks.

  • Faith2 October 29, 2016, 9:54 am

    Update: Thank God for doctors who care. Finally my husband has been tapered off of taking clonidine 0.2 mg twice daily to only 0.1 mg once a day which is a 1/4 of what he was taking. However, I must tell you it wasn’t easy. Before it got better it got worse and scary. As I stated in my comments on September 25, 2016, my husband PB was out of control when tapering off of the high dosage of Clonidine.

    So here is it… my husband’s replacement medication that replaced clonidine is called “Isordil”. So for those who are allergic to most medications might want to ask your doctor about Isordil. Keep in mind if you do take this medication that you may experience terrible headaches for the first 5-9 days, but it dose get better and eventually stops.

    As it stands now, the low dosage of clonidine my husband is still on, the doctor said he will be taking him off of that within the next few months as he loses weight and eats healthy low sodium foods, his BP gets better. I hope this helps.

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